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Vintage Video Game Consoles 1996-2000



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Nintendo 64 Screenshots
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Nintendo 64
Released September 29, 1996 for $199.00
The Nintendo 64, commonly called the N64, is Nintendo's third home video game console. The N64 was released on June 23, 1996 in Japan, September 29, 1996 in North America, 1 March 1997 in Europe/Australia and September 1, 1997 in France. It was released with only two launch games in Japan and North America (Super Mario 64 and PilotWings 64) while Europe had a third launch title in the form of Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire (which was released earlier in the other markets). The Nintendo 64 cost $199 at launch in the United States.

During the developmental stages the N64 was referred to by its code name, Project Reality. The name Project Reality came from the speculation within Nintendo that this console could produce CGI on par with then-current super computers. Once unveiled to the public the name changed to Nintendo Ultra 64, referring to its 64-bit processor, and Nintendo dropped "Ultra" from the name on February 1, 1996, just five months before its Japanese debut.


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Super Nintendo Entertainment System Model 2 Screenshots
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Super Nintendo Entertainment System Model 2
Released October 01, 1997 for $99.00
By 1996, the 16-bit era of gaming had ended, and a new generation of consoles, including Nintendo's own Nintendo 64, caused the popularity of the SNES to wane. In October 1997, Nintendo released a redesigned SNES 2 in North America for $99 USD (which included the pack-in game Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island). Like the earlier NES 2, the new model was designed to be slimmer and lighter than its predecessor but lacked S-Video and RGB output, and would prove to be among the last major SNES-related releases in America.

Nintendo of America ceased production of the SNES in 1999. In Japan, the Super Famicom continued to be produced until September 2003 (also some new games were produced until the year 2000). In recent years, many SNES titles have been ported to the hand held Game Boy Advance, which has similar video capabilities. Some video game critics consider the SNES era "the golden age of video games," citing the many ground breaking games and classics made for the system, whereas others question this romanticism. See video game player for more.


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Sega Genesis 3 Screenshots
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Sega Genesis 3
Released February 01, 1998 for $29.99
A company by the name of Majesco started to take over manufacturing of systems for Sega in 1998 with their release of the Genesis 3. The system retailed for $29.99 and came packaged with one controller, AV cables, and a power cord. The controller that was featured as a pack in was the new Sega six button controller. The system itself was very tiny, about the size of two controllers for the system. The system lacked the expansion port that the Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 had and thus could not utilized the function of the Sega CD 1 or 2. The Genesis 3 could not utilize the 32X either.

Besides redesigning the Sega Genesis, Majesco also re-released certain games for the system. They came in cardboard boxes with black and white instructions. Majesco had also done some re-releasing for the Sega Game Gear and the Super Nintendo. At the same time they were doing work with the Game Gear, they had plans to re-release the Sega Saturn, but as of yet, nothing has been done. The following games do not work (per Genesis 3 Instruction Manual): Virtua Racing. The Sega Channel Modem also does not work.


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Sega Dreamcast Screenshots
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Sega Dreamcast
Released September 1999
The Dreamcast was released on November 27, 1998 in Japan, on September 9, 1999 in the United States (the date 9/9/99 featured heavily in US promotion) and on October 14, 1999 in Europe. The tag line used to promote the console in the US was "It's thinking", and in Europe "Up to 6 Billion Players". (The vagueness of these campaigns and almost total lack of any in game footage has been touted as one of the reasons for the Dreamcast's eventual downfall. Many Americans knew that the Dreamcast was coming, but didn't know what one was.)

The Dreamcast was the first console to include a built-in modem and Internet support for on-line gaming. It enjoyed brisk sales in its first season and was one of Sega's most successful hardware units. In the United States alone, a record 200,000 units had been pre-ordered before launch and Sega sold 500,000 consoles in just two weeks (including 225,000 sold on the first 24 hours which became a video game record until the PlayStation 2 launched a year later). In fact, due to brisk sales and hardware shortages, Sega was unable to fulfill all of the advance orders.


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Sony PlayStation PS1 Screenshots
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Sony PlayStation PS1
Released March 2000
The first new version was actually a revision in early 1996, produced in response to complaints that PlayStations were overheating. Sony did not change the technical aspects or the cosmetics, but did remove the S-video port left over from the Japanese release.

Sony produced a redesigned version of the original console, called the "PSone", in a smaller (and more ergonomic) case which was introduced in September 2000. The original PlayStation was abbreviated in Japan to "PS" and was often abbreviated as "PSX" by American gamers, as this was Sony's internal code name for the system while it was under development. This led to some confusion in 2003, when Sony introduced a PS2-derived system in Japan actually called the PSX. The PlayStation is now officially abbreviated as the "PS1" or "PSone," although many people still abbreviate it "PS" or "PSX". There were only 2 differences between the "PSone" and the original, the first one being cosmetic change to the console, and the second one was the home menu's Graphical User Interface.


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Sony PlayStation 2 (SCPH-5000x) Screenshots
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Sony PlayStation 2 (SCPH-5000x)
Released October 2000
The PlayStation 2 had a difficult start. Only a few million users had obtained consoles by the end of 2000 due to manufacturing delays. The PlayStation 2 was such a hot item after its release that it was near impossible to find one on retailer shelves, leaving those wanting a PlayStation 2 to either wait or purchase the console on-line at sites such as eBay, where the console was being sold by many people for twice and sometimes five times as much as the manufacturer's listed price.

The PlayStation brand's strength has lead to strong third-party support for the system. Although the launch titles for the PS2 were unimpressive in 2000, the holiday season of 2001 saw the release of several best-selling and critically acclaimed games. Those PS2 titles helped the PS2 maintain and extend its lead in the video game console market, despite increased competition from the launches of the Microsoft Xbox and Nintendo GameCube. In several cases, Sony made exclusivity deals with publishers in order to preempt its competitors.


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Nintendo 64 Pikachu Screenshots
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Nintendo 64 Pikachu
Released November 01, 2000 for $189.99
The Pokémon Pikachu Nintendo 64 had a large, yellow Pikachu model on a blue Nintendo 64. It has a different footprint than the standard Nintendo 64 console, and the Expansion Pak port is covered. It also shipped with a blue Pokémon controller; orange in Japan.


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1970s Video Game Consoles | 1980s Video Game Consoles | 1990s Video Game Consoles | 2000 and Beyond
GameConsoles
Top 10 Game Consoles of All Time | 10 Game Consoles That Didn't Catch On | Game Console Clones
GameConsoles
Top Brands:Magnavox | Atari | Coleco | Mattel | Nintendo | Sega | Sony | Microsoft
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