Guys, so what do you think was the most revolutionary and innovative Nintendo console ever? Think about how revolutionary the console was and how it had an impact of the entire gaming industry and changed the way we played games the most. I'll give my opionion on how innovative and revolutionary each console was.
NES: I guess the NES was quite revolutionary for saving the game industry or making gaming blow up worldwide which is definitely huge, and I think it was revolutionary in terms of the type of gameplay that was possible because before the NES there was just so many garbage games that flooded the market and games that just looked and played poorly overall and pixels that look like they don't represent any specific character in particular which led to the NA video game crash. Comparing the NES games to something like Colecovision or Atari 2600 was night and day and it essentially felt like a leap of 2 generations by how much better the graphics and gameplay was compared to the gen prior, and it was really the first system to get big and amazing story mode type games like Mario and Zelda. I think in terms of games and performance it brought it was quite revolutionary and made the NES blow up gaming. Nintendo also layed the foundation of how a standard video game controller should look by using the revolutionary D-Pad that was invented and patented by Nintendo , which every other major video game console company would use in their controllers even 37 years later. Nintendo also introduced the A and B buttons as well as start and select. Most controllers prior to the NES would use a Joystick and one button which in a lot of ways held games back to being simple arcade high score type games. The NES controller was revolutionary in that regard by introducing the D-Pad and more buttons. So all in all, I think the NES is a great candidate in terms of being revolutionary and innovative.
Gameboy: TBH, while the GB was insanely successful, I don't think it was very innovative or revolutionary in what it did. The GB's hardware at the time was mediocre at best since we've seen full color handhelds such as the Game Gear and Atari Lynx exist right around the Gameboy released. And on the hardware side it didn't really change the game much other than making handhelds popular. I guess Nintendo's/Gunpei Yokoi's philosophy of "Lateral thinking with withered technology" was somewhat revolutionary since it showed developers that you don't need to use Top of the line tech or complex gameplay experiences to do successful, and the Gameboy was obviously far from top of the line tech but still was extremely successful. But other than that I don't really see the GB as all that revolutionary or innovative.
SNES: I think the SNES was innovative and revolutionary in a variety of ways, it introduced the standard ABXY cross button format which is still used by every current major console maker to this day and is utilized by multiple developers as well as additional L and R buttons which is also still used to this day. I also believe from a games perspective the SNES was very revolutionary sort of like the NES but to a lesser extent. We saw games from the NES start as more simple arcade type games with not a lot of content in the story mode to becoming full-fledged and polished gameplay experiences with games having far bigger worlds, much more to explore, and controls/movement that age far better, as many games from the SNES from the art-style to the gameplay still hold up well to this day. It really showed gamers how deep gaming experiences can be for the first time. Also the SNES's ability to produce 3D like visuals with things like Star Fox and DKC really was amazing on 16-bit hardware. While I don't think the SNES is as revolutionary as some of the other consoles I'm gonna mention, I still think its up their in terms of innovation and how revolutionary it was.
N64: While the N64 is far from being Nintendo's most successful console and did have a lot of flaws that would pretty much bite Nintendo in the ass for the next 2 decades, this system is arguably the most revolutionary and innovative in Nintendo's history. It was the first console to allow 4-player multiplayer out of the box which would eventually popularize 4-player games for years to come. It was also the first to include a rumble feature which is a feature that enhances the game for many and it is still used to this day by all console makers. Nintendo also popularized the analog stick, another thing that would become a standard for every modern video game controller and something that is vital for 3D games. Sony looked at both of those N64 features and quickly decided to implement it in their PS1 controller. However, probably the most revolutionary and innovative thing that the N64 did was from a gameplay perspective where Super Mario 64 was the first game to include a free roaming camera and had really polished movement and level design that showed so many developers how 3D games should be made, Zelda OOT also had a lock on enemy feature which would be used by many other games in the future. As Dan Houser of GTA states,"Any 3D games developer who says they haven't used a mechanic not from Mario 64 or Zelda 64 is lying", keep in mind, this is an executive who rarely supports a Nintendo system giving high praise to Nintendo and what they've done to revolutionize gaming on the N64. Not to mention golden-eye 007 was revolutionary for the FPS genre, and so many more. Mario 64 was so influential that once game developers first saw the game, a lot of them scrapped whatever 3D game they were working on to play more like Mario 64. The N64 wasn't entirely successful nor a system that was even close to perfect, but it was extremely innovative, influential, and revolutionary in so many ways that it's also my candidate for the most revolutionary console from Nintendo.
GBA: Same with the original Gameboy, I don't think the GBA was very influential or innovative despite being wildly successful. In fact, you could argue it's even less revolutionary than the OG GB since it didn't really make portable gaming much more popular than it was and a lot of its game library were mainly console ports/remasters from the NES and SNES with not a ton of original games that made the GBA stand out. For its time, while the hardware aged far better than the OG Gameboy with 32-Bit hardware, it still wasn't a huge leap in capabilities in the mobile space I would say, and it didn't even have a backlit screen til the GBA SP released. Two innovative things I would say the GBA did was bring the clamshell design to portable gaming which is awesome since it protects your system much better and makes it smaller and more portable to bring anywhere which is a major appeal to a handheld, the second innovative thing it did was link up to a Gamecube to play GBA games on the TV which essentially was a very poor man's Nintendo Switch but it was still pretty cool, but it required an add-on. Overall, I think the GBA is slightly more innovative and revolutionary than the OG Gameboy but not anywhere near being considered revolutionary for me.
Gamecube: I think most people can agree that the Gamecube was easily the least innovative or revolutionary console in Nintendo's history, as Nintendo didn't really do much of anything with the Gamecube besides making it an extremely standard game console very similar to Sony and Microsoft, and it obviously didn't resonate with people much since it didn't sell all too well, it sort of did feel like a failed attempt at being a clone PS2 from Nintendo. The games on the GameCube didn't really take risks or were anywhere near as revolutionary as the ones found on the N64, and while some were innovative like Sunshine, it wasn't innovative or influential in a good way as people felt like Gamecube games were steps back from what was seen on the N64. The Gamecube controller, while amazing, didn't really add anything special that made it innovative or stand out from what already existed. The Gamecube just also didn't add many features and lacked many features compared to what their competitors were doing such as online play. The hardware was powerful but not anything that hasn't been done. Overall the system just played things very safe and wasn't really innovative at all. The only innovative things I could think of that the Gamecube did was introduce wireless controllers with the Wavebird which is cool as well as the GBA add-on that allowed players to play GBA games on the GC. However, both of those products are sold separately so I won't give the Gamecube as much points. Overall, while I love the Gamecube to death and its still my 2nd favorite console ever, I completely agree that it is easily Nintendo's least innovative and revolutionary console.
Nintendo DS: TBH, I think the DS was quite revolutionary and innovative in a variety of ways and it is also arguably Nintendo's most revolutionary console. Wireless download play was an awesome feature as well as having wireless online multiplayer for a handheld in 2004 was crazy, also included a mic where some games like brain age used it for voice recognition which is a feature not only used by game consoles but even smartphones and tablets, and the DS had this at 2004! Of course, the touch screen of the DS was way ahead of its time as it really felt like the first true tech device that used the touch screen in a good and innovative way, many games were enhanced by the touch screen and added a wide array of gameplay possibilities and touch screen would become a standard in smartphones well after the DS launched, which shows how ahead of its time Nintendo was in adding touch screen, nearly 3 years before the IPhone. The dual screens were also cool and the returning clamshell design was a welcome feature as well. The DSI also added more features such as a camera which some games used, as well as a digital store in 2008. I think the DS is up there as being Nintendo's most revolutionary console.
Wii: Of course, you can't say the word Wii without saying innovation or revolution. As Nintendo's main goal with the Wii was to be completely innovative and create a revolutionary product, hence the codename of the console before it was named Wii was named Nintendo Revolution. The Wii was so innovative that it convinced 100 Million Soccer Moms and non gamers to get one thanks to the motion control gimmick, and I'll say even to this day it's revolutionary as many VR devices use the same technology or same concept as the Wii. The Wii's motion controls were so revolutionary that Microsoft and Sony decided to create their own answer to the Wii's motion control ability with the Xbox Kinect and PS Move despite both companies rejecting the idea back in 2001. While motion control gaming is no where near as big anymore, a lot of games still have an option of motion controls and many gamers to this day love to play certain games with motion controls, also like I said VR isn't VR without motion controls at this point. I'm sure if the Wii never came out, we likely would have never seen how beneficial and big motion controls could've been in gaming. Many games on the Wii were enhanced by the motion controls such as Mario Galaxy as well as Metroid Prime and others, I will say many games sucked with motion controls on the Wii as well, but the few games on the Wii felt made for motion controls and I feel like that gimmick alone helped shape the way gaming is. Outside of motion controls however, I will say the Wii didn't have much going for it innovation wise, its hardware and features were easily outclassed by its competitors, but I think the mere fact the Wii had motion controls makes it one of Nintendo's most revolutionary and innovative products and changed the way Nintendo views gaming today.
