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Game System Matrix
Search the Matrix:   Sort list by: Name | Year | Score


3DO Multiplayer
Released: 1993
Resolution: 640x480 (interpolated)
On-Screen Colors: 32,000
Sound: 16-bit Stereo
Media Format(s): CD-ROM
Main Memory: 2MB

AA Overall Score: 52

The 3DO was meant to be the PC of the console world, with many different manufacturers producing hardware that ran the same software (there was even a 3DO expansion card from Creative Labs for PC's to run 3DO software). Despite backing by industry fo... more »


APF M1000, MP1000 and Imagination Machine
Released: 1978
Resolution: 128x192
On-Screen Colors: 8
Sound: 1 Channel, Mono
Media Format(s): Cartridge, Cassette
Main Memory: 9K

AA Overall Score: 20

This is among the most obscure systems released in the US. The APF Imagination Machine is the name for the complete computer system extension that incorporated either the M1000 or MP1000 videogame console as a core. This is a difficult system group... more »


Apple II Series* - 48K - 128K
Released: 1978
Resolution: 140x192
On-Screen Colors: 6
Sound: 1 Channel, Mono
Media Format(s): Cassette, 5.25 Floppy Disk, 3.5 Floppy Disk
Main Memory: 48K - 128K

AA Overall Score: 58.5

This does not include the Apple IIgs, which is a separate entry. The audio could be improved with add-ons, but software support was spotty. For your own edification, if you wish to include sound add-ons, add at least 1 to 1.5 to the audio score. Th... more »


Apple IIgs
Released: 1986
Resolution: 320x200
On-Screen Colors: 16
Sound: 16 Channels, Mono
Media Format(s): 3.5" Floppy Disk
Main Memory: 256K - 512K

AA Overall Score: 56.5

Due to near total backwards compatiblity with the original Apple II series, this ranking benefits from those scores. Some argue that Apple should have never stopped producing this line of computers, and in fact it took their Macintosh line - which t... more »


Apple Macintosh pre-iMac PowerPC-based, Full Color
Released: 1994
Resolution: 640x480
On-Screen Colors: 256
Sound: 16-bit Stereo
Media Format(s): 3.5 Floppy Disk
Main Memory: 16MB

AA Overall Score: 52

Apple, famous for their large sales margins, released the amazing looking "20th Anniversary Mac" in 1997 that initially retailed for almost $10,000! This was also the era when the last of the short-lived line of Macintosh clones were authorized.


Apple Macintosh up to 16 color 680x0-based
Released: 1984
Resolution: 512 x 342
On-Screen Colors: 16
Sound: 4 Channels, Mono
Media Format(s): 3.5 Floppy Disk
Main Memory: 256K

AA Overall Score: 44.5

Late in this cycle of systems, the Macintosh was starting to pick up a little momentum beyond the education and desktop publishing markets.


Apple Macintosh up to G4 or better with Current Generation 3D graphics
Released: 1999
Resolution: 1024x768
On-Screen Colors: 16.7 million (24-bit)
Sound: 24-bit Stereo
Media Format(s): CD-ROM, DVD-ROM
Main Memory: 256MB

AA Overall Score: 68

While this specification is equal to or arguably better than the equivalent PC specification, the Macintosh line continues to be a very distant second in computer gaming to the PC. (Image courtesy of Apple Computer, Inc.)


Atari 2600 Video Computer System (VCS) - Standard Unit*
Released: 1977
Resolution: 192x160
On-Screen Colors: 16
Sound: 2 Channels, Mono
Media Format(s): Cartridge
Main Memory: 128

AA Overall Score: 61.5

While the Starpath Supercharger add-on made games more complex than those for the standard unit, progress had been made in the use of many of the same techniques in standard cartridges to basically negate the need for a separate entry. The system fe... more »


Atari 5200 SuperSystem
Released: 1982
Resolution: 320x192
On-Screen Colors: 16
Sound: 4 Channels, Mono
Media Format(s): Cartridge
Main Memory: 16K

AA Overall Score: 34.5

For more information on this system, read this Armchair Arcade feature: http://www.armchairarcade.com/aamain/content.php?article.21 . The standard controllers were unusual in that they were analog versus digital, but did not self center and were ver... more »


Atari 7800 ProSystem
Released: 1986
Resolution: 320x200
On-Screen Colors: 16
Sound: 2 Channels, Mono
Media Format(s): Cartridge
Main Memory: 4K

AA Overall Score: 55.5

For more information on this system, read this Armchair Arcade feature: http://www.armchairarcade.com/aamain/content.php?article.21 . Though rarely utilized, the system could implement an extra sound chip in-cartridge for an additional 4 Channels of... more »


Atari 8-bit Computers/XEGS* - 48K - 64K
Released: 1979
Resolution: 80x192
On-Screen Colors: 16
Sound: 4 Channels, Mono
Media Format(s): Cartridge, Cassette, 5.25 Floppy Disk
Main Memory: 48K - 64K

AA Overall Score: 63

This ranking disregards unusual or unpopular systems in the series like the Atari 400 and 1200XL.


