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Video Game Console Museum
Gaming
Written by Danrok   
Tuesday, 10 October 2006 10:58
Article Index
Video Game Console Museum
1972 - Magnavox Odyssey
1977 - Atari 2600
1982 - Donkey Kong (Handheld)
1983 - Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)
1984 - Atari 7800
1986 - Sega Master System
1988 - Sega Mega Drive
1990 - Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES)
1994 - Sony PlayStation
1996 - Nintendo 64
2000 - PlayStation 2
2001 - Nintendo GameCube
2001 - Xbox
2004 - Sony PlayStation Portable
2005 - Xbox 360
2006 - Sony PlayStation 3
2006 - Nintendo Wii
All Pages

Introduction

Welcome to AOA's video game console museum.

Use the index on the right to view the various game consoles.

We will be adding more items over time... 

game consoles 


Magnavox Odyssey

This was the world's first video game console, it was first launched in the USA in 1972, then in Japan in 1975.

This console was quite different to modern machines, it was largely controlled by analogue circuits, although it was digital to some extent because the game logic was in DTL (Diode-Tranistor Logic). The unit was powered by batteries, which was perhaps not such a great idea.

It did have some similarities to modern consoles. The games were on removable circuit boards, so quite similar in use to a game cartridge. The game boards were no more than a set of jumpers which would alter display signals, to suit the game.

The Odyssey probably has more in common with non-computerised traffic lights than with a modern digital games console. 

The most notable game would have been the Shooting Gallery which involved a light gun and some coloured plastic overlays for the TV screen. The gun would detect a light source if pointed at a target. The console was not capable of keeping a score, this would have to be done by the player using pen and paper.

Image
Magnavox Odyssey

Image
Shooting Gallery light gun


Atari 2600

First launched in the USA in 1977, the 2600 was the first console to employ game cartridges. The unit was originally known as the Atari VCS.

It was sold with tow joysticks and paddle controllers. The price in the US was $199. It soon became immensely popular. The processor was a MOS 6507.

Pac Man was the most played game on the 2600.

Image
Atari 2600

Games 

Some of the games included:

  • Breakout
  • Donkey Kong
  • Pac Man
  • Pitfall!
  • Space Invaders
  • RealSports Tennis

Image
Pac Man
Image
Space Invaders


Nintendo Donkey Kong (Handheld)

In 1982, Nintendo produced a handheld console which featured the Donkey Kong game. This toy was highly successful and most likely provided Nintendo with the foundation for its future success in the game console market.

The game had two LCD screens and a "Time & Watch" feature.

Donkey Kong


NES

The NES was first available in Japan in 1983, then in the US in 1985. It had a Ricoh 8-bit processor with MOS 6502 core running at 1.79 MHz on the NTSC model and at 1.66 Mhz on the PAL version. Main system RAM was 16K, with extra memory provided on some game cartridges. The NES had 5-channel sound.

The console sold about 60 million units world-wide with Super Mario Bros being the most popular game.

Image
The NES
 

Accessories

Controller Pad

NES controller
NES controller
 

Games 

A vast number of games were available, including:

  • Adventure Island
  • Advance Dungeons & Dragons (series)
  • Afterburner
  • Airwolf
  • Back to the Future
  • Batman
  • Blades of Steel
  • Bubble Bobble
  • Castlequest
  • The Chessmaster
  • Commando
  • Defender II
  • Donkey Kong
  • The Empire Strikes Back
  • Final Fantasy
  • G. I. Joe
  • Gauntlet
  • The Hunt for Red October
  • Ice Hockey
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
  • Jaws
  • Kung Fu
  • Last Ninja
  • Lode Runner
  • Mad Max
  • Mario Bros.
  • NARC
  • NFL Football
  • Overlord
  • Pac-Man
  • Platoon
  • Q-Bert
  • Robocop
  • Shinobi
  • Star Wars
  • Tetris
  • Ultima V
  • Winter Games
  • WWF (series)
  • Yoshi
  • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

Lemmings for NES
Lemmings game box


Atari 7800

The Atari 7800 was first released to a test market in 1984, then fully launched in 1986.

The console was developed by the General Computer Corporation for Atari. It had a customised 6502C processor and software was provided on removable cartridges. 

The 7800 was not all that successful due to the Nintendo NES which was already dominating the market at the time.

