20 years. It's actually been 20 years since one of the most influential gaming devices in history was unleashed upon Japan. Nintendo's momentous release gave birth to a home console that defined a generation, gifted exceptional games, and still to this day induces nostalgic tears.
The N64 may not have sold as well as some of Nintendo's other devices, but it remains one of the company's most impactful and best-selling consoles in the world. In celebration of its accomplishments and the Japanese giants in general, let's see how well the N64 sold alongside the industry's greats. Join us as we go down the line of the 15 best-selling consoles in gaming history!
15. Sega Genesis (1988) — 30.75 million
- The console’s internal hardware was a mashup of an Apple Macintosh and a Game Boy.
- The system was a flop in Sega’s home country of Japan but a huge success in Brazil.
- You could play Genesis games online.
14. Nintendo 64 (1996) — 32.93 million
13. PlayStation 4 (2013) — 40 million
Sony's latest console is outselling Microsoft's XBOX One 4-to-1. Wow.
12. Super Nintendo Entertainment System (1990) — 49.10 million
- Super Famicon is the name for the console in Japan, but in South Korea it's known as the Super Comboy.
- The original plan was to allow SNES consoles to feature a slot for NES games. However, as costs rose, those plans were scrapped to help make the system more affordable.
- Before Game Boy Color was released, SNES players could enjoy Game Boy games in color with the add-on device known as Super Game Boy.
11. Nintendo 3DS (2011) — 58.85 million
- The 3DS was initially believed to be a failure due to low sales following its launch, therefore, Nintendo executives actually took pay cuts. But it turned out all right in the end.
- The 3D element doesn't work for shit (unless you never move your head and have no issues when it comes to nausea).
10. Nintendo Entertainment System (1983) — 61.91 million
ALL THE FACTS:
- Its peripherals in Japan included a tape cassette recorder and a sewing machine (seriously).
- The cartridge slot is the result of Nintendo's attempts to hide the fact that the NES played video games. The video game market had crashed around this time, and retailers would likely have turned it away had it not looked like a VHS player.
- Most NES games produced after 1986 exceeded the basic capabilities of the system and depended on add-on RAM and co-processors built into the carts to work.
9. Game Boy Advance (2001) — 81.51 million
It had really strange adverts in Japan:
8. PlayStation Portable (2004) — 82 million
Say hello to the firsts REAL competitor to Nintendo's dominating handheld consoles.
7. PlayStation 3 (2006) — 83.8 million
It had some of the best trailers in the history of the industry, all thanks to this guy:
6. Xbox 360 (2005) — 84 million
- There are over 1,000 Xbox 360 games in existence, and, during its boom, roughly 7.5 games were played by every 360 owner.
- Everyone knows someone affected by the ring of death. Fact.
5. Wii (2006) — 101.63 million
- The “ii” in "Wii" is supposed to represent two people standing side by side playing and also the two Wii accessories, the Wii Remote and the Nunchuk.
- The Nintendo Wii became the fastest-selling console in history.
- The Wii is the smallest game console ever.
- There was going to be a new version of the Wii which supported DVD playback, but it was dropped.
- Several companies have sued Nintendo for patent infringements associated with the Wii controllers.
- The Japanese version of the Wii Balance Board cannot support as much weight as the Western version.
4. PlayStation (1994) — 102.49 million
- Originally, the PlayStation was developed in partnership with then-market-leader of video games, Nintendo. The Play Station (note the spelling) would have been a CD ROM add-on for Nintendo's Super Famicom (known as the Super Nintendo outside of Japan). In the industry's prime example of spurned lovers, Nintendo got cold feet about the deal and started a similar arrangement with rival Philips. This infuriated Sony, who went on to produce the standalone PlayStation and swiftly stole the top spot from Nintendo. But at least Nintendo still had Philips...who went on to make the horrendous CD-i and the uncontested worst Zelda and Mario games ever.
- Sega thought it was pretty clever. At the keynote address of E3 1995, a massive video game industry event, it announced that its upcoming advanced 3D console the Sega Saturn would beat Sony to the punch. In fact, it was on sale in stores right now! [Cue gasps from the audience] There was just one issue: it cost $399. Later, Sony executive Steve Race took to the stage and said just three numbers: "$299." Sony went on to dominate the market. The Sega Saturn was a flop.
- 50 copies of Elemental Gearbolt Assassin's Case were given away as prizes at E3 1999. It came with a gold plated (painted) gun. If you do happen to come across the super rare game, don't touch it. The gold paint dissolves in contact with human sweat.
3. Game Boy/Game Boy Color (1989/1998) — 118.69 million
- The original Game Boy didn't have a backlight, forcing players to play in well-lit rooms. A little attachable light was later sold as a peripheral for newer versions of the Game Boy.
- The Game Boy was sold in Japan for around 12,500 yen and instantly sold out of all of its 300,000 initial units.
- In 1989, 35 million copies were sold of a bundle including the Game Boy and the addicting puzzle game Tetris.
- In 1995, Nintendo announced that 45 percent of its gamers were female, marking the first time that a gaming system had such popularity with the female audience.
2. Nintendo DS (2004) — 154.02 million
- The "DS" in its name stands for both "Developer System" and "dual-screen."
- It became extremely easy to pirate games and play them on the DS, so much so that sales dropped by 50% in Europe when players started importing devices that could freely download a ton of Nintendo's content.
- In 2005, two mountain climbers scaled Mt. Everest and had a lot of electronic equipment with them. All of their gadgets ended up breaking either from the cold or the extremely high altitudes... But not the DS! You could actually play the damn thing on top of the mountain!
1. PlayStation 2 (2000) — 155 million
The greatest. 'Nuff said.
Which of these is your favorite console?
As a bonus (and in celebration of the N64), you guys really need to see the live-action and hilarious trailer for Super Smash Bros.: