Well kids, what a first round we had! The memories, they come flooding back. Like it was just last week... That time someone voted for the Atari/Sears Pong. That other time no one voted for the the Coleco Telstar. Good times... Enough of that nostalgic crap! It's time for nostalgic crap! So, a quick recap of the rules: Each week, video game history will be put to the test to see which console or handheld is the greatest. There can only be one! Vote for your favourite and follow it through to the end as we try to determine GBATemp's favourite console/handheld! Consoles and handhelds will face off in brackets comprised of their generation. Because there can only be one, in the event of a tie I will cast a tie-breaking vote. Once a winner has been declared for each generation, the console winners and the handheld winners will face off in individual brackets. Once an ultimate console and ultimate handheld have been chosen, they will face off against each other to see who is the greatest! For a concrete example of the brackets, see the image at the bottom of this post. What're we at now? Ah yes, the second generation. All parties involved in the first generation thought they did quite well (barring the minor and not well known Crash of 1977). But as is the way with electronics, the technology soon got out-dated and a race to release new consoles began. Sadly the general public was not ready for this kind of sales model. People had had the same TV for 10 years, the same record player for longer! Why were they expected to upgrade their video game console so soon? Weren't these things built to last? And it resulted in one thing that everyone should know about this generation: the crash of 1983. This Generation is punctuated by lack of publisher control (companies unable to control the quality and quantity of games that are released), saturation of the hardware market (too many consoles, some competing with their own earlier models), the encroaching home computing boom, and the well-publicised and controversial releases of Pac-man and E.T. - The Extraterrestrial for the Atari 2600. Join me! As we enter the breach. This week's challengers are: -The Atari 2600 While not the first console on the market, this was easily the first to make it to the mainstream! Ya hear that, hipsters? This shit was mainstream, so hands off! The Atari 2600 was released in October of 1977 to the US market and retailed for a whopping $199US. The console sold well initially and made tons and tons of money! Like all things though, the good times didn’t last. The industry met what many people perceive as being market saturation, due to too many consoles being on the market at the same time. And due to unregulated developing the market became flooded with poor quality games. To garner more sales, Atari paid a lot of money to get the rights to have a home version of Pac-Man made for the console. With people hotly anticipating the game’s release, the pressure was on. Sadly the 2600 hardware wasn’t up to the challenge of making a faithful re-creation of the arcade hit, and the game was sorely disappointing. The add insult to injury, the release of ET – The Extraterrestrial in the Christmas of ’83 disappointed and confused consumers. While I will maintain that it was not the worst game ever made, most people found the controls and gameplay inaccessible. Atari began haemorrhaging money and the company came under new management as a result. The Atari 2600 sold 30 million units and its best-selling game was, oddly enough, Pac-Man with 7 million units. -The Fairchild Channel F Fairchild? Channel F? What the hell does it even mean? Released in '76 for $169.95US, The Fairchild Channel F was one of those consoles that was hit hard by the crash in '77 due to the market being flooded with Pong clones. The Channel F is noteworthy because of a unique feature it launched with: a pause button. Imagine playing a game and being able to stop, or 'pause' if you will, the action while you went to eat dinner. Weird, right? The games, which were called Videocarts, and had as many as 26 official games (!!), initially sold for ~$20. That's pretty fantastic. -The Magnavox Odyssey2 This cash register of a machine is the Magnavox Odyssey2 (pictured above is the European model, named the Philips Videopac G7000), successor to Round 1's victor. The console was released in 1978, a year many of you have never even heard of! It's first game was an ambitious Dungeons & Dragons-style game that had a story eerily similar to The Lord of the Rings. Due to the popularity of the Atari 2600, it had no third party support. Despite that chink in the armour, it sole 2 million units! -The Intellivision Ah yes. The Intellivision.Officially released to North American audiences in 1980, this console was noteworthy for having an online component. Online. In 1980. You could download games onto the system, but due to lack of a harddrive (as they were prohibitively expensive and small at the time) the system 'forgot' about the game as soon as you turned the system off. It also had a voice synthesis module for some games (you can imagine how it sounded). By 1982 Intellivision was releasing new models and components and seemed to be doing well, but the market was getting divided more and more by newer, cheaper (sometimes shittier) consoles being released all the time. The Intellivision managed to steal a large chunk of the market from Atari, but untimately lost too much money in '83. It's games are still periodically released under the title 'Intellivision Lives!' by the original programmers who bought up the rights when the company dive-bombed. It's best-selling game was Major League Baseball and the console sold an estimated 3 million units. -The ColecoVision Poor, poor Coleco. No love last round. Will someone love you this time? We can only hope. My fiancé and I routinely play Monkey Acadamy (Konami, 1984) on our ColecoVision because we like to watch the monkeys dance when you get a question right. After fairing well enough in their last outing into the market, the Connecticut Leather Company (Coleco) decided to release a more standardized console in the summer of '82. Can anyone guess how that went? Despite being a wonderful little system (with an odd little controller), and releasing over 140 games in the 2 years it was in production, Coleco could not completely bounce back from the crash of '83. It's best selling game, BTW, was Donkey Kong. -The Atari 5200 What? Another Atari? The only thing you might know about this console is that it is bigger than an original Xbox. Because of the aggressive ad campaign that Intellivision launched against Atari, it decided to release another console. The problem? It wasn't (initially) backwards compatible with 2600 cartridges and that confused consumers. An adapter was later introduced, but that may have been too late. The 5200 was released in the winter of '82. Most noteworthy about this system was the inclusion of an analogue joystick. It reportedly sold close to 1 million units. It's most successful game was the pack-in, Super Breakout. Housekeeping!! Woo! And that's it for this week, folks! After you vote, don't forget to share a nice little anecdote with the community, let us know what you think. Join me next week as we explore the enigmatic Third Generation, which features some consoles you may have actually heard of! (I promise) And remember: vote now, vote often! Check the spoiler window for the upcoming brackets! Warning: Spoilers inside! Who will win? It could be you!* Note: It can't be you.