Atari 7800
Atari 7800

Games 

Some games for the 7800 include:

  • Asteroids by Atari
  • Commando by Capcom
  • Dig Dug by Atari
  • F18 Hornet by Absolute
  • Joust by Atari
  • Mario Bros.
  • Pole Position II by Namco
  • Winter Games by Atari


Sega Master System

In June 1986 the Sega Master System was first sold in the USA, then it went on sale in Japan in 1987. This unit is an 8-bit, third generation console.

Processor

  • Zilog Z80A 8 bit running at 3.54 Mhz (PAL/SECAM) or 3.57 MHz (NTSC)

Graphics

  • Texas Instruments TMS9918
  • 32 colours maximum (can be programmed to display 64 colours)
  • Resolutions: 256 x 192 pixels, 256 x 224 pixels (and 256 x 240 in PAL/SECAM only).

Sega Master System
Sega Master System
 


Sega Mega Drive / Sega Genesis

This 16-bit console was first released in Japan in 1988, the USA in 1989 and in Europe in 1990. It used a 32-bit Motorola 68000 processor running at 7.61Mhz (PAL) or 7.67MHz (NTSC), with a 16-bit external databus. Main system memory was 64K in size, with a further 64K of video memory and 8K of secondary RAM used by the Z80 (also used as main memory in compatibility mode).

It also had a second processor, usually the Zilog Z80, which handled sound in Megadrive/Genesis mode. When the Master System adapter was added to the system, the 68000 was halted, and the Z80 became the main processor in the system.

The sound generation was provided by two sound systems. Yamaha's YM2612 provided the FM sounds (use the same techniques as the AdLib soundcard), and the SN76489 provided basic three channel tones plus white noise. The SN76489 was also used in the Master System, and was probably used to ensure compatibility with Master System games.

On later models, the system would verify a loaded game to ensure that a certain code was present, this was to prevent unlicensed games from running on the machine. The games were supplied on either CD-ROM or cartridge.

Image
Sega Mega Drive
 

Peripherals

Meganet / Modem

In Japan a modem accessory was available, this allowed connection to Meganet - an online gaming service, and to online banking services.  Meganet was not all that popular and only a few compatible games were released.

Image
Sega Modem
 

Sega CD / Mega-CD

In 1991, Sega launched an add-on for the Mega Drive, the Sega CD or Mega-CD. This device allowed play back of audio CDs and loading of games from CD-ROMs. The system had no copy protection because CD burners did not exist at the time, it did have region protection however.

The Sega CD had another 68000 processor built-in, this worked in tandem with the main system's 68000 when playing games. 

World wide sales of this peripheral were 6 million units.

Image
The Mega-CD
 

Games & Software 

Some of the games for the Sega are: 

  • 688 Attack Sub
  • After Burner II
  • Alien 3
  • Batman
  • California Games
  • Chuck Rock
  • Darius II
  • DJ Boy
  • Double Dragon
  • Exodus
  • ESPN Baseball
  • F22 Interceptor
  • Gauntlet 4
  • Ghostbusters
  • Hardball
  • James Pond
  • John Madden
  • Lemmings
  • Monopoly
  • Mortal Kombat
  • NBA Jam
  • Outrun 2019
  • Pac-Mania
  • Populous
  • Rambo 3
  • The Smurfs
  • Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Strider
  • Terminator 2: Judgement Day
  • Warsong
  • WWF RAW
  • X-Men
  • Zool

Poster

Image
Sega Genesis poster
 


Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES)

The SNES was first released in Japan in 1990, in the US in 1991 and Europe in 1992. It sold 49 million units worldwide. In Japan it was known as the Super Famicom.

The SNES CPU is a customised 16-bit Ricoh called a 5A22, running at 3.58MHz. On-board RAM size is 128K. The video memory is 64kB of SRAM.

Image
Super Nintendo Entertainment System, console and controller

Image
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island (box cover)

Image
Super Empire Strikes Back (box cover)


Sony PlayStation

The PlayStation was first made available in Japan, by Sony, in 1994. It was launched in the US and Europe in 1995.

The main processor is a MIPS R3000A-compatible (R3501) 32-bit RISC running at 33.8688 MHz. It has a 1024 byte data cache.

Main memory is 2MB of RAM and 1MB of video RAM. Sound memory is 512KB. The PlayStation memory cards have 128KB on an EEPROM, these allow for the saving of game data.

