The Definitive TRG Console Rankings

We rank every major console from Nintendo Entertainment System to Nintendo Switch.

With the advent of two brand spankin’ new consoles in the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S, we here at The Reformed Gamers got to thinking about some of the best consoles we’ve had the pleasure of gaming on over the years. Whether it’s the charm of a Nintendo console or the jaw-dropping graphics of a Sony console, there was a LOT to sift through! What follows is a combined “top 17” list of all the major consoles released since the Nintendo Entertainment System from the five primary TRG contributors: Logan, Adam, Wes, Tyler, and Micah. So without further ado, let’s begin!

#17 – Saturn

Coming in at the bottom of our list, the Sega Saturn had an uphill battle from the beginning. Releasing just months before the original PlayStation and coming in at $100 more was a tough sell for many, especially when considering the similar graphical power and the library of games that the PS1 was flaunting. Toss in a pretty bad controller and it all adds up to being quite a whimper for Sega. After the success of the Genesis Sega expected more from their first venture into 3D graphics. Despite it’s low placement here, many great games can be found on the Saturn including Nights Into Dreams, Panzer Dragoon Saga, and the Virtua Fighter series. – Micah

#16 – Wii U

A bizarre console that people today don’t even know what to make of, the Wii U is usually seen as a black mark upon Nintendo’s typically successful history. When it was announced, it was hard to tell whether it was a controller add-on for the original Wii or something new entirely. The messaging around its release was unusually muddled, leading to a lot of confusion and an eventual admission that the system itself wasn’t exactly performing up to the normal Nintendo standards. Even still, some truly great games were released on this proto-hybrid system: Pikmin 3, Super Mario 3D World, Splatoon, and it is still the ever-exclusive home for Xenoblade Chronicles X. An odd release for Nintendo, but thankfully not as reviled as the Virtual Boy. – Wes

#15 – Xbox One

Microsoft quit reporting sales of the Xbox One when it began lagging behind. Based on last numbers reported, the Xbox One was eventually dwarfed in sales by both the Switch and the PS4. Microsoft received a lot of criticism for their lack of exclusives but they still had some great titles like Gears of War 5, Ori and the Blind Forest, Sea of Thieves, and Halo 5. Though the Xbox did seem to struggle, Microsoft used this console to premiere an industry changer in the form of Xbox Game Pass. By creating Game Pass, Microsoft was able to put its games into the hands of millions of PC gamers. This showed Microsoft was willing to evolve and that the Xbox One, and its successor the Xbox Series X, were now just tools used to acquire more subscribers to their fantastic service. – Tyler

#14 – Dreamcast

Sega was a rascally company throughout the 90s, rivaling even the powerhouse of Nintendo and their iron fist rule over the American gaming market. After a series of complicated console launches and failures (Sega Saturn? 32X? Sega CD? Any of these ring a bell?), Sega had fallen on hard time and really needed a successful console. On September 9th, 1999, the Sega Dreamcast was born… and promptly failed shortly thereafter, falling to the insane popularity of the PlayStation 2. It was a dynamic system at the time, though, boasting internet connectivity and online play, beautiful 3D graphics, and forward-thinking accessories, it was a console that was truly ahead of its time and criminally underrated. – Wes

#13 – Xbox

Microsoft stormed onto the gaming scene with the original Xbox and a little title named “Halo: Combat Evolved”. Indeed, the genesis of the Xbox was marked by an exclamation point with Bungie’s ground breaking first-person shooter making history and solidifying Microsoft as a major player in the gaming space. Complimenting Halo were hits such as Fable, Ninja Gaiden, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, and Knights of the Old Republic. While not often credited enough, Xbox Live also launched on this platform. Though Xbox 360 propelled the service to greater heights, Xbox Live took it’s baby steps with the original Xbox. – Micah

