The console is a special thing to gamers. It’s a gateway to other worlds, a tool for connecting to an immersive experience. The loyalty formed through this connection is one of the reasons people can feel so competitive about whether or not their chosen console is the best. This week, however, TSG is ditching the animosity of the “console war” and expressing our pure appreciation for the specific machines that have brought us happiness, community, frustration, wonder, and, of course, great gaming experiences.
I initially thought I was going to give this to the Xbox 360, hands down. But after some further consideration, I think I have to say my favorite console was the Playstation 2. That generation as a whole stands out to me as the time gaming went from an interest to a lifelong passion for me (boy that sounds cheesy doesn’t it?), and while I eventually got an XBox and was whisked away by Halo, my PS2 was the console that started it, Last week I espoused my love of Rockstar’s open worlds, and I first encountered that franchise on a PS2. I discovered my love for realistic (ish) racing sims on the PS2. I finally learned fighting game mechanics on my PS2. I was introduced to RPG’s on my PS2. I enjoyed hours upon hours of Goldeneye’s far superior cousin, Timesplitters, on my PS2. I was brought to the brink of tears with Shadow of the Colossus on my PS2. I played my first online game on PS2. Heck, I watched my first DVD on a PS2! I learned to take games seriously on the PS2, and for that, I will always love the Playstation 2.
It’s honestly very hard for me to pick a favorite console since there have been so many, each with their benefits over one another. But if there’s one console that I have a particular fondness for, it’s the NES. I was growing up in the time that N64 was popular, but I tended to gravitate toward the “simpler” gameplay and “basic” graphics that its grandfather utilizes. I would argue that many of its titles are unassumingly challenging, with designs and mechanics created out of necessity rather than commercial success, and that there’s a beauty to 2D graphics which is lost in today’s high definition world. Although I love my PS4 and Switch, I find myself returning to that ancient grey box and continuing to play these elegant pieces of classic art that became the foundations for everything we know today.
While I really want to name something from Nintendo, I have to go with the Xbox 360. I played many of my favorite games of all time on this console, from Halo 3 to Bioshock, and Mass Effect to Red Dead Redemption. Aside from all the great games featured on the console, it was also a space of community for me like no other machine was or has been since. Late night online Call of Duty binges, Halo LAN parties, extended Rock Band sessions, it facilitated so many experiences that went beyond mere gameplay. Add on the fact that Xbox Live was hands down the best online service of that generation and you get an almost incomprehensible range of experiences. Granted, its lineup of exclusive titles started to run dry towards the end of the console’s lifespan (something Microsoft is still struggling with) and many of its best games were available on multiple platforms, but I experienced them on the 360. You know this is significant if you’ve spent even a bit of time with the comforting feel of that hall-of-fame-grade controller.
Maybe I have rose-tinted glasses but my Switch has become one of my favorite things ever. It’s integrated itself into my life so seamlessly and I take it with me everywhere I go, even my day job. I have a lifelong love affair with my Nintendo handhelds starting with my pink GameBoy Color, to my multiple 3DS systems. My Switch gives me the familiarity of always having a handheld console with me but also brings me the types of gaming experiences I’ve always dreamed. The Switch meets my near impossible desire for nostalgia and future forward thinking.
**What console do you have the fondest memories of? Did Halo make you love the original Xbox? Is the PlayStation 4 the newest top-dog? Or perhaps you subscribe to the superiority of PC gaming? Let us know in the comments!**