3DS: IMO, the 3DS wasn't all that innovative and in a lot of ways felt very safe in terms of taking risks. The main innovation that Nintendo was trying to push with the 3DS was obviously the "glasses free 3D" since during the late 2000s and early 2010s there seemed to be an ongoing 3D hype train surrounding the Tech industry with certain phone and TV companies attempting to implement 3D visuals in their tech hard, thinking it was the next big thing. However, once people began trying out glasses free 3D for the first few minutes they realized it isn't all that impressive and too distracting so 3D wasn't that impressive to people anymore. Many people who played the 3DS would just slide the 3D slider all the way down since it isn't a very intriguing feature for them, it felt more like a distraction and hindrance for the gameplay experience. The 3D feature wouldn't return in future products such as the Wii U or Switch pretty much showing that 3D wasn't anything revolutionary and just a small gimmick, as most tech companies completely abandoned using glasses free 3D due to disappointing results. Other than the 3D, the 3DS just felt like a souped up DSI, with no major innovative features added that wasn't already on the DS. I guess Streetpass was sort of cool but I'm sure most other smart device apps do the same thing. Some games such as Super Mario 3D Land benefitted from the 3D, however most games didn't use it at all and the 3D ended up not changing the game at all. So while I'll give the 3DS some points for still introducing glasses free 3D to a portable device and I'll rank it higher than GBA and GB in terms of innovation, I still don't consider it very revolutionary since 3D never really took off with the 3DS or even after and the 3DS didn't have much innovations going for it outside of the 3D, felt too similar to the DS and didn't really shake up the industry.
Wii U: While the Wii U was a colossal flop, I will say it was quite and innovative and revolutionary system in a lot of ways despite only 10 people buying it. The obvious main innovative feature of the Wii U was the Gamepad and its second screen. I will say the Gamepad was quite innovative in many ways, it introduced and NFC reader which introduced a new toy line Amiibo which interacted with your games in interesting ways and would go on to sell 40+million amiibos and Amiibos when they first released gave Nintendo some much needed attention and money since obviously the Wii U wasn't doing any of that. I will say the Wii U's second screen was quite revolutionary because it pretty much paved the way for Nintendo to make a full on hybrid system the Switch in the future, which would end up taking the industry by storm. I also thought the Wii U's second screen concept was awesome since it really felt like the first taste of being able to play a full console like game on a semi-portable game device, I also thought the idea of asymmetrical gaming was cool like that Mario chase game in Nintendo land was awesome. While the Wii U was a flop, I will say it was an important console for first paving the way of what would become the Switch. I wouldn't say it's Nintendo's most innovative console, it is innovative to say the least.
Nintendo Switch: TBH, while it may be a little early to say the Switch is the most revolutionary and innovative console ever since we have to see how well the Switch ages in several years and see how tech evolves after the Switch. It's hard to argue against the Switch being Nintendo's most innovative and revolutionary console. Obviously the hybrid console/portable gaming concept is far from new as we've seen stuff like the Nvidia Shield Tablet having the ability to play console games on the TV and on the go, I really feel like Nintendo is the first one to really nail that concept home by making it so seamless where all you need to do is just take out or instert your Switch into a dock to automatically Switch modes, before the Switch it was never really as seamless. Also, I could honestly say the Switch is really the first time in history where I feel like I'm getting 1-1 current gen console ports on a portable device, before the Switch there was never really an affordable portable device that could play nearly the exact same CURRENT gen console like game, as most handhelds understandably had more simple and watered down experiences compared to what you found on consoles at the time. I know some may argue the PSP or PS VITA but the PS VITA couldn't really handle even complex PS3 games and wasn't even close to getting PS4 ports, Borderlands 2 on PS Vita shows that and the PSP also wasn't at that level. I feel like the Switch is the first affordable portable device that could play nearly the exact same console AAA games found on PS4 such as Doom and the Witcher 3, and it doesn't look so much more downgraded that I feel like I'm missing out as much. That's one thing revolutionary I believe the Switch has done. Also detachable joy con controller are also extremely innovative by allowing local multiplayer anytime anywhere and the amount of features in the Joycons such as HD-Rumble(Which would later be used by PS5), motion controls, and more really make the Switch stand out. It is the most versatile console of all time, it's to the point where I honestly don't know how Nintendo could top the Switch since Nintendo really did and added everything they could in terms of the hardware side of things. I believe it could also be named Nintendo's most innovative console.