Atari Jaguar and Jaguar CD
Released: 1993
Resolution: 320x240
On-Screen Colors: 16.7 million (24-bit)
Sound: 16-bit Stereo
Media Format(s): Cartridge, CD-ROM
Main Memory: 2MB

AA Overall Score: 49

The CD unit is counted with the Jaguar base unit because it added little overall beyond mass storage capabilities.


Atari Lynx
Released: 1989
Resolution: 160x102
On-Screen Colors: 16
Sound: 4 Channels, Stereo (through headphone jack; mono only for original model)
Media Format(s): Cartridge
Main Memory: 64K

AA Overall Score: 41

This innovative handheld was unfortunately hampered by the parent company's inability to compete in a very different business environment, making it the first in a long series of competitor casualties against Nintendo's GameBoy. There were two slight... more »


Atari ST Series
Released: 1985
Resolution: 320x200
On-Screen Colors: 16
Sound: 3 Channels, Mono
Media Format(s): 3.5 Floppy Disk
Main Memory: 512K

AA Overall Score: 56.5

The e, TT and later the Falcon series, with improvements in such areas as graphics display, did not have a significant gaming impact to take note of in the analysis of this series of computers. Certain games could output MIDI sound for improved musi... more »


Bally Astrocade (and brand variations)
Released: 1978
Resolution: 160x102
On-Screen Colors: 8
Sound: 3 Channels, Mono
Media Format(s): Cartridge, Cassette
Main Memory: 4K

AA Overall Score: 28.5

This system went by several different names over its lifespan. The Astrocade could actually be hooked up to a tape drive and games could be programmed or run in BASIC or machine language. The use of BASIC limited certain system specifications, howeve... more »


Cell Phone Platform (BREW or J2ME-enabled late model phones)
Released: 2002
Resolution: 128x160
On-Screen Colors: 4096
Sound: 16-bit Mono
Media Format(s): Download
Main Memory: 1.5MB

AA Overall Score: 28

Specifications vary widely between cell phone models, but improvements are being made all the time.


Coleco Adam
Released: 1983
Resolution: 256x192
On-Screen Colors: 16
Sound: 3 Channels, Mono
Media Format(s): Cartridge, Cassette, 5.25 Floppy Disk
Main Memory: 64K

AA Overall Score: 50.5

The Adam was also fully backwards compatible with the ColecoVision and the scores reflect this. The stock Adam utilized a proprietary and unreliable high speed tape format. This computer was available as a stand-alone system or as an expansion module... more »


Coleco ColecoVision
Released: 1982
Resolution: 256x192
On-Screen Colors: 16
Sound: 3 Channels, Mono
Media Format(s): Cartridge
Main Memory: 8K

AA Overall Score: 48.5

The ColecoVision featured interesting add-ons, including a decent steering wheel and a full-blown computer, the Adam. The Atari 2600 add-on does not count in the scoring.


Coleco Telstar Arcade
Released: 1977
Resolution: Unknown
On-Screen Colors: 4
Sound: Beeper
Media Format(s): Cartridge
Main Memory: Unknown

AA Overall Score: 27.5

This was among the very first systems to feature interchangeable cartridges, but was technologically inferior to most of its contemporary competition, like the Atari 2600. The Telstar's unusual and versatile control panel, featuring knobs, a steerin... more »


Commodore 16 and Plus/4
Released: 1984
Resolution: 160x200
On-Screen Colors: 16
Sound: 2 Channels, Mono
Media Format(s): Cartridge, Cassette, 5.25 Floppy Disk
Main Memory: 16K - 64K

AA Overall Score: 26

These systems were equivalent to what Atari had done years earlier with their Atari 400 and 800 computer systems, creating a "starter" model (the 16) and a higher end model (the Plus/4). Unfortunately Commodore was competing with its own Commodore 64... more »


Commodore 64/128* (C-64/C-128) - 64K Software
Released: 1982
Resolution: 160x200
On-Screen Colors: 16
Sound: 3 Channels, Mono
Media Format(s): Cartridge, Cassette, 5.25 Floppy Disk
Main Memory: 64K

AA Overall Score: 64

A .5 deduction to the Controller Options score was levied because there was never a readily available light gun for the system, but it's hard to find many faults overall, especially considering the C-64 is the best selling computer of all-time. The C... more »


Commodore Amiga CD32
Released: 1993
Resolution: 320x200
On-Screen Colors: 256
Sound: 4 Channels, Stereo
Media Format(s): CD-ROM
Main Memory: 2MB

