With the main hot topics in the gaming industry being the recently revealed Xbox One and the PlayStation 4; it would seem like a great time to look back at two consoles that helped pave the way to get us where we are today. Within the last 20 years, two consoles have help lead their companies to where they are today and without these two, they might not still be around in the modern gaming industry. These two influential consoles being Nintendo’s N64 console and Sony’s PlayStation 2 console. Each console although in a different generations helped us get the industry to where it is today by their own means. So which console was more influential?
What makes a console influential to the current gaming industry? Does the amount of consoles sold mean it was a better console or just that it was more advertised? Do the games help sell the console or does the console help sell the games?
In order to decide which console was more influential, we must look at multiple aspects. How advertising help sell, the consoles themselves and features that the individual console had, console exclusive games, multiplayer (online or local), and lasting legacy. Remember each console is from a different generation so competition between the two was limited or non-existent.
So how did advertising help sell each console? Advertising has always been a major aspect in the sale of not only video games but in every other industry. In comparing the two industries each console had their own idea on how to advertise their product. Nintendo used ad’s that showed other humans as the focal point as well as showing some game play; whereas the PS2’s original ads were rather confusing never actually showing anything specific to the console. So it would appear that the N64 had the better commercial strategy.
The next aspect to look at is the consoles themselves. The N64 was the only console during the 5th Generation to allow 4 players on at one time. The Nintendo 64 was also the last console to use cartridges whereas all other consoles during the time were using compact discs. The PlayStation 2 on the other hand was built to do more than just gaming; it also had the ability to play DVDs as well as CDs. The PlayStation 2 also allowed the use of USBs which would allow players to charge devices as well as view stuff from the USB. The PlayStation 2 had built-in ports to allow Memory Cards to be inserted; whereas the Nintendo 64 memory cards had to be plugged in to a controller, which would make it difficult to play games that required an alternate device to be used in the controller’s slot. In terms of hardware the Nintendo 64 was better equipped, whenever it seemed to be lacking in one aspect it would adjust to meet the demands, such as the development of the rumble pack and the transfer pack. In 1997, the Rumble Pack came out in competition to the original PlayStation’s Dual Shock controller; it was a single attachment, cheaper to buy rather than having to purchase a new controller. In the console aspect, it would seem that the PS2 was more influence due to the fact that it was not solely for gaming but allowed the ability for alternate uses. Although the Nintendo 64 gave us the aspect of 4 players at one time it seemed to fall behind in the technological basis but in doing so would attempt to update with the times with accessories.
Then there is the matter of console exclusive games. Even though the PlayStation 2 did have a vast library of games and genres; it lacked in comparison of exclusivity. A vast majority of games on the PS2 were accessible on the competitions library making a specific console no longer a major issue in order to play most tiles. The best-selling title on the PlayStation 2 was Grand Theft Auto: San Andres, which was not a Sony exclusive title. The Nintendo 64 in the aspect of exclusivity was vastly superior due to the fact that all titles were N64 exclusives. The top-selling game for the Nintendo 64 was Super Mario 64 that sold over 11 million copies. In terms of games sold the PlayStation 2 sold more copies of their exclusive titles but the number of exclusive titles was less than that of the N64. Some key exclusive titles for the PlayStation 2 are: Final Fantasy 10, Final Fantasy 12, Kingdom Hearts 1 & 2, ATV Off-road Fury, Socom: U.S Navy SEALS, God of War, Shadow of the Colossus and Gran Turismo 3 & 4. Most of these titles helped sell the console but in terms of lasting effects most of these titles and franchise did not reemerge with the current generation of consoles. The Nintendo 64’s exclusive games seemed to do the opposite with multiple remakes of the games emerging in the current generation. If they weren’t remade then the franchise continued in some way in the next. The top-selling titles for the Nintendo 64 were: Super Mario 64, Mario Kart 64, GoldenEye 007, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Super Smash Brothers, Pokémon Stadium, Star Fox 64, Donkey Kong 64 and The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. Each console is known for their work with 3rd party developers as well. In terms of exclusivity, it would appear that the N64 would appear to be the better of the two.
The next aspect to look at is multiplayer. Multiplayer may be a common thing now a days but in the past it was vastly different. During the 5th generation, the Nintendo 64 and other console games were locally played with friends or family. Vast changes occurred in the 6th generation were online gaming became a feature meaning games could be player with complete strangers over the internet as well as the local play. In terms of local play the N64 seems to have the edge allowing for 4 players at one time through the console itself. The PlayStation 2 on the other hand originally only allowed 2 players Co-Op until the release of the multi-tap. In long-lasting terms both consoles made a long-lasting impact on the industry, the N64 with the matter of 4 player co-op on the console and the Ps2 with its online play, although in terms of online play the original Xbox was superior and the PS2 had to release an add-on in order to compete with Xbox.
Finally there is the aspect of lasting legacy. Although the Nintendo 64 is held in the hearts and minds of gamers with such nostalgia it seems to lack in comparison to the PlayStation 2. What makes the PlayStation 2’s legacy so impacting is the factor of competition. The PS2 is still the highest selling console of all time with 155 million consoles sold in the last 13 years. The PS2 was also able to last longer in the gaming industry even with its sequel being in the market place; whereas the N64 only last for 6 almost 7 years selling almost 33 million consoles. Financial the PS2 was the winner with how much money it brought in but for sentimental purposes the N64 will most likely remain one of the best, if not the best console of the last 20 years. Although technology has changed so vastly, the matter of sentimental purpose the N64 seems to hold that title. Ultimately it’s up to the readers to decide which they think was more influential all we can do as journalists is provide our personal insight and facts. So leave a comment down below of which you think was more influential and why.
Nintendo 64’s First Ad
PS2’s First Ad