The Best Retro Game Consoles

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Retro gaming has made a triumphant return, captivating gamers with the nostalgia of classic video game consoles and their iconic controllers.

The allure of retrogaming has even permeated the world of esports, as enthusiasts compete using vintage systems.

In 2024, the market is flooded with options, making it challenging to choose the best retro console for your gaming needs.

In this article, we’ll explore Game Rant’s top picks for the best retro game consoles and provide a guide on how to select the perfect system for your retrogaming adventures.

Key Takeaways

  • The Best Retro Gaming Consoles in 2024 Include the Evercade EXP, Super NES Classic Edition, NES Classic Edition, Sega Genesis Mini, and Miyoo Mini Plus+
  • The Nintendo Switch Lite and Steam Deck Offer Versatile Options for Playing Retro Games Alongside Modern Titles
  • When Choosing a Retro Console, Consider the Games You Want to Play, Controller Compatibility, and Pairing With a Budget Gaming TV for the Best Experience
  • Retro Game Consoles Are Older Systems That People Enjoy for Their Classic Libraries and Nostalgic Appeal, With the PS3 Starting to Be Considered Retro
  • The Author Is Most Excited for the Retro-Inspired RPG Announced at the June 2024 Nintendo Direct Showcase, Which Blends Classic Pixel Art and Modern Features

Game Rant’s Picks for the Best Retro Game Consoles in 2024

a colorful collection of classic and modern retro game consoles arranged neatly on a wooden shelf.

Here is the introductory paragraph for the subsection “Game Rant’s Picks for the Best Retro Game Consoles in 2024”:

As a lifelong gamer, I’ve had the chance to play on many of the top retro game consoles over the years, from the classic Nintendo Entertainment System and Sega Genesis to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Capcom’s lineup of arcade machines.

But which retro consoles stand out as the best in 2024?

I’ve rounded up my top picks, including both re-released versions of classic consoles and modern handhelds that emulate retro gaming, to help you decide which ones are worth adding to your collection.

Evercade EXP

Here are 2 paragraphs on the Evercade EXP for the subsection “Game Rant’s Picks for the Best Retro Game Consoles in 2024”:

The Evercade EXP ranks among the best retro gaming consoles of 2024 thanks to its excellent game library spanning the 8-bit and 16-bit eras. With HDMI output and a sleek handheld design, it provides a high-quality retro experience on your TV or on the go.

While it doesn’t include Nintendo 64, Neo Geo, or Sega Genesis Mini games, the Evercade EXP’s collection of classic Atari, Intellivision, and arcade titles still makes it a standout choice for retro enthusiasts seeking a curated selection of iconic games.

The Best Consoles of Each Generation, Ranked

Here are 2 paragraphs on the topic “The Best Consoles of Each Generation, Ranked” for the subsection “Game Rant’s Picks for the Best Retro Game Consoles in 2024”:

When ranking the best consoles of each generation, I have to start with the Atari 2600. As one of the earliest home gaming systems, it laid the groundwork for the industry with its wood-grain design, wired joysticks, and library of iconic games like Pitfall and Asteroids that still hold up today.

For the 16-bit era, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System gets my vote for its timeless first-party titles and strong third-party support. And among more recent retro-style consoles, the Evercade VS stands out by combining the convenience of an emulator with the authenticity of playing on original hardware.

Miyoo Mini Plus+

Here are 2 paragraphs on the Miyoo Mini Plus+ for the subsection “Game Rant’s Picks for the Best Retro Game Consoles in 2024”:

The Miyoo Mini Plus+ packs a surprising amount of retro gaming power into its compact handheld design. With a bright IPS screen, responsive controls, and support for games from the NES, SNES, Sega Genesis, and even the PlayStation 1 era, it’s an impressive all-in-one solution for playing classic titles on the go.

While it may not have the same brand recognition as the NES Classic Edition or the Super NES Classic Edition, the Miyoo Mini Plus+ still deserves a spot on any retro gamer’s list thanks to its versatility and performance. Its support for Sega CD games is a particularly nice touch that helps set it apart from other retro handhelds.

As I see it, the consoles that make the cut for the best retro gaming devices in 2024 include:

  • Evercade EXP
  • Super NES Classic Edition
  • NES Classic Edition
  • Sega Genesis Mini
  • Miyoo Mini Plus+

Atari 2600+

The Atari 2600+ brings the nostalgia of the original Atari 2600 to modern times with enhanced features. While it may not have the same library as the Dreamcast or PlayStation Classic, the inclusion of an SD card slot allows for easy expansion of its game selection, including classics like Adventure and Yars’ Revenge.

