In 2015, I made a list of how much I like all of the consoles I had at the time. Additionally, that list also includes lists of my favorite games for every console I own. I did not attempt to make an overall-favorites list because that would be too hard, so this will have to do because this new update is the same way.
In the four years since, I have gotten quite a few more platforms, so I thought that while I work on my ongoing game opinion summaries lists, the time has come for an update to that article. There are things to like about every console and ranking them is a somewhat silly enterprise, but it’s fun to do anyway so here a list is.
Now, while I have bought games, in some cases many games, for all but a few of the consoles I had as of 2015, I am not going to redo the ‘my favorite games’ lists for most of the consoles I covered in the first article. Instead, for now I will just make lists for the new platforms. I could add games to the old lists, but for the most part they still stand as good summations of what I think of most of those consoles. The only exception is the 3DS, whose list has changed so much that I need a new one, so that is below.
The other platforms that I have bought over the last four years and will make ‘my favorite games’ lists below for are: 3DO, Atari Jaguar, Colecovision, Mattel Intellivision, Nintendo Switch, Nokia N-Gage, Philips CD-i, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Tiger R-Zone, Wii U, and Xbox One.
Console Ranking List
1. Nintendo 64, N64
2. (tie) Super Nintendo, SNES
2. (tie) Sega Genesis, Gen (with Sega CD, SCD & Sega 32X, 32X)
3. Nintendo DS, DS
4. Game Boy, GB
5. TurboGrafx-16, TG16 (with Turbo CD, TCD)
6. Gamecube, GC
7. Dreamcast, DC
8. Nintendo 3DS, 3DS
10. Wii U
12. Odyssey 2, O2
13. Nintendo Switch, NS
14. Game Boy Advance, GBA
15. Atari 5200, 5200
17. Atari 2600, 2600
18. Xbox 360, X360
16. Saturn, SS
20. Neo Geo Pocket Color
21. Virtual Boy, VB
22. Game Boy Color, GBC
23. Xbox One, XONE
25. Atari Jaguar, JAG
26. PlayStation Portable, PSP
27. Sega Master System, SMS
28. PlayStation, PSX, PS1
29. Colecovision, CVIS
30. PlayStation Vita, PSV
31. Game Gear, GG
32. Atari 7800, 7800
33. Mattel Intellivision, INTV
34. Philips CD-i, CDI
35. PlayStation 3, PS3
36. Nokia N-Gage, NNG
37. PlayStation 2, PS2
38. Tiger R-Zone (if you count this as a console)
If you compare this to the old list, you will see that most systems stay in the same places they were before with only a few exceptions. Those are, first, I moved the 3DS way up the list. While the 3DS is not quite the equal of the DS or Game Boy, it is a fantastic system I still use every day. The system is now fading out, but lasted into 2019 and has a larger and better library than it did four years ago, and also I have played more of the games.
Second, I moved the Atari 2600 up a few spots, above the Saturn and Xbox 360. Those systems are both pretty good, but while I really do prefer the 5200 to the 2600, the 2600 has a lot of games which are still very fun. All systems age over time, but today the 2600 is well under-rated and deserves to be remembered.
Otherwise, it is mostly the same as the old list. I’d like to make some comments on where the new systems fall on the list, though. A few of these were tough choices, and I’m far from certain about the best order of a few parts. Most notably, I’m torn between the Wii and Wii U, and also I’m not entirely sure about the order in the new Xbox One, 3DO, and Jaguar block. I went with the Wii U over the Wii, despite the Wii’s far larger library, because in the last few years since I got it I have played a lot more Wii U than Wii, and while the Wii absolutely has a vastly larger and better game library, if you compare only the top games the Wii U is right there with it, or better; nothing on the Wii has addicted me like Mario Maker.
As for the Xbox One’s placement, it’s a very good system in a lot of ways, but the game library holds it back; with very few exclusives and often underwhelming first-party offerings, it has to go lower than the other Xboxes. I decided to put it over the 3DO and Jaguar, despite it probably having fewer exclusive games than either of them, because on the whole, including the games and services, it’s an impressive system. As for the 3DO and Jag, as per my 3DO-Jaguar-32X list from a bit ago the 3DO probably has to go above the Jaguar, though I do find the Jag’s oddness quite charming, and can definitely make a case or the Jag being better, based on that I value games I really like over having the largest library and the Jag has an all-time classic in Tempest 2000. The 3DO has other factors in its favor, though, so it is very close between the two of them. Either way on that, the two are pretty close so I put them next to eachother, at the right point in the list. There are things I like about the Jaguar, but it’s too flawed to finish higher on the list than it is, unfortunately.