AA Overall Score: 46

The Amiga CD32 was essentially a videogame console version of the AGA-based Amiga 1200 computer, but unlike the ECS-based CDTV before it, was not as easy to turn into a fully compatible computer. The available software - even though many were margin... more »


Commodore Amiga Series - AGA Chipset
Released: 1992
Resolution: 320x200
On-Screen Colors: 256
Sound: 4 Channels, Stereo
Media Format(s): 3.5 Floppy Disk, CD-ROM
Main Memory: 2MB

AA Overall Score: 59.5

Due to workable backwards compatibility with non-AGA Amiga systems, this ranking benefits from those scores. Compatibility with competing systems through add-ons was not factored into the scores. Specifications varied slightly by model.


Commodore Amiga Series - ECS Chipset, Amiga CDTV
Released: 1985
Resolution: 320x200
On-Screen Colors: 32
Sound: 4 Channels, Stereo
Media Format(s): 3.5 Floppy Disk, CD-ROM
Main Memory: 1MB

AA Overall Score: 62.5

This was one of the first true multimedia computer systems, before there was a "multimedia". Commodore, among its other blunders (like advertising or lack thereof), didn't advance the line quickly enough to keep pace with the PC's and Macintosh's of ... more »


Commodore PET Series
Released: 1977
Resolution: 40x25
On-Screen Colors: Monochrome
Sound: Beeper
Media Format(s): Cassette, 5.25 Floppy Disk
Main Memory: 8K - 32K

AA Overall Score: 19.5

Specifications varied slightly by model. The all-in-one units look classically like how a "real" computer should, much like Tandy's later Model III and IV systems.


Commodore VIC 20 (Vic-20)
Released: 1981
Resolution: 184x176
On-Screen Colors: 8
Sound: 3 Channels, Mono
Media Format(s): Cartridge, Cassette, 5.25 Floppy Disk
Main Memory: 5K

AA Overall Score: 35

Despite being fully Atari-style joystick compatible, the system had only one joystick port and didn't utilize much more than that. A wide range of memory expansion options were available and required for certain software.


CP/M Compatible Systems (Kaypro, Osborne, etc.)
Released: 1981
Resolution: 80x24
On-Screen Colors: Monochrome
Sound: Beeper
Media Format(s): 5.25 Floppy Disk, 8 inch Floppy Disk
Main Memory: 64K

AA Overall Score: 15.5

This specification features only text-based games and beeper sound. While there were a wide range of pure CP/M compatible systems in the 1980's, variations in disk types and formats created cross-compatibility issues. One CP/M system might not be a... more »


Emerson Arcadia 2001
Released: 1982
Resolution: 128x208
On-Screen Colors: 9
Sound: 1 Channel, Mono
Media Format(s): Cartridge
Main Memory: 1K

AA Overall Score: 23.5

This system was poorly programmed and documented, and lacked overall polish, but the system's technical potential was reasonably competitive.


Entex Adventurevision
Released: 1982
Resolution: 150x40
On-Screen Colors: Monochrome
Sound: 1 Channel, Mono
Media Format(s): Cartridge
Main Memory: 64 Bytes

AA Overall Score: 19.5

Only four games. The system used LED's and a spinning mirror to generate its display.


Fairchild Video Entertainment System/Channel F/Zircon
Released: 1976
Resolution: 128x64
On-Screen Colors: 4
Sound: 1 Channel, Mono
Media Format(s): Cartridge
Main Memory: 64 Bytes

AA Overall Score: 16.5

This is widely credited as the first cartridge-based videogame system, released before the RCA Studio II and the venerable Atari 2600 Video Computer System (VCS). The graphics are blocky, but there is color. Originally this system was called the Vid... more »


GCE Vectrex
Released: 1982
Resolution: 330x410
On-Screen Colors: Vector Monochrome
Sound: 3 Channels, Mono
Media Format(s): Cartridge
Main Memory: 2K

AA Overall Score: 38

The system used screen overlays to simulate color. The 3D goggles used a spinning disk to simulate color for 3D games. Vectrex is a very difficult system to rank in that it has unique vector display features (meaning feel free to rank Visuals much ... more »


IBM and Compatible PC's up to 286's with CGA graphics and PC speaker sound (DOS)
Released: 1981
Resolution: 320x200
On-Screen Colors: 4
Sound: 1 Channel, Mono
Media Format(s): 5.25 Floppy Disk
Main Memory: 640K

AA Overall Score: 39.5

Early PC control options were usually limited to keyboards and analog joysticks. Early Software Lineup Diversity/Complexity was limited by the overall mediocre visual, sound and input options.


