The best gaming consoles from the old school era are exactly what the doctor ordered for feeling nostalgic. They are like a time travel machine; plug one in, and you’re transported back in time to your childhood.
Nowadays, there are several options available. Any of the best old school gaming devices from the 1980s and 1990s have been brought back in some way or another, which ensures you can relive your glory days regardless of whether you played on SEGA, Nintendo, or PlayStation consoles.
The only drawback of old school gaming is the sheer abundance of options. That’s where we can help. We have compiled a selection of the best old school gaming devices that every fan should have in their catalogue. We’ve also looked at discounts, deals, and promotions to help you save money along the way.
Always ensure to review which games are included on your preferred console before purchasing them. Any of the better old school game consoles only have 20 – 30 games on them, so some of your favourites could have fallen by the wayside. To stop failure, do your homework; however, this piece can help!
The Best Old School Gaming Devices
1. SEGA Genesis / Mega Drive Mini
Suppose you were a SEGA fan back when Sonic had just landed, and the Biker Mice From Mars was only sighted on TV. In that case, you’re in luck to have experienced some of the best games at the time: the SEGA Genesis Mini (or Mega Drive as it was called in the United Kingdom) is fantastic. From its adorable dinky console with an available cartridge slot for ‘blowing away ashes’ to its genuine packaging, this is a device that excels at the little details. It also has original menu music composed by Yuzo Koshiro, a 16-bit age legend, and produced with era-appropriate tools.
And there is the issue of value for money. The Genesis Mini promises more value for money than others, thanks to 42 all-time classic games (and details on the importance of each one). It is a well-executed throwback to another era that will catch you right in the feels.
2. Super NES Classic
With the NES Mini Classic’s popularity and sheer desire, a 16-bit sequel was almost unavoidable. And now we are here – yet again, Nintendo has outdone itself by delivering a library of contentious games inside a loyal, charming copy of the original SNES.
Aside from being extremely nostalgic, these games reflect some of the finest of the era; they are classics that profoundly changed the industry. If it’s Super Street Fighter 2 or Mario World, these games have influenced gamers for generations. They’re not museum items. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Punch-Out, and Yoshi’s Island! are only a few examples. They are also as entertaining today as they were during the SNES’s heyday.
They’ve done their best work here due to a variety of show choices. This includes blurry CRT emulation to crisp HD output and rewind and pause options, and a slew of fun Nintendo Easter eggs. Although the controller cord length remains a problem – it’s longer, yet also nowhere near long enough for living room set up – it’s difficult to imagine a more slickly packed, densely concentrated dose of old school goodness.
3. PlayStation Classic
The original PlayStation occupies an intriguing position in the landscape of gaming evolution. It was one of the first and undoubtedly the most popular consoles to advance the 3D boundaries, moving past the flat 2D planes of gaming’s rudimentary beginnings and ushering in a transition that would shape the medium’s future.
It’s legendary for some, and rightly so: games such as Resident Evil and Final Fantasy VII, all of which are featured on the PlayStation Classic, are among the most revered titles in gaming. They have influenced the gaming world for years to come.
While several high-profile omissions, such as Grand Turismo or Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, are disappointing, Sony has done an outstanding job selecting a slate of games that is diverse enough to reflect one of the most diverse libraries in console history. The whole package is a perfect nostalgic journey. This is not just for those trying to relive the mid-90s but also for anyone who has played the never-ending stream of sequels of these games.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen several seriously shady old school handheld emulators floating across the internet. Even the Evercade is an officially sanctioned product that speaks to our old school sensibilities.
The Evercade is not like the other old school consoles on this list. It comes with game compilation cartridges that can be purchased separately to build a nice retro collection. At about $20 / £15 a cartridge, these packaged collections contain six to twenty games from Atari, Technos, Namco, Data East, Interplay, Piko Interactive, Mega Cat Studios, among others.
The PSP-sized display is beautifully clear and crisp, and you can choose between the original 4:3 aspect ratio and stretching it out to 16:9 if you want to use the full screen. The portable console feels amazing in hand, even though the button setup for Mega-Drive/Genesis games requires some getting used to.