#12 – Genesis

The Sega Genesis was a fantastic 16-bit machine that was dwarfed (and rightly so) by the Super Nintendo’s superior games library. Released one year before the SNES hit the scene, the Sega Genesis enjoyed moderate success and time in the spotlight. At the time it was a worthy opponent to Nintendo’s home console dominance and it really carved out it’s own path in the end. With new, hot-shot mascot, Sonic the Hedgehog, Sega made waves with it’s first console outing. Streets of Rage, Altered Beast, Comix Zone, and Shinobi III accompanied Sonic in what ended up being a well rounded games lineup. The battle between the SNES and the Genesis was only matched by the PS3/Xbox 360 gridlock in terms of number of units sold, so it makes sense that the Genesis earns it’s way as the best Sega console on this list. – Micah

#11 – PlayStation 3

The PS3 was one that I was late to the party on. I had always heard about the grand exclusives on the machine. When I finally got my hands on a PS3, I realized just how many great games I sorely missed. The Uncharted series blew me away, Ratchet and Clank was just outright fun, and titles like Heavy Rain were admirably daring. While the SIXAXIS support may have fizzled out (this was the age of trying to capitalize on the Wii’s success), the PS3 delivered on some great games. It was quite incredible to see PS3 start off so rough and yet end so strong, paving the way for the PS4. – Logan

#10 – Nintendo Entertainment System

The Nintendo Entertainment System (commonly abbreviated “NES”) is the classic system that most people think of when they hear the words “Nintendo.” This was truly the trojan horse that popularized gaming in America and has thoroughly shaped the industry that we know and love today. The progenitors of such classic gaming series such as Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Mega Man, Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and so many more, the NES is a powerhouse console that is unrivaled in gaming history. It was a long-shot for the west, but it solidified Nintendo’s hold on the American gaming market for years to come. – Wes

#9 – Nintendo 64

The N64 was a groundbreaking console for franchises like Mario and Zelda which finally got to go 3D. Super Mario 64 and the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time in particular are still considered some of the best of their respective franchises and some of the best games of all time. The N64 also revolutionized at home multiplayer games with great titles like Mario Kart 64, Mario Tennis, Mario Golf, Super Smash Bros, Mario Party, Diddy Kong Racing, and 007 Goldeneye. While the controller is often joked about in the present day, it was so wild to hold one of those bad boys and it felt cool at the time. Not only that, but you could plug in four controllers simultaneously which was incredible and made it a staple of many college dorm rooms. – Tyler

#8 – Wii

The Wii was the number four top selling home console of all time and the top selling Nintendo home console ever. The novelty of the motion sensor Wii Remote and the pack-in game Wii Sports made the Wii a household name. In addition to a household name, it also became a “church-hold” name as college and student ministries gathered around to bowl, play tennis, and box. In addition to being a great, family friendly party console, the Wii also boasted the amazing ability to be backwards compatible with the Gamecube with ports for Gamecube controllers. Some of its most notable titles were Mario Kart Wii, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Wii Fit, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Xenoblade Chronicles and Super Mario Galaxy 1 & 2. – Tyler

#7 – PlayStation

After a failed attempt at a partnership with Nintendo on a disc-based console, Sony ventured off into new territory and created their own vision for a disc-based console. The final product wound up being the Sony PlayStation. Launching in September, 1995 the PlayStation found immediate success with jaw dropping new 3D visuals. The PS1 also had an extremely rich library of games. Early titles such as Tekken and Twisted Metal paved the way for later smash hits like Metal Gear Solid, Gran Turismo, and Final Fantasy VII. I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention the treasure trove of excellent JRPGs that the original PlayStation had… Final Fantasy VII – IX, Xenogears, Grandia, Valkyrie Profile, Suikoden II, and on and on and on. While the polygonal graphics don’t hold up super well today, that is offset but the sheer quality that can be found within it’s library. – Micah

