Most iconic: video game console

We’ve identified all the errors of Sony, but what’s the opposite? What is the most iconic video game console? What’s the best designed?

I’m still thinking it over, but something that hit me was how I’ve never been blown away by the build of a game console. They always seem to have cheap material (PS), fairly evident part lines, etc. I know that companies don’t make much money on the console, but I’m surprised we never saw some leather, cloth or splash of a metal on a console. Seeems like another $.30 USD on the BOM could have made some of these designs pop a little more.

It was all downhill after the 2600 :smiley:

I think the Nintendo ultimately did the most for defining a lot of the paradigms we know and expect today including the game pad layout that “stuck”, that would get my vote.

Mine is still functional (and worth buying AAAs for) after 22+ years.

Pre iPod and Cell phone all in one! Consumer electronics followed automotive CMF…

I had an Intellivision, I almost wanted to post it as a joke but it’s amazing how dated it feels now and how terribly unusable those controllers were. Trying to mash the membrane keys while using the joystick.

The post is for most iconic. NES is the first thing in my mind when I hear the words “game console”.

Not as iconic as the primary joystick, but - just LOOK at this thing - doesn’t it make you want to have a good session of Warlords?
Substitute the knob for a knurled metal piece, change the body texture to MT-11540 with a matte finish, go curvature continuity on the fillet…and its something you’d see controlling a D/A converter in 2020. My vote is with the 2600. It really put the hook in me.

I realize this wasn’t a console, but it was a near riot whenever someone showed up at elementary school recess with a new Game&Watch model.

Yes that Intellivision control stunk. I vaguely remember playing some baseball game using that console, and how un-fun it was. Thanks for the nostalgia!

I logged some hours playing Night Driver with that knobby wheel controller on the 2600:

I agree though, NES is probably the “most iconic”… I think also because SNES was a nice evolution of the language it kind of backed it up. I still love the SNES with those big purple buttons. though what about Sega Genesis with that big circular element?

@yo - I never picked up on that 2600 ‘dish’ form across the bottom, cradling the wood grain upper portion. That’s actually quite cool.

I remember now - that crappy baseball game experience wasn’t Intellivision, it was their red-headed stepsibling ColecoVision. Equally crappy both in play experience and industrial design.

Something tells me this poll will be heavily skewed by the generation you grew up in. I think if you ask this to a new grad the answer would be “XBox 360”

True. In another generation the console box will be a relic. The idea of ‘ownership’ is said to be diminishing, in favor of always-on and shared resources.
The future will be more like: walk up to gigantic screen, pick up controller, instantly resume game. No box, cartridges, discs, cords. Sigh.

I think the original 360 design is really pretty nice. A hard left turn from the original Xbox, but well done. Very 1990s frog design… in a good way.

How about this one?

Instantly recognizable and you don’t even have to see it! Amazing.

It was a big deal, and the small form factor was nice.

Aside from the goofy base, it felt tightly built and solid.

NES. That is all.


The opposite is indeed Beat Saber on the Vive…

“The dork is strong with this one.”

Playstation 2 is the best selling console at >155 million units…

Wow…I thought I knew, but I have no idea now.

I loved the PS2 design. The extremely flat surfaces, the rotating “PS” logo, the slats. They knocked it out of the park there. Compared to the PS1, which was pretty standard game console fit and finish, the PS2 felt like high-end audio equipment.

I also agree with the Wii. It’s easy to forget now, but that thing was a tiny cultural revolution in gaming. Very clean design.

The 2600 is an icon, but I don’t think the design is great. It feels like a glorified Hammond project box with some radio shack switches in it. Then again, it probably is built with stuff from Radio Shack! Weirdly, I do miss faux-wood paneling on electronics. Maybe that’s what the PS5 needs!

The Gameboy was one of the first in my mind too. Very simple. It became an icon for portable gaming for over a decade. Thinking of icons, whoever called out the NES controller is spot on. That’s another Nintendo product that basically became the visual term for gaming, arguably it still is!

Honorable mentions:

I don’t know why, but I always though the Turbo Grafx16 looked hot. I still do, albeit in a retro gaming way.

Everyone loved the Countache as a kid. Sega Master System definitely tried to get the same demo.

I dug this because it looked like a CD player and not a game system. JVC X’eye (Sega CD under license).