Although it lacks the name recognition of consoles like the NES Classic Edition with its lineup of hits like The Legend of Zelda, the Atari 2600+ still delivers a mega dose of retro gaming fun. Its faithful recreation of the original console’s controllers and wood-grain design makes it a standout choice for fans of early console gaming.

Nintendo Switch Lite

Here are two paragraphs on the Nintendo Switch Lite for the “Game Rant’s Picks for the Best Retro Game Consoles in 2024” section:

The Nintendo Switch Lite may not be a dedicated retro console like the PlayStation 2 Classic or a DIY option like a Raspberry Pi-powered machine, but its ability to play classic games from the NES and SNES libraries earns it a spot on this list. With a comfortable form factor reminiscent of the Game Boy and an authentic D-pad and joystick setup, the Switch Lite feels great for retro gaming on the go.

Compared to pricier options like the Steam Deck, the Switch Lite delivers serious retro bang for your buck. Its extensive catalog includes beloved franchises like The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros, Metroid, and even iconic fighting games like Street Fighter II, making it a versatile pick for fans of classic Nintendo titles.

Surprise Switch Online Update Adds 2 Nintendo 64 Games

Here are two paragraphs on the topic “Surprise Switch Online Update Adds 2 Nintendo 64 Games” for the “Game Rant’s Picks for the Best Retro Game Consoles in 2024” subsection:

While Sony’s PlayStation family and devices like the Analogue Pocket provide compelling options for playing retro games, Nintendo surprised fans with an update to its Switch Online service that added two classic Nintendo 64 titles. This unexpected move further cements the Switch’s status as a top retro gaming machine in 2024.

The newly added N64 games, which include the legendary fighting game Street Fighter II and the iconic action-platformer Mega Man 64, look stunning on the Switch’s vibrant, pixel-perfect display. With these additions joining the already impressive lineup of NES and SNES games, Switch Online has become an even more comprehensive retro gaming solution.

Neo Geo Mini

Here are two paragraphs on the Neo Geo Mini for the “Game Rant’s Picks for the Best Retro Game Consoles in 2024” section:

The Neo Geo Mini delivers a premium retro gaming experience in a compact package, with its faithful recreations of classic SNK titles like Metal Slug and Fatal Fury. While its price point is higher than some other mini consoles, the inclusion of an analogue stick and clicky arcade buttons make it feel more authentic than playing Streets of Rage on a Sega Genesis Mini.

Compared to the extensive RPG libraries of systems like the SNES with games like Final Fantasy and Super Metroid, the Neo Geo Mini focuses more on arcade-style action. But for fans of fighting games and side-scrolling brawlers, this stylish little console is hard to beat.

Capcom Super Pocket

Here are two paragraphs on the Capcom Super Pocket for the subsection “Game Rant’s Picks for the Best Retro Game Consoles in 2024”:

The Capcom Super Pocket offers a curated selection of classics from one of gaming’s most iconic publishers. With built-in titles like Street Fighter II, Mega Man, and Final Fight, it provides hours of retro fun in a pocket-sized package that’s perfect for on-the-go gaming.

While it may not have the same breadth of games as the Sega Saturn or the ability to play Sonic the Hedgehog like the Game Gear, the Capcom Super Pocket still stands out with its focus on delivering authentic arcade experiences. Its responsive controls and vibrant display make it a joy to play these timeless Capcom hits.

The key details are:

ConsoleNotable GamesStrengths
Capcom Super PocketStreet Fighter II, Mega Man, Final FightAuthentic arcade experiences, responsive controls, vibrant display
Sega SaturnBroader game libraryVariety of titles
Game GearSonic the HedgehogIconic Sega franchise

The Capcom Super Pocket carves out its own niche among the best retro gaming devices of 2024 by focusing on delivering pixel-perfect ports of Capcom’s most beloved arcade classics. It’s a must-have for fans of the company’s groundbreaking titles.

SEGA Genesis Mini 2

Here are two paragraphs on the SEGA Genesis Mini 2 for the subsection “Game Rant’s Picks for the Best Retro Game Consoles in 2024”:

The SEGA Genesis Mini 2 improves upon its predecessor in every way, with a library that expands beyond the 16-bit era to include games from the SEGA CD and 32X add-ons. Titles like Mortal Kombat and Ecco the Dolphin look stunning in 1080p over HDMI, rivaling the graphical fidelity of later consoles like the PlayStation 3.