IBM and Compatible PC's up to 386's with EGA graphics and Ad Lib sound (DOS)
Released: 1985
Resolution: 320x200
On-Screen Colors: 16
Sound: 9 Channels, Mono
Media Format(s): 5.25 Floppy Disk, 3.5 Floppy Disk
Main Memory: 4MB

AA Overall Score: 51

This specification is where the PC's really started to take off as a game machine and wrest home dominance away from the Commodore 64.


IBM and Compatible PC's up to Pentium II's with First Generation 3D (Monster 3D equivalent) graphics and Soundblaster Pro sound (DOS/Windows)*
Released: 1996
Resolution: 640x480
On-Screen Colors: 65,000
Sound: 18 Channels, Stereo
Media Format(s): 3.5 Floppy Disk, CD-ROM
Main Memory: 64MB

AA Overall Score: 66

There were many different 3D graphics cards at this time, each with their own drivers and game support. The Voodoo chipset in cards like the Monster 3D emerged as the closest to a standard in this era.


IBM and Compatible PC's up to Pentium IV's with Current Generation 3D graphics and Soundblaster Audigy-level sound (Windows)*
Released: 2000
Resolution: 1024x768
On-Screen Colors: 16.7 million (24-bit)
Sound: 64 Channels, 24-bit Stereo
Media Format(s): CD-ROM, DVD-ROM
Main Memory: 256MB

AA Overall Score: 78.5

This is the longest lived platform and, despite consoles endearing themselves to the masses, the PC is still one of the most formidable overall gaming systems.


IBM and Compatible PC's up to Pentiums with VGA/SVGA graphics and Soundblaster sound (DOS)*
Released: 1994
Resolution: 640x480
On-Screen Colors: 256
Sound: 9 Channels, Mono
Media Format(s): 3.5 Floppy Disk, CD-ROM
Main Memory: 16MB

AA Overall Score: 61.5

This was the specification where the PC started to become technologically competitive with nearly any other system of the time and never looked back. This statement simply wasn't true prior to this specification, despite great sales success.


IBM PCjr with Second Generation Keyboard or Equivalent
Released: 1983
Resolution: 160x200
On-Screen Colors: 16
Sound: 3 Channels, Mono
Media Format(s): Cartridge, 5.25 Floppy Disk
Main Memory: 128K

AA Overall Score: 38.5

This short-lived PC was IBM's attempt at a computer for the home market, but was marginally compatible with their "business" line, so it needed all new software developed for it. The specifications were very competitive for the time, but the overall ... more »


Magnavox Odyssey2 with Voice Module
Released: 1978
Resolution: 154x100
On-Screen Colors: 4
Sound: 1 Channel, Mono
Media Format(s): Cartridge
Main Memory: 64 Bytes

AA Overall Score: 29

Interestingly, in some cases, the voice module was also used for sound effects and music, and could actually be very effective. As far as voice modules or speech in general, the Odyssey2's was probably the most used based on the compatible percentag... more »


Mattel Aquarius with Mini Expander and 16K Memory Cartridge
Released: 1983
Resolution: 80x72
On-Screen Colors: 16
Sound: 3 Channels, Mono
Media Format(s): Cartridge, Cassette
Main Memory: 16K

AA Overall Score: 20

The Aquarius was actually obsolete before it was released. Mattel would have had more luck focusing on the Intellivision's ECS computer add-on, which would have been at least a little more successful just based on that system's user base. Without t... more »


Mattel Intellivision with Voice Module
Released: 1980
Resolution: 160x196
On-Screen Colors: 16
Sound: 3 Channels, Mono
Media Format(s): Cartridge
Main Memory: 7K

AA Overall Score: 46.5

While little utilized, the Intellivision featured such add-ons as a computer module (the ECS, which added additional memory and sound channels, along with a few enhanced games) and companion piano keyboard. The Atari 2600 VCS module does not count in... more »


Memorex Video Information System (VIS)
Released: 1992
Resolution: 640x480
On-Screen Colors: 16.7 million (24-bit)
Sound: 16-bit Stereo
Media Format(s): CD-ROM
Main Memory: 2MB

AA Overall Score: 28

Sometimes referred to as the Tandy VIS, it was sold unsuccessfully through Radio Shack stores and featured mostly "edutainment" software. Microsoft developed a specialized version of Windows 3.1 as the operating system for this unit and there was so... more »


Microsoft Xbox*
Released: 2001
Resolution: 640x480p, 1280x720p
On-Screen Colors: 16.7 million (24-bit)
Sound: 256 Channels, Stereo
Media Format(s): DVD-ROM
Main Memory: 64MB

AA Overall Score: 73.5

Though criticized as a PC in a console's casing, for a company's first system, it's arguable that Microsoft got as much right with the design and launch as could be reasonably expected.