#6 – GameCube

I admittedly have a soft spot for the Gamecube. While it did not sell well, it certainly captured my heart. Games like Animal Crossing, Luigi’s Mansion, Custom Robo, Baten Kaitos, Super Mario Sunshine, just to name a few, made the Gamecube a force to be reckoned with in the quality of games. Plus, this was the system we recieved Super Smash Bros. Melee on, arguably the best one in the series. The Gamecube had some fantastic titles and remains a sought after collector’s item. Can’t say the same for that abysmal Resident Evil 4 chainsaw controller though. – Logan

#5 – Xbox 360

The Xbox 360 was quite the powerhouse. Not only did it secure an impressive lead over the PS3, both in sales and mindshare, it had a great online ecosystem that was perfect for online gaming. On top of that, the Xbox Live Summer of Arcade titles brought fresh, new indie games to gamers including Castle Crashers and Braid. This was also the console we received 3 mainline Halo games on: Halo 3, Reach, and Halo 4. This console introduced us to Gears of War and the Forza series to boot. The Xbox 360 is without a doubt one of the greats for very good reasons. – Logan

#4 – Super Nintendo

The Super Nintendo is a juggernaut of a console for very good reason. Not only did it deliver an impressive library of high-quality titles, many of those titles still hold up and are played to this day. Classics like Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy 3 (actually FF6), Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Metroid; the list just goes on and on. Personally, I had many firsts on this console, including F-Zero. I discovered my creative side with Mario Paint. It’s no wonder Nintendo released a mini version of this system with many of the classic games packed in. In many ways, you could say that the SNES continued to build on the strong foundation that was laid by the NES. Now if only we could decide how to pronounce SNES correctly. – Logan

#3 – Switch

What more can be said about the Nintendo Switch? When rumors began circulating about how the “Nintendo NX” (the Switch’s code name at the time) was going to be a console/portable hybrid, it was hard for me to wrap my head around what that could possibly mean for the future of gaming. Thankfully, it has lived up to all of our expectations and more, with its insane amount of gaming releases each week, detachable controllers that make multiplayer gaming a breeze, ease of use for “poop-and-play” gaming, and a strong first-party lineup that is hard to beat for even the most classic of Nintendo consoles, the Switch will go down in gaming history as a successful gamble from a company that “leaves luck in heaven’s hands.” – Wes

#2 – PlayStation 2

The PlayStation 2 launched in the U.S. on October 26th, 2000. It introduced the worlds first DVD-based console, and with it enormous success. Going on to sell over 155 millions units, the PS2 is the best selling video game console of all time. Continuing right where the PS1 left off, the PlayStation 2 had an embarrassment of riches with it’s games library. Metal Gears Solid 2 & 3, Shadow of the Colossus, Ratchet & Clank, Jak & Daxter, SSX, and SOCOM are just a few examples of the fantastic games found on the PS2. This is also the only console that made it’s way into the top 5 for all 5 of us contributing toward this list. It’s safe to say that the PlayStation 2 holds a soft spot on many gamer’s hearts. – Micah

#1 – PlayStation 4

As the second best selling home console of all time, Sony’s Playstation 4 will be remembered as a console legend. A generation before we saw a close race between the PS3 and the Xbox 360, but PS4 pulled away with a strong emphasis on immersive and visually impressive first party games. Sony Studios churned out sequels to some of the PS3’s greatest successes like Uncharted 4, God of War (2018), and The Last of Us part II but also introduced some brand new IPs like Horizon Zero Dawn, Marvel’s Spider-Man, Bloodborne, and Ghost of Tsushima. Sony introduced many new features in this console that weren’t necessarily unique to it but included PSVR and remote play to mobile, PC, and the PS Vita. Sony also did a fantastic job bringing great JRPGs, amazing indie games, and remasters of some of the best games of the PS2 and PS3 generation to the PS4. The value of PS Plus cannot be overstated which receiving many Sony first party games for free. The console itself, with its pro model, gave us a taste of 4K and will be remembered fondly for generations to come. – Tyler

Tell us, Deer Reader, what did we get wrong? Let us know in the comments why Saturn is the best console of all time and how we’re clearly Sony Ponies!

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