Special Thanks
Our thanks to the staff at Buy-Rite Video for their assistance with the articles in this series.
Home video game systems, also known as consoles, are a popular form of entertainment. Sony estimates that one out of every four households in the United States has a Sony PlayStation. That's a huge number! And then there are the homes that have a Nintendo 64, Sega Dreamcast or any one of the many older systems.

Game Consoles!

Now, you will learn all you need to know about buying a video game system, from what to look for to what to watch out for to where you can pick one up.

You might want to start with How Video Game Systems Work to find out about the technology that goes into these consoles, or else

When You Shop
Game Consoles!
We've created a Video Game System Feature Comparison chart for you to use as you research various game systems. Take it to the store with you and fill in the blanks for each model you are interested in. You may also want to keep an additional copy near your desk as you research video game systems on the Internet.

The feature comparison chart is available to you as a PDF. You will need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view it.

To give you an example of some typical video game systems, here are four of the most popular ones:

SEGA DREAMCAST SPORTS BUNDLE SYSTEM
CONSOLE
Sega Dreamcast
NINTENDO 64 FUNTASTIC ICE SYSTEM
Nintendo 64
SONY PLAYSTATION ONE PS ONE PS SONY
Sony PlayStation One
SONY PLAYSTATION 2
Sony PlayStation 2

Manufacturers

Popular Video Games

Nintendo 64

Perfect Dark

Goldeneye 007

Mario Kart 64

Pokemon Stadium

Excitebike 64

PlayStation

Metal Gear Solid

Chrono Cross

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2

Gran Turismo 2

Madden NFL 2001

Dreamcast

Virtua Tennis

NFL 2K1

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2

Crazy Taxi

PlayStation 2

Madden 2001

Tekken Tag Tournament

Ridge Racer V

Ready 2 Rumble Boxing 2

NHL 2001

Cool Facts

  • The Sega Dreamcast is the first console to implement online (Sega Net) play over a phone line, allowing users to play sports and other games against each other across long distances.

  • The Microsoft XBox is the first video game system to completely support HDTV.

  • Popular Science recognized the Sega Dreamcast as one of the most important and innovative products of 1999.

  • Broadband networks that enable online play for the PlayStation 2 and the Dreamcast are being developed.

  • The Magnavox Odyssey, released in 1972, contained 40 transistors and no microprocessor. Compare that to the new Pentium 4 microprocessor, which contains 42 million transistors on the chip itself!

  • The PlayStation 2 is the first system to have graphics capability better than that of the leading-edge personal computer at the time of its release.

  • Sony has redesigned the original PlayStation to be "portable." The new system is called the PSOne.

  • The Nintendo N64 marked the first time that computer graphics workstation manufacturer Silicon Graphics Inc. (SGI) developed game hardware technology.

  • While the original Atari Football game was first created in 1973, it wasn't released until 1978. It was delayed because the game couldn't scroll the screen. In other words, players couldn't move beyond the area shown on the monitor. When the game was finally released, it became the first game to utilize scrolling, a key part of many games today.

  • The Atari Pong video game console was the No. 1 selling item for the holiday season in 1975.

  • The first console to have games available in the form of add-on cartridges was the Fairchild Channel F console, introduced in August 1976.

  • The PlayStation 2 is the first video game system to use DVD technology.

  • On the original Magnavox Odyssey, players had to keep score themselves because the machine couldn't.

  • The Nintendo GameCube's proprietary 8cm disc can hold 1.5 gigabytes of data, which is about 190 times bigger than what a Nintendo 64 game cartridge could hold.

  • On the market from 1977 till 1990, the Atari 2600 lasted longer than any other game system in history.

  • Some Dreamcast games use Microsoft's Windows CE as their operating system.

  • The Sega Genesis featured a version of the same Motorola processor that powered the original Apple Macintosh computer.

  • Mattel's Intellivison system, introduced in 1980, featured an add-on called "PlayCable," which delivered games by cable TV.

  • Nintendo's Game Boy is the most successful game system ever, with more than 100 million units sold worldwide.

  • Nintendo has sold more than 10 million Game Boy units in the United States.

  • The XBox marks Microsoft's first venture into video game system hardware.

  • The NEC Turbografx-16 became the first system to have a CD-player add-on in 1989.

  • The word atari comes from the ancient Japanese game of Go and means "you are about to be engulfed." Technically, it is the word used by a player to inform his opponent that he is about to lose, similar to "check" in chess.

  • In the 1980s, a service called Gameline allowed users to download games to the Atari 2600 over regular phone lines. It was not a success, but did form part of the foundation for America Online, the world's largest Internet service provider.

  • The first color portable video game system was the Atari Lynx, introduced in 1989 and priced at $149.

  • Introduced in 1993, the 3DO was the first video game system to be based entirely on CD technology.

  • The Sony PlayStation was originally intended as a CD add-on to the Super Nintendo. When licensing problems and other issues arose, Sony decided to develop the PlayStation as a machine of its own.

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