Milton Bradley Microvision
Released: 1979
Resolution: 16x16
On-Screen Colors: LCD Monochrome
Sound: Beeper
Media Format(s): Cartridge
Main Memory: Negligible

AA Overall Score: 18

Each cartridge contained the memory, microprocessor and extra controls necessary for the system to function. While you could fine-tune the contrast with a screw located on the rear of the unit, ideal lighting conditions were a requirement.


NEC Turbo-Grafx 16 CD/Super CD
Released: 1992
Resolution: 256x216
On-Screen Colors: 256
Sound: 6 Channels, Stereo
Media Format(s): Cartridge, CD-ROM
Main Memory: 64K - 256K

AA Overall Score: 48

While the specifications were essentially the same as the standard cartridge-based unit, the extra memory allowed for improved visuals. Despite counting as different systems, the scores from the cartridge games benefit these scores. The different sy... more »


NEC Turbo-Grafx 16, Turbo Express
Released: 1989
Resolution: 256x216
On-Screen Colors: 256
Sound: 6 Channels, Mono
Media Format(s): Cartridge
Main Memory: 8K

AA Overall Score: 46.5

By offering only one controller port as the default, this system, despite its diminuitive size (discounting the snap-off piece on back), was frustrating in the fact that it practically REQUIRED the purchase of a multi-tap for multiplayer games. The ... more »


Nintendo 64
Released: 1996
Resolution: 320x240
On-Screen Colors: 32,000
Sound: 16-bit Stereo
Media Format(s): Cartridge
Main Memory: 4MB

AA Overall Score: 60

A 4MB expansion pack was released that helped to improve the frame rate and complexity of certain games that supported it.


Nintendo DS*
Released: 2004
Resolution: 256x192
On-Screen Colors: 260,000
Sound: 16-bit Stereo
Media Format(s): Cartridge
Main Memory: Unknown

AA Overall Score: 63

The DS features two screens, one on top of the other. The bottom screen is a touch screen which accepts finger or stylus input. In an unusual twist, the DS is only backwards compatible with GameBoy Advance games, not GameBoy Color or GameBoy, lower... more »


Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)*
Released: 1985
Resolution: 256x240
On-Screen Colors: 24
Sound: 4 Channels, Mono
Media Format(s): Cartridge
Main Memory: 2k

AA Overall Score: 64.5

This is the system that brought the videogame industry out from the 1984 crash and returned it to the mainstream.


Nintendo GameBoy Advance/SP*
Released: 2001
Resolution: 240x160
On-Screen Colors: 511
Sound: 6 Channels, Stereo (through headphone jack)
Media Format(s): Cartridge
Main Memory: 32K

AA Overall Score: 60.5

The SP gets a point in Set Up deducted because of a wierd headphone/charger jack, and the standard Advance for the need for a good external light source.


Nintendo GameBoy Color*
Released: 1998
Resolution: 160x144
On-Screen Colors: 56
Sound: 4 Channels, Stereo (through headphone jack)
Media Format(s): Cartridge
Main Memory: 32K

AA Overall Score: 57

This is often thought of as a portable NES equivalent, much like the GBA is a portable SNES equivalent.


Nintendo GameBoy*
Released: 1989
Resolution: 160x144
On-Screen Colors: Monochrome
Sound: 4 Channels, Stereo (through headphone jack)
Media Format(s): Cartridge
Main Memory: 8K

AA Overall Score: 56

Nintendo's original GameBoy was relatively technologically crippled from the start, but it had the Nintendo name behind it, a Tetris pack-in and battery life that was considerably better than the competition's.


Nintendo GameCube*
Released: 2001
Resolution: 640x480i/p
On-Screen Colors: 16.7 million (24-bit)
Sound: 64 Channels, Stereo
Media Format(s): Mini Optical Disc
Main Memory: 40MB

AA Overall Score: 70

This system's tiny optical discs supposedly spin in reverse to help combat piracy. Later versions of the system removed progressive scan support.


Nintendo Super Nintendo (SNES)*
Released: 1991
Resolution: 256x224
On-Screen Colors: 256
Sound: 8 Channels, Stereo
Media Format(s): Cartridge
Main Memory: 128K

AA Overall Score: 69.5

After a long, uphill battle with the Sega Genesis, the Super Nintendo finally became the best selling 16-bit videogame system towards the end of both systems' life cycles.


Nintendo Virtual Boy
Released: 1995
Resolution: 384x224
On-Screen Colors: Monochrome
Sound: 16-bit Stereo
Media Format(s): Cartridge
Main Memory: 512K

AA Overall Score: 32

The display screen actually consisted of shades of red and black, and created a good sense of depth when displaying the right game. As is often the case with displays of this type, it can be very eye fatiguing for most people.


