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The focus of this category is on home video game consoles, handheld game consoles, microconsoles, and dedicated game consoles, as well as the games that are made for them.

A home video game console is a device that was designed primarily for home gamers, rather than for use in commercial gaming establishments like arcades, but larger than handheld game consoles and microconsoles.

The history of video game consoles is generally sorted into eight generations, which are defined by the dominant game console in their marketplace. These changes usually represented a shift in technology. Significant shifts in the marketplace leader signaled a new generation and were often spurred by an advance in technology.

The generations are as follows: first (1972-1980), second (1976-1992), third (1983-2003), fourth (1987-2004), fifth (1993-2005), sixth (1998-2013), seventh (2005-2017), and eighth (2012-present).

The first generation began with the Odyssey series by Magnavox, which was marketed between 1972 and 1978, and ending with the Computer TV-Game in 1980, which was the final console in the Color TV-Game series by Nintendo, and released only in Japan. Other first-generation consoles included the Atari Home Pong, Coleco Telstar, and the BSS 01, a German console.

Most of the first-generation video game consoles were dedicated consoles, which suggests that they were limited to one or more games that were built-in to the system, and could not support additional games distributed by cartridge, disc, or download. Unlike later consoles, most of these systems were not true computers but were powered by a hardwired game logic.

The second generation of video game consoles saw several popular models. Fueled by the Golden Age of Arcade Video Games, many second-generation consoles were ports of popular arcade games. The generation is thought to have begun with the release of the Fairfield Channel F in 1976 and included the Atari 2600, the Magnavox Odyssey, Mattel's Intellivision, the Emerson Arcadia 2001, the ColecoVision, the Atari 5200, and the Vectrex, which was soon purchased by the Milton Bradley Company. Another notable second-generation console was the Bally Astrocade. The second generation saw the video game industry crash, that began in late 1983 and caused a major disruption in the North American market.

Also known as the 8-bit era, the third video game console generation began with the release of the Nintendo Family Computer, which later became the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), and the Sega SG-1000. The Atari 7800 was sold from 1986 to 1992. The North American video game crash ended with this generation.

The 16-bit era of game consoles coincides with the fourth generation, and included the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Mega Drive/Genesis, TurboGrafx-16, Philips CD-i, and Neo Geo AES.

The fifth generation is variously known as the 32-bit era, the 64-bit era, or the 3D era, and includes video game consoles and handheld game consoles produced from October 1993 to May 2002. The best-selling console was the PlayStation, followed by the Nintendo 64, and the Sega Saturn. Others included the 3DO, Atari Jaguar, Amiga CD32, PC-FX, FM Towns Marty, and Apple Bandai Pippin.

The sixth generation (128-bit era) of game consoles began in late 1998 with the release of the Sega Dreamcast, and was dominated by the Sega Dreamcast, Sony PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube, and Microsoft Xbox.

Thus far, the seventh generation has included the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and the Nintendo Wii, each introducing a new breakthrough in console technology. The seventh-generation has also seen several re-releases of modern versions of classic game consoles, often in smaller form.

A handheld game console is a small, self-contained video game console with a built-in screen, game controls, and speakers, all in one unit. Mattel introduced the first of these, Auto Race, in 1976, and other companies made their own single-game, handheld consoles. The first handheld game console with interchangeable game cartridges was the Milton Bradley Microvision, which was released in 1979, but the best-selling handheld console has long been the Nintendo Game Boy.

A microconsole is a form of video game console that is designed to connect to televisions and to play games downloaded from an application store, such as Google Play. These are rather new in the market, the first being the MicroConsole, released by OnLive, a cloud gaming startup, in 2010.

The focus of this category is video game consoles, whether home consoles, handheld consoles, or microconsoles, and on the games that are designed to play on them.



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