Games are supplied on CD-ROMs. 

Image
Sony PlayStation

Image
Playstation logo
 

Internal Components 

motherboard
The PlayStation motherboard

External Links

www.playstation.com Main official website 


Nintendo 64 (N64)

The Nintendo 64 or N64 for short, was first launched in Japan and the USA in 1996. Then in the UK in 1997.

Processor

  • NEC VR4300 RISC CPU based on a MIPS R4300i 64 bit processor
  • clocked at 93.75 MHz
  • 32 bit data bus
  • 4.6 million transistors

Graphics

  • SGI 64 bit RCP clocked at 62.5 Mhz
  • can process 100,000+ polygons per second

Audio

  • 16 bit stereo (maximum)
  • 100 channels
  • 48 KHz sampling rate

Memory

  • 4 MiB of RDRAM, upgradeable to 8 MiB
  • clocked at 500 MHz 8 bit
N64
Nintendo 64
 
N64 logo
The Nintendo 64 logo

External Links

www.nintendo.com Offical pages for the N64

n64.icequake.net Nintendo 64 Tech, technical guides on the N64


Sony PlayStation 2 (PS2)

Sony launched the PlayStation 2 in Japan in March 2000, then in the USA in October 2000 and in Europe & Australia in November 2000. The PS2 superceeds the PlayStation.

In September 2004, Sony released a new slim sized version of the PS2. This newer version has a built-in Ethernet port. 

106.23 million units have been shipped world-wide.

Processor

  • EmotionEngine 128 bit CPU running at 294 Mhz
  • Core: MIPS R5900 64 bit
  • FPU co-processor running at 6.2 gigaflops (single precision 32 bit floating point)
  • Bus speed is 3.2 GB/s

Graphics

  • "Graphics Synthesizer" running at 147 Mhz
  • 4MB embedded DRAM video memory
  • 16 bit and 24 bit colour modes
  • Polygon rendering speed: 75 million polygons per second

Audio

  • SPU1 & SPU2, the SPU1 is the main processor running at 8MHz
  • 48 channels
  • 44.1KHz or 48KHz sample rate
  • Dolby Digital 7 channel surround sound output

Memory

  • System memory: 32MB RDRAM

Storage & Drives

  • Two memory card slots for 8MB cards
  • One CD/DVD drive supporting PS1 & PS2 CD-ROM, DVD, PS2 DVD-ROM (4.7GB)
  • Optional: PS2 HDD Internal hard disk with 40GB capacity

Networking

An optional network adaptor allows for online gaming.

PS2 Photo Gallery 

PlayStation 2
Sony PlayStation 2 (original version)

PlayStation 2
The later slim version of the PS2

PS2 HDD
The PS2 HDD

External Links

www.ps2newz.net PS2-Scene


Nintendo GameCube

The GameCube first went on sale in Japan in September 2001, then in the US and Canada in November 2001. It was launched in Europe and Australia in May 2002.

The GameCube is very distinctive in appearance being cube shaped and brightly coloured.

Processor

  • IBM "Gekko" CPU  based on PowerPC 750CXe (RISC) clocked at 485 MHz
  • 1.3 GB/s bus speed

Graphics

  • ArtX/Nintendo "Flipper" clocked at 162 MHz
  • 2 MB of embedded frame buffer memory
  • 1 MB of texture cache memory
  • 24 bit colour

Audio

  • Custom Macronics DSP running at 81 MHz
  • 48 KHz sampling
  • Dolby Digital Pro Logic II

System Memory

  • Main memory: Approx. 24 MB of 1T-SRAM running at 324 MHz
  • Secondary memory: Approx. 16 MB of DRAM running at 81 Mhz

GameCube
The Nintendo GameCube
 


Xbox

Microsoft first launched the Xbox in the USA in Novemeber 2001, then in Japan in February 2002 and in Europe in March 2002. This is the first fully Microsoft branded console. The launch price in the USA was $299.

24 million Xboxes have been sold world-wide. 