Nokia N-Gage/QD
Released: 2003
Resolution: 176x208
On-Screen Colors: 4096
Sound: Stereo (through headphone jack)
Media Format(s): Cartridge
Main Memory: 4MB

AA Overall Score: 34

The original N-Gage required removing the battery case to insert and remove game cartridges! (Image courtesy of Nokia)


NUON DVD Platform
Released: 2000
Resolution: 640x480
On-Screen Colors: 16.7 million (24-bit)
Sound: 32 Channels, Stereo
Media Format(s): DVD-ROM
Main Memory: 8MB

AA Overall Score: 32.5

This specification was interesting and reasonably technologically competitive with systems like the Sony PlayStation, but it was more fancy DVD player than game machine. Like the 3DO, the Nuon technology was licensed for use by others.


PalmOS Platform (late model)
Released: 1998
Resolution: 160x160
On-Screen Colors: 256
Sound: Stereo (through headphone jack)
Media Format(s): CD-ROM via serial or USB computer transfer, Download
Main Memory: 8MB

AA Overall Score: 38

This platform has slowly evolved over the years to become more gamer friendly.


Philips CD-I with Digital Video (DV) add-on
Released: 1991
Resolution: 384x280
On-Screen Colors: 32,000
Sound: 8 Channels, Stereo
Media Format(s): CD-ROM
Main Memory: 1.5MB

AA Overall Score: 39.5

The Digital Video (DV) add-on allowed the CD-I to play what are now known as Video CD's, as well as wonderful translations of games like Dragon's Lair and The 7th Guest. A dearth of good action games and a focus on education and other non-game uses f... more »


Pocket PC Platform (late model)
Released: 2000
Resolution: 240x320
On-Screen Colors: 65,000
Sound: Stereo (through headphone jack)
Media Format(s): CD-ROM via serial or USB computer transfer, Download
Main Memory: 32MB

AA Overall Score: 35.5

This specification never achieved the popularity of the PalmOS platform, but always took the lead in overall multimedia abilities.


Radio Shack TRS-80 Color Computer 1/2 (CoCo1 or CoCo2) - Up to 64K
Released: 1980
Resolution: 128x192
On-Screen Colors: 4
Sound: 1 Channel, Mono
Media Format(s): Cartridge, Cassette, 5.25 Floppy Disk
Main Memory: 64K

AA Overall Score: 37

Despite Tandy/Radio Shack's efforts, this line of systems never caught on enough to break into the upper tier of popular computer systems. Models 1 and 2 varied in keyboard designs and internal circuitry, but were otherwise the same systems. Various... more »


Radio Shack TRS-80 Color Computer 3 (CoCo3) - 128K Unit
Released: 1986
Resolution: 320x192
On-Screen Colors: 16
Sound: 1 Channel, Mono
Media Format(s): Cartridge, Cassette, 5.25 Floppy Disk, 3.5 Floppy Disk
Main Memory: 128K

AA Overall Score: 37.5

The CoCo 3 can be thought of as a CoCo 2 on steroids, and was mostly compatible. Tandy/Radio Shack should have taken the design farther, though, particularly in regards to the outdated 8-bit processor and sound. The prior CoCo systems' poor text mo... more »


Radio Shack TRS-80 Micro Color Computer (MC-10) with 16K Memory Expansion
Released: 1983
Resolution: 64x32
On-Screen Colors: 8
Sound: Beeper
Media Format(s): Cassette
Main Memory: 16K

AA Overall Score: 15.5

The MC-10 was a scaled down Color Computer 1 that generated little interest and received limited support.


RCA Studio II
Released: 1977
Resolution: 64x32
On-Screen Colors: Monochrome
Sound: 1 Channel, Mono
Media Format(s): Cartridge
Main Memory: 256 Bytes

AA Overall Score: 13

This was actually a black and white graphics system released shortly after the color Channel F. Graphics were very blocky and simplistic.


Sega 32X
Released: 1994
Resolution: 320x224
On-Screen Colors: 32,000
Sound: 10 Channels, Stereo
Media Format(s): Cartridge, CD-ROM
Main Memory: 512K

AA Overall Score: 36.5

Though an add-on for the Sega Genesis, this unit will be counted as a completely independent system for rating purposes.


Sega CD
Released: 1992
Resolution: 320x224
On-Screen Colors: 128
Sound: 8 Channels, Stereo
Media Format(s): CD-ROM
Main Memory: 768K

AA Overall Score: 49

Though an add-on for the Sega Genesis, this unit will be counted as a completely independent system. This add-on did actually increase the Genesis' technical feature set, but it was mostly used as a mass storage device, simply giving games either ful... more »


Sega Dreamcast
Released: 1999
Resolution: 640x480
On-Screen Colors: 16.7 million (24-bit)
Sound: 64 Channels, Stereo
Media Format(s): GD-ROM
Main Memory: 16MB

AA Overall Score: 70

The Dreamcast was a "tweener", almost a (short) generation unto itself. It was not quite part of the PlayStation 1 era and not quite part of the PlayStation 2 era, but was technologically competitive regardless. The Dreamcast distinguished itself a... more »


Sega Game Gear
Released: 1991
Resolution: 160x146
On-Screen Colors: 32
Sound: 4 Channels, Stereo (through headphone jack)
Media Format(s): Cartridge
Main Memory: 24K

AA Overall Score: 50

The Game Gear was basically a portable Sega Master System.


