Senior woman plays video games with joystick on a laptop

Understanding the Hardware Behind Your Favorite Gaming Consoles

Video games burst onto the scene back in 1972 with Atari’s Pong. What was groundbreaking technology at the time has been completely dwarfed by today’s lineup of consoles. Indeed, technology has come a long way in the last five decades, and with it emerged groundbreaking innovations in the world of video games. What video game consoles have achieved in the last couple of years was once deemed impossible, but the sheer power of modern consoles has undoubtedly become a testament to modern-day ingenuity.

And while we’ve already discussed the intricacies of the consoles’ software, it’s time to take a closer look at what makes these stellar machines tick. Today, we’ll break down the hardware of the most iconic and beloved game machines from the Famicom to today’s newest devices. Read on to know more about the hardware that has powered your favorite gaming consoles throughout the history of video games.

Game Boy

Nintendo Game Boy Color

One of the most pivotal moments in video games was when the home console made the transition to a handheld device. The console responsible for kicking off this shift was the Nintendo Game Boy. But how was this even possible? Well, you have printed circuit boards (PCB) to thank for that. Since its debut back in 1990, Nintendo has been working on ways to make smaller and smaller circuit boards, all while improving on their capabilities in order to make better games.

Nowadays, a lot of electronic devices do not run on the same PCBs that the Game Boy used. Rigid-flex PCBs combine hardboard and flexible circuits to allow for folding or flexing while retaining the shape and offering support for the device. These are relatively slim as well. This is why experts say that flex PCBs will grow in prominence in the future, especially since consumers are demanding more of their gadgets. This has forced manufacturers to create ways of making smaller devices while maintaining all the power that we expect from modern gadgets.


PSX Console with Controller

Video game graphics have come a long way since the Game Boy. These days, it is harder and harder to differentiate video game graphics from real life. And while we can easily go on and on about the current hardware of this generation’s consoles, we can’t talk about this without first discussing where it all started. The Game Boy may be the pioneer for handheld gaming, but Sony was the driving force when it came to 3D graphics.

The original Sony PlayStation releases back in 1994 and was designed by Ken Kutaragi. The PlayStation is the first console of its kind as it pushes out 1.5 million polygons per second, which is why it delivers 3D visuals that rival by none at the time of its release. The PlayStation paved the way for the new generation consoles and it would be safe to say that it changed the landscape of gaming forever.


Xbox console

Nowadays people from all over the world can play together through various online gaming platforms. This wasn’t the case during the early years of console gaming. This all changed with the introduction of the Xbox and the Xbox Live service back in November 2002. And while the Dreamcast was the first one to come up with an online gaming service, the Xbox refined it and introduced it to a mainstream audience.

So how did they do this? Well, Microsoft figures out that to be able to host a vast number of players they would have to need a stable broadband connection and the storage space of a hard disk drive that would help handle the strains of massively multiplayer online games. Due to these requirements, the Xbox releases with a built-in Ethernet port and is useful for only broadband internet. This ended up working out for Microsoft and the Xbox as it propelled Xbox to the forefront of online console gaming.

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