Processor

  • Intel Mobile Celeron clocked at 733 Mhz
  • 133 Mhz FSB

Graphics Processor

  • nVidia/Microsoft NV2A, developed for the Xbox
  • 233 Mhz clock speed
  • GPU design is a blend of the nVidia GeForce 3 and GeForce 4
  • 4 pixel pipelines with 2 texture units per pipeline

Audio

  • nVidia MCPX processor (Soundstorm NVAPU)
  • 64 3D channels, 256 stereo voices
  • MIDI DLS2 support
  • AC3 (Dolby Digital) 

Memory

  • 64MB (shared) of DDR SDRAM clocked at 200 MHz

Storage & Drives

  • 2-5x DVD
  • 8GB hard drive (newer models have a 10GB drive formatted to 8GB)
  • 8MB memory cards for game saves

Networking

The Xbox can connect to the Xbox Live gaming service over the internet when connected to a suitable router using the Ethernet port. 

  • 10/100 BASE-T Ethernet
  • Four USB ports

Image
Microsoft's Xbox

Image
Inside the Xbox

Accessories & Peripherals

The official controller is shown in the photo below. 

Xbox controller
Xbox game controller

Image
Xbox DVD remote control
 

Games & Software

Halo 2
Best selling game Halo 2
 

Homebrew Software

A range of homebrew programs are available for the original Xbox, some are listed here:

  • Atari7800X: an Atari 7800 emulator
  • DOSXbox: an x86 DOS emulator
  • Dega-X: a Sega Master System emulator
  • PCSXbox: a PlayStation 1 emulator
  • xSnes9x: a Super Nintendo emulator

External Links

http://sourceforge.net/projects/xbox-linux/  All you need to run Linux on an Xbox.

Help & Support

Need some assistance with an Xbox? Ask in AOA's gaming forum


Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP)

The PSP was first released by Sony in Japan in December 2004, then in the USA in March 2005.

This handheld console features UMD movie playback, games, music, photo viewing and Internet access.

As of March 2006, 20 million PSPs have been shipped. 

Processor 

  • MIPS R4000 based CPU
  • Runs at 1MHz to 333 MHz (normally runs at 222 MHz when running software)

Graphics Processor

  • Runs at 166 MHz
  • 2 MiB embedded memory
  • 512 bit interface

System Memory

  • 32 MiB RAM plus 4 MiB embedded DRAM

Storage & Drives

  • Memory Stick Duo slot
  • UMD read-only drive
  • Optional: add-on hard drive

Netwroking & Ports

  • Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11b
  • USB 2.0
  • IrDA
  • IR Remote (SIRCS)

Built-in Display

  • 4.3" 16:9 wide screen TFT LCD
  • 480 x 272 pixels
  • Maximum brightness: 200 cd/m3 (adjustable)

Weight

  • 270g 

Sony PSP
Sony PlayStation Portable

PSP UMD
A PSP UMD disk


Xbox 360

Xbox 360 logo
Xbox 360 logo
 

Microsoft's Xbox 360 console was first launched in November 2005 in the USA and Canada. As of June 2006, 5 million units have been manufactured.

Xenon Processor

The main CPU is a Xenon chip made by IBM, it is based on IBM's PowerPC and has three cores. It is also known as an XCPU.


CPU specifications:

  • 3 cores, each running at 3.2 Ghz
  • each core has 32KB of L1 instruction cache and 32KB of L1 data cache
  • 90nm process with 165 million transistors
  • 5.4 GHz Front Side Bus
 
 
Image
IBM Xenon CPU

Xenos GPU

The graphics processing unit is a Xenos which is made by ATI.

The Xbox 360 supports HDTV up to 1920 x 1080 in progressive mode. PAL and NTSC are also supported. 

GPU Specifications and features:

  • 48 unified shader units
  • vertex shading
  • pixel shading
  • 500 Mhz clock speed
  • 4x FSAA
  • z-buffering
  • alpha blending

Memory

The Xbox 360's memory is produced by either Samsung or Infineon Technologies.

  • 512MB of GDDR3 running at 700Mhz.
  • 128bit

Audio

  • Dolby Digital, six channels
  • Over 256 channels
  • 32 bit processing
  • supports 48 kHz 16 bit sound
  • games use Microsoft's XMA sound format
  • MPEG-2 supported for DVD videos
  • VC-1 and WMV supported for streaming video

Networking

The Xbox 360 can connect to the Xbox Live service over the Internet using a suitable router. 