Sega Genesis*
Released: 1989
Resolution: 320x224
On-Screen Colors: 64
Sound: 8 Channels, Stereo
Media Format(s): Cartridge
Main Memory: 64K

AA Overall Score: 66.5

The system that finally dethroned Nintendo from their top spot dominance for most of the 16-bit era of videogame systems. While the system had graphical and audio deficiencies relative to the competition, a speedy processor and clever programming ke... more »


Sega Master System (SMS)
Released: 1986
Resolution: 240x226
On-Screen Colors: 32
Sound: 6 Channels, Mono
Media Format(s): Cartridge, Game Card
Main Memory: 64K

AA Overall Score: 55.5

Though technologically superior to the NES, Nintendo dominated during this era.


Sega Saturn
Released: 1994
Resolution: 352x224
On-Screen Colors: 32,000
Sound: 32 Channels, Stereo
Media Format(s): CD-ROM
Main Memory: 2MB

AA Overall Score: 58.5

This was originally meant as a 2D (sprite) powerhouse with limited 3D (polygon) capabilities. Sega decided at the last minute to increase the system's 3D power, but ended up creating Frankenstein-like internals that were difficult to program for and ... more »


SNK Neo Geo and Neo Geo CD
Released: 1990
Resolution: 320x224
On-Screen Colors: 4,096
Sound: 15 Channels, Stereo
Media Format(s): Cartridge, CD-ROM
Main Memory: 64K

AA Overall Score: 46

This system marks the one and only time that arcade and home hardware were the same. The Neo Geo CD was the same as the cartridge unit, just with load times and less costly versions of the same exact software.


SNK Neo Geo Pocket Color
Released: 2000
Resolution: 160x152
On-Screen Colors: 146
Sound: 6 Channels, Stereo (through headphone jack)
Media Format(s): Cartridge
Main Memory: 12K

AA Overall Score: 38.5

This system had one of the best control sticks/pads on a portable game machine, but was released in an era when a console company needed a much stronger financial backing in order to make such a system a success.


Sony PlayStation 1 (PSX/PS1/PSOne)*
Released: 1995
Resolution: 320x240
On-Screen Colors: 32,000
Sound: 24 Channels, Stereo
Media Format(s): CD-ROM
Main Memory: 2MB

AA Overall Score: 74

Sony got it right on the first try, gambling on the polygon (3D), starting a long dominance of the market, to the chagrin of both Sega and Nintendo.


Sony PlayStation 2 (PS2)*
Released: 2000
Resolution: 640x480
On-Screen Colors: 16.7 million (24-bit)
Sound: 48 Channels, Stereo
Media Format(s): DVD-ROM, CD-ROM
Main Memory: 32MB

AA Overall Score: 77.5

Despite a technically poor batch of initial game titles, diligence and experience have allowed the full potential of this machine to be realized. The PS2 is almost completely backwards compatible with the PS1.


Sony PlayStation Portable* (PSP)
Released: 2005
Resolution: 480x272
On-Screen Colors: 16.7 million (24-bit)
Sound: Stereo
Media Format(s): UMD
Main Memory: 32MB

AA Overall Score: 56.5

Sony's PSP is expected to be Nintendo's first real challenge in the handheld game console market. Sony took a very different route with the PSP, making it a multimedia-friendly device as opposed to Nintendo's more game-centric system in the DS.


Spectravideo SV-series
Released: 1983
Resolution: 256x192
On-Screen Colors: 16
Sound: 3 Channels, Mono
Media Format(s): Cartridge, Cassette, 5.25 Floppy Disk
Main Memory: 32K

AA Overall Score: 21.5

This obscure specification is probably most familiar to classic computer fans from magazine advertisements rather than first hand experience.


