One of the problems with the console scene is that we keep looking only at the current generation. It is so much fun to look at ALL GENERATIONS ALL AT ONCE. There seems to be a distinct pattern: Nintendo hardware is so much better than other competing hardware.
Let us look through the generations.
Derp, derp, nothing much to see here. Moving on…
Atari 2600s are rock solid even though the joysticks pretty much fall apart and suck. What can you say about this generation?
As far as hardware goes, I would have to give it to the Sega Master System or even Atari 7800 due to the NES hardware issues (western version only of course). However, the NES front slot bending pins can be fixed easily. Why the hell did Sega put the pause button ON the Master System console? Come now! The NES controllers are built like a rock and still work fine today.
PC-Engine hardware SUCKS. There are so many different versions, and many of them lack basic composite output. You have to spend money for an additional ‘turbo booster’ to put over the back of your console to get composite. If you want to play multiplayer, you must buy a multi-tap. The controllers, themselves, are awesome.
Sega Genesis hardware SUCKS. You not only have 3 different models, you have different versions within those models. What a mess! Then you have the 32x and the Sega CD add-ons. Sega Genesis controller is cool, but it is not six button which is necessary for the fighting games.
SNES hardware, from a retro-perspective, absolutely smashes in this generation. Yeah, there is the later crappy SNES models, but SNES hardware is generally the same. There are no funky add-ons for it. The console does composite out from the beginning. You do not have any headache with the SNES console. It purrs happily. And SNES controllers are default SIX BUTTON CONTROLLERS. This is huge, guys. Good luck finding six button controllers for the Turbografx 16 or Sega Genesis without paying a ton of money.
PlayStation breaks apart all the time. Sometimes you have to play them upside down. Ugh.
How has Sega Saturns aged? I haven’t used them as much.
N64, for all its faults, is a rock hard console since it still uses cartridges. The controller has some issues with breaking, but the N64 does its thing without giving you headaches.
How have Dreamcasts aged? Does anyone actually like its strange controller with the wire coming from the wrong end?
How do PS2s age…? We will see. I haven’t heard good things about them.
Original Xboxes are a joke. Xbox couldn’t even survive hardware-wise when it was new.
Gamecubes seem to be extremely resilient little boxes.
Wiis are still about and happy. Though some have issues.
How have PS3s aged? I am not as sure.
Xbox 360s are absolutely terrible with their hardware flaws.
Generation 8 is too early to tell for retro-context.
The point is that, from a retro context, Nintendo does not make crap hardware. Not only do Nintendo games retain value, the hardware is solid.
I really wish gaming discussions would take into effect the console and games’ aging. Most people do not buy a console or game just for today or for a year. We want to keep returning to these products. We see it as a type of investment, not a disposable.
Nintendo consoles are the most future proof hardware of any console hardware maker. Look at the retro market prices.