Video game console

Missing image
The Nintendo GameCube is an example of a video game console.

A video game console is a dedicated electronic device designed to play video games. Often the output device is a separate television or a computer monitor. Once, video game consoles were easily distinguishable from personal computers: consoles used a standard television for display, and did not support standard PC accessories such as keyboards or modems. However, as consoles have become more enhanced, the distinction has blurred: some consoles can have full Linux operating systems running with hard drives and keyboards (like the Sega Dreamcast or Nintendo Gamecube) (one university has even created a Beowulf cluster of PlayStation 2 consoles), and Microsoft's Xbox is basically a stripped down PC running a version of Microsoft Windows.

The console market has steadily developed from simple one-off games (Pong) to fully featured general purpose games systems.

Older game consoles and their software now live on in emulators as they are no longer supported by their manufacturers. However, console makers try to prevent their games from being played on emulators using copyright-like exclusive rights in mask works and a protection of encrypted media created by the United States' Digital Millennium Copyright Act and foreign counterparts.

Note that the "bitness" of current generations (32-bit, 64-bit and 128-bit) were in large part created by the console makers' marketing departments and may have little to do with the actual architecture of the systems.

Video game consoles have created a whole self supporting market for thousands of different video game accessory manufacturers who would otherwise not be able to produce their own video game consoles. These manufacturers have expanded upon the original uses for the game consoles and have even created entirely new ways to both play and use some of our most favorite video game systems.



Note: This is an abridged timeline of North American video game consoles. <timeline> DateFormat=mm/dd/yyyy ImageSize= width:600 height:400 Period = from:01/01/1975 till:12/31/2008 TimeAxis = orientation:horizontal AlignBars = justify PlotArea = width:90% height:90% left:0 bottom:30

Colors =

    id:console       value:rgb(0.9,0.3,0.3)
    id:consolealt    value:rgb(0.3,0.9,0.9)
    id:2ndgen        value:tan1
    id:8bit          value:coral
    id:16bit         value:skyblue
    id:32bit         value:drabgreen
    id:64bit         value:drabgreen
    id:6thgen        value:lightorange
    id:7thgen        value:lavender
    id:line          value:black
    id:liteline      value:rgb(0.3,0.3,0.3)
    id:bg            value:white
    id:projection    value:rgb(0.9,0.9,0.9)


    width:23 textcolor:black align:center
 bar:Atari from:01/01/1977      till:01/01/1986 color:2ndgen text:"Atari 2600"
 bar:Atari from:01/01/1993      till:06/30/1996 color:64bit text:"Jaguar"
 bar:Atari2 from:01/01/1982 till:01/01/1984 color:2ndgen text:"Atari 5200"
 bar:Atari2 from:01/01/1986 till:01/01/1992 color:8bit text:"Atari 7800"
 bar:Nintendo1  from:01/01/1985 till:01/01/1995 color:8bit text:"NES"
 bar:Nintendo2 from:08/01/1982 till:03/01/1984 color:8bit text:"Colecovision"
 bar:Nintendo2 from:08/01/1991 till:01/01/1999 color:16bit text:"SNES"
 bar:NEC1 from:01/01/1978 till:01/01/1984 color:2ndgen text:"Magnavox Odyssey 2"
 bar:NEC1 from:08/01/1989  till:08/01/1992 color:16bit text: "TurboGrafx-16"
 bar:NEC2 from:10/10/1992  till:01/01/1995 color:16bit text: "TurboDuo"
 bar:Nintendo1 from:09/29/1996 till:01/01/2001 color:64bit text:"N64"
 bar:Nintendo2  from:01/01/2001 till:05/01/2005 color:6thgen text:"Gamecube" shift:(-20,0)
 bar:Nintendo2  from:05/01/2005 till:12/31/2006 color:projection text:"(proj.)"
 bar:Nintendo1  from:07/01/2006 till:12/31/2007 color:projection text:"Revolution (projection)"
 bar:SEGA1 from:01/01/1986 till:01/01/1991 color:8bit text:"Master System"
 bar:SEGA2  from:01/01/1989 till:01/01/1997 color:16bit text:"Genesis"
 bar:SEGA1  from:01/01/1995 till:01/01/1998 color:32bit text:"Saturn"
 bar:SEGA2  from:11/28/1998 till:03/01/2002 color:6thgen text:"Dreamcast"
 bar:Sony1  from:09/09/1995 till:01/05/2005 color:32bit text:"PlayStation"
 bar:Sony1  from:01/05/2005 till:12/31/2006 color:projection text:"(proj.)"
 bar:Sony2  from:10/26/2000 till:01/05/2005 color:6thgen text:"PS2"
 bar:Sony2  from:01/05/2005 till:12/31/2006 color:projection text:"(proj.)"
 bar:Sony3  from:04/01/2006 till:12/31/2007 color:projection text:"PS3 (proj.)"
 bar:MS  from:11/15/2001 till:01/05/2005 color:6thgen text:"XBOX"
 bar:MS  from:01/05/2005 till:12/31/2006 color:projection text:"(proj.)"
 bar:MS2  from:12/31/2005 till:12/31/2007 color:projection text:"XBOX 360 (proj.)"

ScaleMajor = gridcolor:line unit:year increment:4 start:01/01/1976 ScaleMinor = gridcolor:liteline unit:year increment:2 start:01/01/1978 </timeline>

See also


Template:Book reference [1] (

External links

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