The concept of console generations isn’t new. In the 80s video game journalists spoke of them as “waves.” The first wave was Odyssey, Pong, and the dedicated consoles. The second wave was the era dominated by Atari 2600 and Intellivision. The third wave was ColecoVision and Atari 5200 SuperSystem.
Of course, the great crash occurred during the first year of the third wave consoles, and the American console market shrank by 97 percent, and remained dormant until 1985 when Nintendo launched Famicom in America as the Nintendo Entertainment System.
It wasn’t until around the mid-1990s that authors and journalists began to write about the history of video games and started to frame consoles as being part of generations. A lot of the misconceptions about gaming history comes from these early “video game historians.” There are a lot of famous mistakes, like the role that E.T. played in the crash which has been corrected numerous times, and most recently by the fantastic documentary Atari: Game Over.
One of the more glaring errors that still endures is that the generation of “third wave” consoles was never accounted for and instead they are just lumped in with the second generation. It seems like common sense that the Atari 2600 and its successor, 5200, are not in the same generation, yet here we are. As such, the designations of the console generations are off by one number starting after the second generation, and every gaming historian knows it.
The idea of classifying handhelds in terms of console generations came even later, towards the end of the 1990s as competitors to Nintendo’s Game Boy began to emerge. Instead of recognizing that handhelds and consoles have had separate, distinct evolutionary paths, they were tied in with various console generations, which causes a few problems.
The following is a proposal on how handhelds can be uncoupled from console generations can be classified relative only to one and another.Add a comment