With twice as many games as the original Genesis Mini and the convenience of save states accessible via USB, the Genesis Mini 2 offers a compelling package for retro enthusiasts. While it may not have the massive open world of Elden Ring, this tiny console still packs a nostalgic punch that cements its place among 2024’s best retro gaming devices.

Steam Deck

Here are two paragraphs on the Steam Deck for the subsection “Game Rant’s Picks for the Best Retro Game Consoles in 2024”:

The Steam Deck may be designed for modern PC gaming, but it also excels as a retro machine thanks to its extensive emulation capabilities. With the power to run games from systems like the PlayStation 4, SNK Neo Geo, and GameCube, the Steam Deck opens up a vast library of classic titles.

Compared to dedicated retro consoles like the Polymega or the Atari Flashback series, the Steam Deck offers unparalleled versatility. Its combination of a high-resolution screen, precise controls, and the ability to install custom emulators makes it a top choice for playing retro games in 2024:

ConsoleEmulation Support
PlayStation 4Yes
SNK Neo GeoYes
PolymegaDedicated retro console
Atari FlashbackDedicated retro console

Excited to jump into the world of retro gaming? Let’s explore how to choose the perfect console for your nostalgia-filled adventures.

How to Pick the Best Retro Game Console

a colorful collection of various retro game consoles and cartridges displayed on a wooden shelf.

Here is the introductory paragraph for the subsection “How to Pick the Best Retro Game Console”:

Choosing the right retro console comes down to several key factors.

First, consider the specific games you want to play, whether it’s Streets of Rage 2 on the Mega SG or enjoying Halo with surround sound on the Xbox One.

Compatibility with your existing gamepad and controllers is also important.

And if you plan to game on your TV, make sure to pair your retro console with one of the best budget gaming TVs of 2024 for an optimal experience.

The Best Budget Gaming TVs in 2024

Here are two paragraphs on the best budget gaming TVs in 2024 for the “How to Pick the Best Retro Game Console” subsection:

When shopping for a budget gaming TV to pair with your retro console, look for models with low input lag and good color accuracy to enable the best retro gaming experience. OLED TVs tend to have the fastest response times, which is crucial for timing-sensitive games. Just be aware that OLEDs can be prone to image retention or burn-in with static graphics from older games.

It’s also important to consider the types of video signals your retro console outputs and ensure the TV you choose has the appropriate inputs. Some newer budget TVs may lack legacy ports, so a TV with backward compatibility can make it easier to connect older consoles. Spending a bit more on a TV with a good upscaler can help retro console graphics look their best on modern 4K screens.

Let’s dive into the most frequently asked questions about retro game consoles. Arm yourself with knowledge before making your nostalgia-fueled purchase!


a colorful collection of various retro gaming consoles and cartridges spread across a wooden table.

Here is the FAQ subsection for “The Best Retro Game Consoles”:

If you still have questions about retro gaming consoles, I’ve got you covered.

From defining what qualifies as a retro console to the most popular systems of all time, I’ll answer some common queries.

I’ll also touch on topics like whether the PS3 is considered retro now and share my most anticipated retro-inspired game from the recent Nintendo Direct.

So let’s dive in and explore the world of classic gaming, whether you prefer playing on a CRT television or a modern 4K display with your favorite controller.

I’ll even discuss options for those who want to turn their Android device into a retro arcade cabinet.

What are retro game consoles?

Retro gaming consoles are older systems, typically from the 1970s through the early 2000s, that people still enjoy playing today for their classic libraries and nostalgic appeal.

While the exact definition of “retro” varies, most consider consoles from the Atari 2600 and NES eras up through the PlayStation 2 to be retro systems.

Some key characteristics of retro consoles include simpler graphics and sounds compared to modern systems, wired controllers, and game cartridges or discs as the delivery format.

Newer “retro” consoles often come preloaded with a selection of games.

Is the PS3 a retro console?

The PlayStation 3, launched in 2006, is starting to be considered a retro console by some definitions.

As of 2024, the PS3 is nearing two decades old.

For many younger gamers, the PS3 was their introduction to iconic series like Uncharted and Demon’s Souls.

While the PS3’s HD graphics and Blu-ray drive were cutting-edge at the time, its cell processor architecture has made it a challenge for game developers to emulate.

This has increased interest in playing PS3 games on original hardware.

So while not everyone considers it retro yet, the PS3 is certainly getting there.

What are the most popular game consoles of all time?

According to sales figures, the most popular game consoles of all time include: 1.

PlayStation 2 – 155 million units sold 2.

Nintendo DS – 154 million 3.

Game Boy/Game Boy Color – 118 million 4.