Tandy 1000 Series
Released: 1984
Resolution: 160x200
On-Screen Colors: 16
Sound: 3 Channels, Mono
Media Format(s): 5.25 Floppy Disk, 3.5 Floppy Disk
Main Memory: 256K

AA Overall Score: 48

For a time, what started out as a clone of the ill-fated IBM PCjr, blossomed into one of the most popular mostly PC-compatible computers. The Tandy 1000 series established several standards of its own - including graphics and sound - that software d... more »


Tandy TRS-80 Model I, III, 4
Released: 1977
Resolution: 128x48
On-Screen Colors: Monochrome
Sound: None
Media Format(s): Data Cassette, 5.25 Floppy Disk
Main Memory: 16K - 48K

AA Overall Score: 23

Sound could be generated through a clever cassette port hack, which is a technique that apparently also worked for other computers, like Commodore's PET line (sound was obviously not a priority for many early systems, particularly if targeted more as... more »


Tapwave Zodiac
Released: 2003
Resolution: 480x320
On-Screen Colors: 65,000
Sound: Stereo
Media Format(s): Cartridge, CD-ROM via USB computer transfer, Download
Main Memory: 32MB

AA Overall Score: 38.5

In addition to its own abilities, this is a high percentage PalmOS compatible system, so the scores reflect that. Introduced in 2003, a high price, limited support and poor distribution all contributed to the company's and system's official end on J... more »


Texas Instruments TI-994/A with Voice Module
Released: 1981
Resolution: 256x192
On-Screen Colors: 16
Sound: 3 Channels, Mono
Media Format(s): Cartridge, Cassette, 5.25 Floppy Disk
Main Memory: 16K

AA Overall Score: 43.5

This was a solid system that never really caught on, much like the CoCo series of computers from Tandy/Radio Shack. Perhaps both fates are somewhat linked by comparitively lackluster third party software support and the inability to get a reasonably ... more »


Tiger Game.com
Released: 1997
Resolution: 200x160
On-Screen Colors: Monochrome
Sound: 1 Channel, Mono
Media Format(s): Cartridge
Main Memory: Unknown

AA Overall Score: 32

This system had nice, static black and white graphics, but the blur on moving objects was abysmal (worse than the original Nintendo GameBoy!). The low resolution touch screen was unique among pure game systems though until the announcement of Nintend... more »


Tiger Telematics Gizmondo
Released: 2005
Resolution: 320x240
On-Screen Colors: Unknown
Sound: Stereo (through headphone jack)
Media Format(s): Cartridge, Download
Main Memory: 64MB

AA Overall Score: 39

Tiger Telematics' Gizmondo handheld uses the Windows CE operating system in a device that handles multimedia and messaging, takes photos, and has built-in GPS, GRPS and Bluetooth. Using a 3D co-processor, it plays games that are roughly equivalent t... more »


Timex Sinclair 1000/1500 with 16K Memory Expansion
Released: 1982
Resolution: 64x44
On-Screen Colors: Monochrome
Sound: None
Media Format(s): Cassette
Main Memory: 2K

AA Overall Score: 18

Since this is solely based on the US, the Sinclair's significant European presence and popularity was not taken into account. This Sinclair model has awful black and white graphical abilities, but they are slightly better than the RCA Studio II. Ther... more »


Timex Sinclair 2068
Released: 1983
Resolution: 256x192
On-Screen Colors: 8
Sound: 3 Channels, Mono
Media Format(s): Cartridge, Cassette
Main Memory: 48K

AA Overall Score: 20.5

This is the enhanced US version of the significantly more popular European-only Sinclair ZX Spectrum+. The 2068 could run most ZX software with an emulator cartridge, expanding the library of available games significantly.


Tomy Tutor
Released: 1983
Resolution: 256x192
On-Screen Colors: 16
Sound: 3 Channels, Mono
Media Format(s): Cartridge
Main Memory: 16K

AA Overall Score: 26.5

The Tomy Tutor had similar architecture to the TI-994/A, but with a better processor and a poor, chiclet-style keyboard. Unlke other computers of the day, there were few expansion options and ways to tap into all that power, but the positive was the... more »


Toy Quest Go Go TV Video VISION
Released: 2005
Resolution: Unknown
On-Screen Colors: Unknown
Sound: Stereo
Media Format(s): Cartridge
Main Memory: Unknown

AA Overall Score: 41.5

Toy Quest's system is similar to XaviX's console, but targeted at kids. The GoGo TV uses a small camera to detect player and accessory motions. (Photo from the Toy Quest Website)


Watara Supervision
Released: 1992
Resolution: 160x160
On-Screen Colors: Monochrome
Sound: 5 Channels, Stereo (through headphone jack)
Media Format(s): Cartridge
Main Memory: 8K

AA Overall Score: 29

Released about three years after the original Nintendo GameBoy, Watara's little seen budget portable game system, Supervision, received limited distribution. While the unit featured an oversized screen and a tiltable display, the games were generall... more »


XaviX XaviXPORT Game Console
Released: 2004
Resolution: Unknown
On-Screen Colors: Unknown
Sound: Stereo
Media Format(s): Cartridge
Main Memory: Unknown

AA Overall Score: 39.5

XaviX's system is interesting in that it's a modern return to having nearly all of the technology and intelligence in the plug-in "cartridges" rather than in the base unit that plugs into the power outlet and television. Each XaviXPORT game comes wi... more »
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