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Forums: Index > Watercooler > List of generations


This is a list of all consoles of all generations, that I had compiled and posted in a forum. I suppose it could be useful here.

Note that this list is a consensus, but there's nothing official here. Dates often overlap, as generations end after another has already begun. Systems that evolve constantly (like the PC) are still listed in the generation where it began, and a system far ahead of its time may be listed in a posterior generation (such as the Amiga).

Any relevant system that I missed? -- LYRIC-Stormwatch (talk) 13:37, February 16, 2014 (UTC)


Pre-historyEdit

Most early experiments on gaming were not sold to the general public. They were usually restricted to major computing laboratories.

  • 1947: Cathode Ray Tube Amusement Device (analog missile simulator)
  • 1951: Nim (dedicated math strategy computer)
  • 1951: OXO / Noughts and Crosses (tic-tac-toe for the EDSAC computer)
  • 1951: Strathcey's Draughts Program (draughts for the Pilot ACE computer)
  • 1958: Tennis for Two (tennis on an analog computer / oscilloscope)
  • 1959: Mouse in the Maze, Tic-Tac-Toe (maze and tic-tac-toe for the TX-0 computer)
  • 1961: Spacewar! (the first shooter, for the DEC PDP-1 computer)
  • 1971: Galaxy Game (the first arcade)
  • 1971: Computer Space (the first commercially available arcade)
  • 1972: Pong

1st generation: 1972 - 1977Edit

Ralph Baer had the idea in 1951, but only in 1967 he managed to create the prototype of a device dedicated to games connected to a television set. It was finally released in 1972 by Magnavox, under the name Odyssey. This generation also includes a fuckload of "Pong clones" around the world.

1st generation, consolesEdit

  • 1972: Magnavox Odyssey
  • 1975: Atari Pong
  • 1976: Coleco Telstar
  • 1977: Nintendo Color TV Game

2nd generation: 1976 - 1983Edit

The big new thing was the use of cartridges: instead of buying a device to play just whatever came built into the machine, now you could buy the games separately and swap them anytime. If it brought an expansion of the market, also saturated it with low quality games, which led to a collapse. Consequently, the market for personal computers boomed: why buy a machine just for gaming, if you could buy one that does all sorts of things?

2nd generation, consolesEdit

  • 1976: Fairchild Channel F
  • 1976: Radofin 1292 Advanced Programmable Video System
  • 1977: Atari 2600
  • 1977: Bally Astrocade
  • 1977: RCA Studio II
  • 1978: APF-MP1000
  • 1978: Interton VC4000
  • 1978: Magnavox Odyssey 2
  • 1979: Bandai Super Vision 8000
  • 1979: Mattel Intellivision
  • 1981: Epoch Cassette Vision
  • 1981: VTech CreatiVision
  • 1982: Atari 5200
  • 1982: ColecoVision
  • 1982: Emerson Arcadia 2001
  • 1982: Entex Adventure Vision
  • 1983: Sega SG-1000
  • 1983: GCE Vectrex

2nd generation, add-onsEdit

  • 1982: Starpath Supercharger

2nd generation, handheldsEdit

  • 1979: Milton Bradley Microvision
  • 1980: Nintendo Game & Watch
  • 1984: Epoch Game Pocket Computer

2nd generation, computersEdit

  • 1977: Apple II
  • 1977: Commodore PET
  • 1977: TRS-80
  • 1977: VideoBrain Family Computer
  • 1979: Atari 400/800
  • 1980: Commodore VIC-20
  • 1980: Sinclair ZX80
  • 1980: TRS-80 Color Computer
  • 1981: Acorn/BBC Micro
  • 1981: IBM PC (DOS)
  • 1981: NEC PC-8801
  • 1981: Texas Instruments TI-99/4A
  • 1981: Sinclair ZX81
  • 1982: Atari XL
  • 1982: Commodore 64
  • 1982: Fujitsu FM-7
  • 1982: NEC PC-9801
  • 1982: Sinclair ZX Spectrum
  • 1982: Sharp X1
  • 1982: Sord M5
  • 1983: Mattel Aquarius
  • 1983: Sega SC-3000
  • 1985: Atari XE

3rd generation: 1983 - 1990Edit

After the crash, Nintendo had to use a trick to convince retailers to sell their new system: they made it part of a package with a toy robot. Soon the robot was dropped because kids preferred to play the traditional way anyway. They also created a licensing system that limited the number of games that each company could produce, preventing the release of tons of trash unlike the previous generation.

3rd generation, consolesEdit

  • 1985: Nintendo NES / Famicom
  • 1985: RDI Video Systems Halcyon
  • 1985: Sega Master System
  • 1986: Atari 7800
  • 1987: Atari XEGS
  • 1987: Worlds of Wonder Action Max

3rd generation, add-onsEdit

  • 1986: Nintendo Famicom Disk System

3rd generation, computersEdit

  • 1983: MSX
  • 1983: Tangerine Oric
  • 1984: Amstrad CPC
  • 1984: Apple Macintosh
  • 1985: Atari ST

4th generation: 1987 - 1995Edit

With the market reestablished, the world would see a battle of the titans between Nintendo, leader of the previous generation, and Sega, the giant of arcades. This generation probably would have ended with Sega victorious, if they had not shot themselves on both feet. And the world learned that this add-on thing is risky business.

4th generation, consolesEdit

  • 1987: NEC TurboGrafx-16 / PC Engine
  • 1988: Sega Mega Drive / Genesis
  • 1989: NEC SuperGrafx
  • 1990: Nintendo SNES / Super Famicom
  • 1990: SNK Neo Geo
  • 1991: Commodore CDTV
  • 1991: Philips CD-i
  • 1993: Pioneer LaserActive
  • 1994: Capcom Power System Changer
  • 1994: SNK Neo Geo CD
  • 1995: Funtech Super A'Can

4th generation, add-onsEdit

  • 1990: NEC TurboGrafx-CD
  • 1991: Sega Mega-CD
  • 1994: Sega 32X

4th generation, handheldsEdit

  • 1989: Nintendo GameBoy
  • 1989: Atari Lynx
  • 1990: Hartung Game Master
  • 1990: NEC TurboExpress
  • 1990: Sega Game Gear
  • 1991: Bit Gamate
  • 1992: Watara Supervision
  • 1993: Mega Duck / Cougar Boy
  • 1995: Sega Nomad

4th generation, computersEdit

  • 1985: Commodore Amiga
  • 1987: Acorn Archimedes
  • 1987: Sharp X68000
  • 1989: Fujitsu FM Towns
  • 1990: Windows 3.x

5th generation: 1993 - 2000Edit

Newcomer Sony joins the war, with a system built upon the remains of what was meant to be a CD drive for the SNES. Everyone thought: nothing will come out of that. But when Sega made an absurdly complicated machine, and Nintendo insisted on cartridges, everyone thought: fuck it, let's make games for this PlayStation thingy.

5th generation, consolesEdit

  • 1993: 3DO Interactive Multiplayer
  • 1993: Atari Jaguar
  • 1993: Fujitsu FM Towns Marty
  • 1994: NEC PC-FX
  • 1994: Bandai Playdia
  • 1994: Sega Saturn
  • 1994: Sony PlayStation
  • 1995: Apple Bandai Pippin
  • 1995: Casio Loopy
  • 1995: Commodore Amiga CD32
  • 1995: Nintendo Virtual Boy
  • 1996: Nintendo 64

5th generation, add-onsEdit

  • 1995: Atari Jaguar CD
  • 1999: Nintendo 64DD

5th generation, handheldsEdit

  • 1993: Apple Newton
  • 1996: Palm OS
  • 1997: Tiger Game com
  • 1998: Nintendo GameBoy Color
  • 1999: Bandai WonderSwan
  • 2000: Bandai WonderSwan Color

5th generation, computersEdit

  • 1991: Linux
  • 1994: OS/2 Warp
  • 1995: BeOS
  • 1995: Windows 95

6th generation: 1998 - 2009Edit

Sony keeps dominating, Sega throws in the towel, and Microsoft enters the fray. Other minor players try their luck on portables, but Nintendo continues to lead in this field.

6th generation, consolesEdit

  • 1998: Sega Dreamcast
  • 2000: Sony PlayStation 2
  • 2000: VM Labs Nuon
  • 2001: Nintendo GameCube
  • 2001: Microsoft Xbox

6th generation, handheldsEdit

  • 1998: SNK Neo Geo Pocket
  • 1999: SNK Neo Geo Pocket Color
  • 2001: Nintendo Game Boy Advance
  • 2001: Gamepark GP32
  • 2003: Nokia N-Gage
  • 2003: Tapwave Zodiac

6th generation, computersEdit

  • 2001: Apple OS X

7th generation: 2005 - 2012Edit

Nintendo takes the casual market by storm, and remains unsurpassed on portables; Microsoft gets real and becomes a favorite of the hardcore players; Sony trips with $599 and giant enemy crab, but eventually recovers quite well.

7th generation, consolesEdit

  • 2005: Microsoft Xbox 360
  • 2005: ZAPiT Game Wave
  • 2006: Nintendo Wii
  • 2006: Sony PlayStation 3
  • 2007: Mattel HyperScan
  • 2009: Zeebo

7th generation, add-onsEdit

  • 2010: Microsoft Kinect
  • 2010: Sony PlayStation Move

7th generation, handheldsEdit

  • 2004: Nintendo DS
  • 2004: Sony PlayStation Portable
  • 2005: Gizmondo
  • 2005: GP2X
  • 2009: GP2X Wiz
  • 2010: GP2X Caanoo

8th generation: 2011 - currentEdit

Here we are here, and there is something new in the air. Sales of traditional consoles go below expectations; smartphones, with super-cheap games and a wide variety of hardware, steal the casual audience that made Nintendo's success in the previous generation, while the hardcore migrate to the PC with download stores like Steam and streaming services like OnLive. What will come next?

8th generation, consolesEdit

  • 2012: Nintendo Wii U
  • 2013: Microsoft Xbox One
  • 2013: Ouya
  • 2013: Sony PlayStation 4

8th generation, handheldsEdit

  • 2011: Nintendo 3DS
  • 2011: Sony PlayStation Vita

8th generation, smartphones & tabletsEdit

  • 1999: BlackBerry
  • 2007: Apple iOS
  • 2008: Google Android
  • 2009: Palm/HP WebOS
  • 2010: Samsung bada
  • 2010: Windows Phone
  • 2011: Nokia Asha
  • 2011: Nokia MeeGo
  • 2013: Canonical Ubuntu Touch
  • 2013: Jolla Sailfish
  • 2013: Mozilla Firefox OS
  • 2013: Samsung Tizen

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