The mid 1990s were the heyday of home consoles becoming more and more prevalent in society, following the success of the SEGA Genesis and Saturn and the Nintendo Entertainment System and Super Nintendo System. Since then there have been countless rivalries over the years, but which ones stand out as the most memorable across gaming history?
PlayStation vs. Nintendo 64
Both consoles that personify the 1990s era of gaming, both the original PlayStation and Nintendo 64 are systems whose players remember fondly. Essentially, this rivalry came down to one major crossroad the industry at the time: cartridges or CDs. Whilst it might seem obvious now, Nintendo was actually remarkably steadfast at the time that their Nintendo 64 consoles would only play cartridges, paving the way for Sony and the PlayStation to flex themselves as the most powerful console in the world for the new age of gaming on CDs.
CDs allowed third parties to stack so much more on them and were a whole lot cheaper to produce than cartridges, which meant there wasn’t really a whole lot of competition going in terms of games available between the PlayStation and Nintendo 64. 7,918 games were playable during the course of the PS1’s lifetime, whilst only a measly 393 were available on the N64, which was reflective in Sony outperforming Nintendo hugely in the two consoles’ sales figures with over 100 and 32 million units sold respectively.
Nevertheless, the phrase ‘quality over quantity’ could definitely be applied to the Nintendo 64 and the games it did manage to pump out during its lifetime. Nintendo were big believers in their console and did everything they could to keep interest in the game high, producing timeless classics such as Super Mario 64, Mario Kart 64, Diddy Kong Racing, GoldenEye, Mario Party and TWO Legend of Zelda of games, Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask, all arguably going onto become far more legendary titles than anything from the PS1.
Xbox 360 vs. Nintendo Wii vs. PlayStation 3
The rivalry between the seventh generation of systems, the release of three competent and unique home consoles by the industry’s leading developers was really what helped birth the skill gaming part of video game entertainment, away from the very mainstream party game style so prevalent in the N64 and GameCubes of old, and usher in that modern age feel to home consoles.
The Nintendo Wii undoubtedly revolutionised the gaming industry with its release, showcasing never before seen motion controls that all instantly proved hits with the mainstream audiences around the world. There’s no denying the popularity of titles such as Wii Sports or Mario Kart Wii, but the console really wasn’t powerful enough to match either the 360 or PS3 head to head, which meant that it pretty much solely focused on either gimmick-heavy motion control games such as Wii Sports Resort or Wii Fit, or those similar party games such as Wii Play or Wii Party.
The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 were far more closely linked in terms of overall power than the PS4 and Xbox One are, and Sony were yet to really understand the true power of console exclusive titles, so the battle between these two was much closer.
Though it would eventually end up selling more copies than both the Wii and the 360, the PS3 spent the bulk of its lifetime trailing behind its two competitors. It didn’t have the gimmicks of the Wii, and there’s no denying that the Xbox 360 was the console that made the bigger splash in the gaming community. The growth of Xbox Live was instrumental in bringing out hyper-competitive multiplayer games online, and even the technical faults ended up becoming endearing with Microsoft’s infamous red ring of death.