PlayStation 4 – 117 million 5.

PlayStation – 102 million 6.

Nintendo Wii – 101 million 7.

Xbox 360 – 86 million 8.

Game Boy Advance – 81 million 9.

PlayStation 3 – 87 million 10.

Nintendo Entertainment System – 61 million Keep in mind these numbers include sales from the height of these consoles’ popularity and do not necessarily reflect the size of the retro gaming community today.

But this list does speak to the enduring popularity of systems like the PS2 and NES.

Which Nintendo game from the June 2024 Nintendo Direct Showcase are you looking forward to the most?

As a retro gaming fan, the title that caught my eye from the June 2024 Nintendo Direct Showcase was Super Mario Bros. Wonder.

This new 2D platformer draws inspiration from the NES classic while introducing fresh power-ups and level designs.

The vibrant, hand-drawn art style and catchy music that calls back to memorable Mario tunes has me excited to experience this modern take on the series’ origins.

I’m especially intrigued by the new abilities, like a drill power-up shown in the trailer, and how they will expand on the familiar run-and-jump gameplay.

Super Mario Bros. Wonder looks like it will be a delightful tribute to Nintendo’s most iconic franchise that still pushes the series forward – perfect for retro enthusiasts and new players alike.

I can’t wait to play it when it launches in Fall 2024!

What are retro game consoles?

Here are two paragraphs on “What are retro game consoles?” for the FAQ subsection:

Retro game consoles are the classic systems of yesteryear, from the Atari that popularized home gaming with titles like Missile Command to the handheld Nintendo Game Boy that let you take your favorite platformers on the go. These vintage consoles laid the groundwork for the video game industry and continue to be celebrated by gamers young and old.

For many, retro consoles evoke a strong sense of nostalgia, transporting them back to couch multiplayer sessions with siblings or late nights trying to beat that next boss. Modern re-releases like the SNES Classic Edition and niche handhelds like the Capcom Super Pocket aim to recapture that magic for today’s gamers, offering curated selections of beloved retro titles.

Is the PS3 a retro console?

Here are two paragraphs on whether the PS3 is a retro console:

As of 2024, the PlayStation 3 is starting to enter retro territory. While it may not have the same vintage appeal as playing Metal Slug on a Neo Geo or classic PC games on a home computer, the PS3’s hardware and software library are becoming more dated by the year.

Compared to the Xbox 360 which used a more common CPU and GPU architecture from Intel and AMD, the PS3’s unique Cell processor has proven challenging to emulate. This has driven demand for original hardware to play exclusive titles.

What are the most popular game consoles of all time?

Here are two paragraphs on the most popular game consoles of all time for the FAQ subsection:

Some of the best-selling consoles ever include the PlayStation 2, which featured iconic games like Final Fantasy VII and a built-in DVD player that made it a versatile entertainment machine even for non-gamers. Nintendo’s Game Boy and DS handhelds also rank highly, thanks to their innovative dual-screen designs and expansive libraries of hits like Metroid and Star Fox.

Home consoles like the NES, which established Nintendo as a gaming powerhouse, and the PlayStation 4 with its stunning HD graphics and smooth menu interface have each sold over 100 million units globally. While technical specs are one factor, it’s clear that having the right games, whether on a TV-based system or a portable laptop-style device, is key to a console’s success.

Which Nintendo game from the June 2024 Nintendo Direct Showcase are you looking forward to the most?

Here are two paragraphs on the Nintendo game I’m most looking forward to from the June 2024 Nintendo Direct Showcase:

As a long-time fan of classic Atari games, the announcement of a new fantasy RPG inspired by retro gameplay immediately caught my attention during the Nintendo Direct. The brief glimpses of pixelated visuals and turn-based combat in the trailer transported me back to late nights spent exploring 8-bit dungeons, except now I can enjoy an epic adventure with modernized mechanics and a sprawling story.

I’m particularly excited to experience this RPG using a pair of high-quality headphones to fully immerse myself in the chiptune soundtrack. The developers mentioned plans for a deep storyline that respects player privacy, so I’m looking forward to getting lost in a retro-style quest without worrying about my personal data:

  • Classic pixel art graphics reminiscent of Atari favorites
  • Turn-based battle system with modern enhancements
  • Engrossing fantasy narrative that values player privacy
  • Immersive chiptune music best enjoyed with quality headphones

With its blend of old-school gaming charm and contemporary features, this upcoming Nintendo RPG has quickly become my most anticipated title from the June 2024 showcase. I can’t wait to begin my journey when it releases next year!