The Friday question: what classic piece of games hardware would you love to own?

2012 is set to be a year of new consoles, with the launch of Vita and Wii U and the possibility of an Xbox 360 follow-up at E3. But amid all this obsession over new machines, what are the devices we cherish from the past?

We haven’t done a Friday question for a while, so let’s remedy that right now. This year is going to be a big one for games hardware. There’s the launch of the PS Vita next month and the arrival of the Nintendo Wii U at some point later on. Plus, everyone is expecting Microsoft to announce its successor to the Xbox 360 at the E3 event in June.

It’s exciting – and it’s an excitement that tends to get lost behind the pervading notion that smart phones are going to kill dedicated gaming machines. I now have a PlayStation Vita for review and it’s a beautiful piece of consumer electronics engineering – stylish, highly specced, wonderfully ergonomic – it is all about the fetishistic qualities of good games hardware.

But what single console, arcade machine or handheld device would you like to own from the annals of interactive entertainment history, and why? I don’t mean just for the games it runs, I mean for the aesthetic appeal of the object – just the look and feel of the thing; I mean something you could almost display as an object d’art. If you’re into that kind of thing.

I’ve provided three of my own choices below. Let’s have some of yours in the comments section!

The Vectrex, 1982

This marvel of early eighties consumer electronics is utterly unique, with its vector-based graphics technology and its series of plastic overlays, which added colour to the otherwise monochrome visuals. I love the arcade-style portrait display, and the formative joypad, with its four-button layout. It looks like it belongs in a seventies sci-fi movie.

Star Wars, 1983

Yet more Vector graphics! But the beauty of this machine is the intricate cabinet design, with its gorgeous illustrations and the authentic instrument panel design inside. The sound is incredible for the era too, with a lively rendering of the soundtrack and clear digitised speech. Despite a cacophony of competing machines, I could always hear the Star Wars attract mode as soon as I wandered into any of the old coin-op arcades along Blackpool’s golden mile… Anyway, check out the video above, I like the way the guy sort of stalks the machine, like he’s about to murder it.

The blue debug PlayStation, 1994

These were littered around the offices of Future publishing when I first joined Edge back in 1995 and they seemed impossibly arcane and glamorous. This is where I would have played the likes of Ridge Racer and Resident Evil for the first time. I also like the chunkier, squarer design of the original PlayStation, before the slim re-model. I liked the array of obscure ports and connection features on the back as well. I’m not sure I like them quite as much as the chap in this YouTube video, though…


Game culture

Keith Stuart © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds is updated frequently per day with all latest games consle news.

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply