Gamer’s Delight: 20 Intriguing Facts About Console History

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1Atari 2600

Atari 2600

The Atari 2600 was so popular, it was not discontinued until 1992 - years after its own successors, the 5200 and the 7800, died off. Its 15-year official lifespan is one of the longest for any console.

2. Game Boy was the first video game console to be played in space by Russian cosmonaut Aleksandr Serebrov. The game he played was Tetris.

3. The anti-piracy chip was the main cause of cartridge boot failures on the NES.

4. The Sega Master System sold roughly 150,000 units in 2015 in Brazil and by 2016 sold 8 million units. New and exclusive games are still made specific to Brazil. It has remained popular in Brazil since its 1989 debut, making it the longest running console of all time.

5. The reason the Famicom (and later the Super Famicom and SNES) had an eject lever was not because pulling out the game was bad for the cartridge but because the designer, Masayuki Uemura, felt that it could entertain children even when ejecting games.

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6Red Ring of Death

Red Ring of Death

The Xbox 360's "Red Ring of Death" problem was so widespread that, in 2007, more than 30% of the consoles failed. Repairs cost Microsoft $1.15 billion.

7. The Game Boy ran at 60 frames per second.

8. The NES light gun (NES Zapper) worked by detecting flashes of light on your tv screen. When the trigger was pulled, the tv flashed all black for a single frame, then all black with the target white for one frame. Also, it only works with CRTs.

9. The PlayStation 2 had almost 13 years of production, enjoying new games until a month before the announcement of the PlayStation 4.

10. Nintendo sold more Nintendo Switch consoles in its first year than Wii U consoles in its entire lifetime.

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The NES, SNES, and Gameboy were all discontinued in the same year: 2003.

12. In 1994, NEC released a PC-shaped 32-bit successor to the TurboGrafx-16 called the PC-FX, but it was available only in Japan.

13. The PlayStation Controller buttons ◯, ✖, ▲ and ◼ means, respectively "Yes", "No", "a viewpoint (one's head or direction)" and " a piece of paper (menus or documents)."

14. In the mid-90s you could get a network adapter for the SNES and Genesis that allowed you to play online multiplayer in games like MarioKart, Mortal Kombat 3, and NBA Jam.

15. There was a dial-up online gaming service for Sega Saturn that you accessed through a 28.8 modem cartridge that plugged into a phone line. There were no servers. To play against another user, your Sega just called their Sega.

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16PlayStation 2

PlayStation 2

The PlayStation 2 only had 32MB of RAM.

17. Apple produced a video game console called the Pippin that failed catastrophically.

18. Nintendo 64 software rarely took advantage of 64-bit data precision operations. N64 game-titles generally used faster (and more compact) 32-bit data-operations. 32-bit code executed faster and required less storage space (which was at a premium on the N64's cartridges).

19. There is a prototype console called the Nintendo PlayStation/Super Disc made by Nintendo and Sony from a partnership gone bad.

20. Nokia made a handheld game console in 2003, the N-Gage. In the first two weeks, Nokia claimed to have sold 400,000 units, but researchers later found they had only actually sold approximately 5,800 units in total.

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