Lastly, I was somewhat torn between the Intellivision and CD-i for fifth worst. Putting the PS3, N-Gage, and R-Zone in the bottom five were easy calls, but deciding between those two for numbers 33 and 34 was much harder. I ended up deciding that the Intellivision edged out the CD-i because even though the CD-i has better controllers and far better framerates in most of its games, I rarely enjoy the kind of games the CD-i is best at, video-heavy titles, so I find the Intellivision’s best games to be better than anything I have played on CD-i. Thus the Intellivision narrowly avoids being in the bottom group.
As for the Colecovision, I could understand why some people would put it much higher on the list, but while I like some things on it for sure and it was definitely a very important system for the industry, for now I think it’s in the right place. If I get a better controller for it someday and some more games it could move up, though.
It’s hard to rank consoles. I like most of the systems on this list in some way or another, after all; only the bottom four are systems I really all-around dislike. For quite a few of these systems I look at their placement and think ‘this should go higher’, but you can’t move everything higher all of the time, so I guess this will have to do.
Platform Specific Lists for Consoles Not in the Old List Or Significantly Changed
Note, this list is alphabetical by platform.
1. Star Control II
3. Samurai Shodown
4. Return Fire
5. Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Slayer
7. Super Street Fighter II Turbo
8. The Incredible Machine
9. Blade Force
10. Shockwave 2: Beyond the Gate
Honorable Mentions: Doom, Wolfenstein 3D, Star Wars: Rebel Assault, D, Gex, Shanghai: Triple Threat, The Need for Speed, Road Rash, Soccer Kid, Myst, PO’ed. Not on my list, but noteworthy: Out of this World, Flashback, Alone in the Dark 1 and 2.
Atari Jaguar and Jaguar CD
1. Tempest 2000
2. Jeff Minter Classics (Homebrew Release)
3. Iron Soldier
5. Hover Strike: Unconquered Lands (CD)
8. Club Drive
9. Val D’Isere Skiing and Snowboarding
10. Blue Lightning (CD)
1. Mr. Do!
2. Nova Blast
3. Pepper II
4. Linking Logic
5. Omega Race
6. Space Fury
7. Gateway to Apshai
11. Miner 2049er
Honorable Mentions: Time Pilot, Space Panic, Fortune Builder, Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Junior, Looping.
3. Demon Attack
5. Space Spartans
7. B-17 Bomber
9. Advanced Dungeons & Dragons
11. Bomb Squad
Honorable Mentions: Vectron, Tennis, Lock ‘n Chase, Dragonfire, Bowling, Venture.
For this system I’m going to list new games and classic ports or remakes seprately. First, new games.
1. Super Mario Maker 2
2. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
3. Super Mario Odyssey
4. Splatoon 2
5. Tetris 99
6. Collection of Mana (for the first English version of Mana 3!)
7. Gunlord X (DC homebrew port but I’ll count it)
8. Puyo Puyo Tetris
9. Mario & Rabbids: Kingdom Battle
10. Kirby Star Allies
11. Xenoblade Chronicles 2
12. Blossom Tales
13. Starlink: Battle for Atlas
Honorable Mentions: Nine Parchments, Super Bomberman R, Fire Emblem Warriors, Shining Resonance Refrain, Kamiko, Daemon X Machina, Fire Emblem: Two Houses, Dragon Quest Builders, Octopath Traveler, Mega Man 11, Mutant Mudds Collection, Golf Peaks, Party Crashers, Sweet Witches, Jumping Joe & Friends
Nintendo Switch classic remakes, re-releases, or enhanced re-releases:
1. SEGA AGES: Sonic the Hedgehog (Genesis)
2. ACA NeoGeo: The Last Blade 2
3. Collection of Mana (for Final Fantasy Adventure)
4. SEGA AGES: Lightening Force: Quest for the Darkstar
5. ACA NeoGeo: Blazing Star
6. SEGA AGES: Virtua Racing
7. Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap
8. ACA NeoGeo: Aero Fighters 2
9. SEGA AGES: Phantasy Star
10. Johnny Turbo’s Arcade – Gate of Doom & Johnny Turbo’s Arcade – Wizard Fire
11. Wild Guns Reloaded
And many more!
1. Pathway to Glory
2. System Rush
3. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater
Honorable Mentions: The games probably worth playing are mostly games I don’t have — Civilization, Rifts, Pathway to Glory 2, and such. Of the other games I have, I guess Super Monkey Ball is vaguely of note.
1. Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon
2. Link: The Faces of Evil
3. Laser Lords
6. The Apprentice
7. Lucky Luke
Honorable Mentions: Jigsaw, Defender of the Crown, Lords of the Rising Sun, Dragon’s Lair, Space Ace; non-games or edutainment: A National Parks Tour, Treasures of the Smithsonian, Time-Life Presents 35mm Photography, Mother Goose: Hidden Pictures, Richard Scarry’s Busiest Neighborhood Disc Ever, etc…
1. Wipeout HD
2. 3D Dot Game Heroes
3. Dragon’s Crown
4. Thexder Neo
5. R-Type Dimensions
6. MotorStorm: Apocalypse
7. Trails of Cold Steel
9. Disgaea 3
10. After Burner Climax
Honorable Mentions: MotorStorm: Pacific Rift, Deception IV: Blood Ties, Nitroplus Blasterz, Battle Princess of Arcadias, Mamorukun Curse!, Resogun, Warhawk, Under Night In-Birth EXE:Late, Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction, Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, Aegis of Earth, Mugen Souls Z, Lair, Tales of Xilia, Demon’s Souls, White Knight Chronicles II, Sports Champions; PS Minis: Trailblazer, Fortix, Echoes. There are many more JRPGs on this system I haven’t played that are potentially worthy of note as well, though quite a few are also on PC now.
1. Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana
3. Wipeout 2048
4. Summon Night 6: Lost Borders
5. Ys: Memories of Celceta
6. BlazBlue: ChronoPhantasma Extend
7. Grand Kingdom
8. ClaDun: This Is Sengoku
9. Exist Archive: The Other Side of the Sky
10. Utuwarerumono: Mask of Deception
Honorable Mentions: Operation Babel: New Tokyo Legacy, Utuwarerumono: Mask of Truth, Senran Kagura: Estival Versus, Soul Sacrifice, Ragnarok Odyssey, Persona 4 Golden, Touhou Double Focus, StarDrone Extreme, Stranger of Sword City.
1. Batman & Robin
I only have one game for this system, still, so it is simultaneously its best and worst game! (I’m sure it’s not the worst though, this game’s got a little more to it than some R-Zone games seem to.)
The top five on this system are so amazing they vault it high on the list of best systems ever (plus, for most but not me, Zelda: Breath of the Wild).
1. Super Mario Maker
2. Super Mario 3D World
3. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD
5. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
6. Xenoblade Chronicles X
7. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD
8. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
9. Sonic: Lost World
Honorable Mentions: Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars (a fantastic game now crippled by its online level trading being shut down), DuckTales Remastered, Rayman Legends, Art of Balance, Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara, Mario Kart 8, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Star Fox Guard, Hyrule Warriors, Skylanders Swap Force, Skylanders Giants, Axiom Verge, Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse (also on 3DS).
1. Rare Replay
2. Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions
3. Tempest 4000
4. Samurai Shodown (2019)
5. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
6. Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition
7. Goat Simulator
8. Dead or Alive 5: Last Round
9. Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate
Honorable Mentions: Sunset Overdrive, Forza Horizon 3, For Honor, Destiny, Destiny 2, Dead or Alive 6, Inside, Moto Racer 4, ReCore, ONRUSH, TrackMania Turbo, Race the Sun, Crimson Dragon, Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon (also on Switch, PC), Anthem.
Nintendo 3DS (Updated List)
I will really, really miss dedicated handhelds, the Switch is not the same at all compared to this amazing system!
1. Fire Emblem Awakening
2. Etrian Odyssey Nexus
3. Picross 3D Round 2
4. Fire Emblem Fates
5. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
6. Super Mario Maker for 3DS
7. WarioWare Gold
8. Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan
9. Picross e [series]
10. Ever Oasis
11. Puzzle & Dragons Z + Puzzle & Dragons Super Mario Bros. Edition
13. Kid Icarus Uprising
14. Color Zen
15. Metroid: Samus Returns
16. Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask
17. Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth
Honorable Mentions: Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido, Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy, Mario & Luigi: Tipping Stars, SEGA 3D Classics: OutRun, Parascientific Escape: Cruise on the Distant Seas, Crashmo, Chicken Wiggle, BoxBoy! and its sequels, more Sega 3D Classics titles (Super Hang-On, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Space Harrier, Streets of Rage 2, etc…), Luxor, The Legend of Legacy, Mario Kart 7, Tetris Axis, 7th Dragon: Code VFD, Paper Mario Sticker Star, Super Mario 3D Land, Sonic Lost World, Hyrule Warriors Legends, Super Smash Bros. for 3DS, Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse, Mutant Mudds, and lots more.