  • 100BASE-TX RJ45 Ethernet port
  • Three USB ports

Drives & Storage

  • Optional: 2.5" 20GB 5400 rpm hard drive
  • 12x DVD drive, read speed is 16.0 MB/s
  • games are provided on 7GB DVD-ROMs and are region coded
  • Optional: External HD-DVD drive 

Image
Xbox 360 with contoller pad

Peripherals & Accessories 

Image
Xbox 360 game pad controller

Image
Xbox 360 HD-DVD player

Software & Games

Image
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter - screenshot

Known Issues

  1. Overheating: The Xbox 360 has a high power consumption and may overheat and crash unless the unit is well ventilated during use. Some owners have fitted their own cooling solutions to avoid overheating issues.
  2. Scratched Discs: If the unit is moved whilst a disc is inserted, the disc may become scratched. Some owners report scratched discs, despite having not moved their machines.
  3. Machine Recognition Failure: On occasion the system reports "This game can only be played on an Xbox 360" when a disc is inserted, despite the fact the unit is an Xbox 360.

Internal Links

Custom case for Xbox 360

Game: Gears of War  

External Links

www.xbox.com Official Xbox website

blogs.msdn.com/xboxteam/ Official development blog

www.xbox-scene.com Xbox-Scene

www.teamxbox.com Team Xbox


Sony Playstation 3 (PS3)

Last updated: 2006-10-15 

The long awaited Playstation 3 is first due to be released in Japan, USA and Canada in November 2006. It will be on sale in Europe and Australia in March 2007.

Initially, there will be two versions available, one with a 20GB hard disk the other with a 60GB disk.

The cheaper unit is expected to retail at $499 in the US and £375 in the UK.

Processor

The Sony will be equipped with the new IBM Cell processor, which has been specifically developed for the PS3.

  • Cell CPU running at 3.2 Ghz, a.k.a Cell Broadband Engine
  • comprised of 9 cores
  • 218 GFLOPS at single precision, about 26 GFLOPS at double precision

Graphics

Supports HD-TV in a variety of modes, plus standard TV sets via analog AV connector. 

  • RSX which is an nVidia G70 (NV47) GPU
  • 256MB of GDDR3 VRAM runniing at 650MHz
  • GPU can access system memory

Audio

  • Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1, LPCM 7.1 & AAC
  • handled by the main Cell processor
  • optical digital output connector
  • analog AV output connector

System Memory

  • 256MB of Rambus XDR DRAM

Networking

The PS3 will connect to Sony's PlayStation Network Platform (PNP) which is under development at this time. The PlayStation Network will offer online gaming and PlayStation Store — a shopping service. Access to PNP is free of charge.

  • Gigabit Ethernet port
  • Four USB ports
  • Bluetooth 2.0 EDR

Storage & Drives

  • 20Gb or 60GB 2.5" SATA150 hard drive
  • Optical drive supporting many CD and DVD formats and Blu-Ray
  • Memory stick, CompactFlash and SD/MMC media supported

PlayStation 3
the Sony PlayStation 3 console

PS3 controller
A PS3 controller

PS3 main menu
Photo of the PS3 main menu

Peripherals & Accessories

  • Keyboard and mouse to be supported 

Software & Games

FEAR Factor
F.E.A.R. Factor


Nintendo Wii

The Nintendo Wii game console is due to be released in the USA in November 2006, and elsewhere in December 2006.

It will be sold for $250 in the US and £179 in the UK.

Wii logo
Wii logo

Processor

  • PowerPC CPU codenamed "Broadway"
  • 90nm process
  • 729 MHz clock speed

Graphics

  • ATI "Hollywood" running at 243 Mhz

Audio

  • Dolby Pro Logic II Stereo 

Memory & Storage

  • 88MB of 1T-SRAM system memory (64MB main and 24MB secondary)
  • 512MB of internal flash memory (expandable using SD cards)
  • Slot loading drive accepts 12cm Wii discs and 8cm Game Cube discs

Networking & Ports

The Wii can connect via wireless to a Nintendo DS. 

  • 802.11b/g wireless built-in
  • Two USB 2.0 ports 

Nintendo Wii
The Nintendo Wii

Nintendo Wii
A Wii on display
 

Game Controller

Wii-mote
The Wii-mote
 

Games & Software

The standard Wii package will be bundled with Wii Sports which features tennis, golf, bowling and boxing.

Nintendo have anounced that the Opera web browser will be made available for download and use on the Wii. It will be offered free of charge until June 2007.

Red Steel
Screenshot from Red Steel on the Wii

External Links

wii.nintendo.com The official Wii homepage at Nintendo.com

 
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