History of video game consoles (fourth generation)

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The fourth generation of video game consoles began on October 30, 1987. The fourth generation (also called the 16-bit generation) began with the release of Nippon Electric Company's (NEC) PC Engine. Although NEC released the first fourth generation console, this generation was dominated by Nintendo and Sega. Nintendo became the largest worldwide market share in the fourth generation. Sega was also successful in this generation. It began a new franchise, Sonic the Hedgehog. This was done so Sega could compete with Nintendo's Mario series of games. Many other companies released consoles in this generation. However, none of them were successful, except for Neo Geo from SNK.

The first handheld game console released in the fourth generation was the Game Boy, on April 21, 1989. The Game Boy became the most popular handheld game console. The Game Boy's screen had no color. However, many of its leading competitors did. Three major franchises were introduced for the Game Boy. These include, Tetris, Pokemon and Kirby. Many of the popular games in this generation originally started in the 8-bit generations. These titles include Mario, Metroid, Zelda, Star Fox, Kirby, Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, Seiken Densetsu (Secret of Mana), Sonic the Hedgehog, Donkey Kong, Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat and Mega Man X.

Home video game consoles[change | edit source]

Comparison[change | edit source]

Name PC-Engine/TurboGrafx-16 Mega Drive/Genesis Super Famicom/Super Nintendo Entertainment System Neo Geo AES
Manufacturer NEC/Hudson Soft Sega Nintendo SNK
Console PC-Engine-Console-Set.jpg
TurboGrafx-16-Console.jpg
Sega-Genesis-Mod2-Set.jpg Super-Famicom-Console-Set.jpg
SNES-Mod1-Console-Set.jpg
Neo-Geo-AES-Console-Set.jpg
Launch prices (USD) US$199.99 US$189.99 US$199.99 US$649.99 (Gold version)

US$399.99 (Silver version)

Release date JP October 30, 1987
NA September 1, 1989
EU 1990
JP October 29, 1988
NA September 15, 1989
EU November 30, 1990
JP November 21, 1990
NA August 23, 1991
EU April 11, 1992
JP July 1, 1991
NA 1991
Media HuCard (card-shaped cartridge)

CD-ROM (Turbo CD add-on)

Cartridge

CD-ROM (Mega-CD add-on)
Data card (Power Base Converter add-on)

Cartridge

Magnetic disc (Japan only)[1]

Cartridge

Data card (Europe/Japan)[1]

Best-selling games Bonk's Adventure[2] Sonic the Hedgehog (15 million)[3] Super Mario World, 20 million (as of June 25, 2007)[4] Samurai Shodown
Backward compatibility No Sega Master System (using Power Base Converter) Game Boy (using Super Game Boy) No
Accessories (retail)
CPU HuC6280A (modified 65SC02)
1.79 or 7.16 MHz
Motorola 68000
7.67 MHz (7.61 MHz PAL)
Zilog Z80
3.58 MHz
Nintendo-custom 5A22
(based on 65C816)
3.58 MHz (3.55 MHz PAL)
Motorola 68000
12 MHz
Zilog Z80
4 MHz
Memory 8 KiB work RAM
64 KiB video RAM
64 KiB main RAM
64 KiB video RAM
8 KiB audio RAM
128 KiB main RAM
64 KiB video RAM
64 KiB audio RAM
64 KiB main RAM
74 KiB video RAM
2 KiB audio RAM

Other[change | edit source]

Worldwide sales[change | edit source]

Console Units sold
Super Famicom/Super Nintendo Entertainment System 49.10 million[6]
Sega Mega Drive/Sega Genesis 40 million [cn 1]
PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16 10 million[12]
CD-i 570,000[5]

List of handheld consoles[change | edit source]

Console Game Boy Atari Lynx Sega Game Gear TurboExpress
Manufacturer Nintendo Atari Sega NEC
Image Game-Boy-Original.jpg Atari-Lynx-I-Handheld.jpg Sega-Game-Gear-WB.jpg TurboExpress-Front.jpg
Launch price ¥12,500[13]
US$89.95[14]
US$189.99 ¥14,500
US$149.99
A$155
US$299.99[15]
Release date Japan April 21, 1989
United States August 1989
European Union 1990
United States September 1989
European Union 1990
Japan October 6, 1990
European Union April 26, 1991
United States April 26, 1991
Australia 1992
Japan November 16, 1990
United States 1991
Units sold 118.69 million (as of December 31, 2009),[16] including Game Boy Color units[17] 5 million (as of July 30, 2007)[11] 15 million (as of July 30, 2007)[11] 1.5 million[11]
Media Cartridge Cartridge Cartridge Datacard
Best-selling games Tetris, 35 million (pack-in / separately).[18]

Pokémon Red, Blue, and Green, approximately 20.08 million combined (in Japan and the US) (details).[19][20]

Unknown Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Bonk's Adventure
Backward compatibility No(Original Cartridges compatible with later models) No Sega Master System (using Cartridge Adapter) No

Other[change | edit source]

Popular games[change | edit source]

Notes[change | edit source]

  1. United States: 20 million,[7] Rest of the world: 15 million,[8] Tec Toy: 3 million,[9] Majesco: 2 million,[10] Sega Nomad: 1 million[11]

References[change | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Santulli, Joe (2005). Digital Press Collectors Guide. USA: Digital Press. ISBN 978-0-9709807-0-0.
  2. "Bonk's Adventure Virtual Console Review - Wii Review at IGN". Wii.ign.com. http://wii.ign.com/articles/749/749638p1.html. Retrieved 2012-08-15.
  3. Sonic the Hedgehog GameTap Retrospective Pt. 3/4. Event occurs at 1:21.
  4. Edge (2007-06-25). "The Nintendo Years". The Nintendo Years. Next-Gen.biz. p. 2. http://www.next-gen.biz/features/nintendo-years. Retrieved 2007-11-26.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Blake Snow (2007-07-30). "The 10 Worst-Selling Consoles of All Time". GamePro. p. 2. Archived from the original on 2007-05-08. http://web.archive.org/web/20070508035815/http://www.gamepro.com/gamepro/domestic/games/features/111823.shtml. Retrieved 2008-10-25.
  6. "Super NES". Classic Systems. Nintendo. Archived from the original on 2007-07-14. http://web.archive.org/web/20070714072607/http://www.nintendo.com/systemsclassic?type=snes. Retrieved 2007-12-04.
  7. Stephanie Strom (1998-03-14). "Sega Enterprises Pulls Its Saturn Video Console From the U.S. Market". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/1998/03/14/business/international-business-sega-enterprises-pulls-its-saturn-video-console-us-market.html?pagewanted=1. Retrieved 2010-01-02.
  8. "Chronology of Sega Video Games 1952-1993". http://www.islandnet.com/~kpolsson/segavid/index.htm. "Total North American sales in its lifetime: 14 million. Total world sales: 29 million."
  9. Théo Azevedo (2012-07-30). "Vinte anos depois, Master System e Mega Drive vendem 150 mil unidades por ano no Brasil" (in Portuguese). jogos.uol.com.br. http://jogos.uol.com.br/ultimas-noticias/2012/07/30/vinte-anos-depois-master-system-e-mega-drive-vendem-150-mil-unidades-por-ano-no-brasil.htm. Retrieved 2012-08-06.
  10. Alucard em Quarta-feira (2005-08-31). "A História do Mega Drive" (in Portuguese). gamehall.uol.com.br. http://gamehall.uol.com.br/site/a-historia-do-mega-drive/. Retrieved 2008-03-06.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Blake Snow (2007-07-30). "The 10 Worst-Selling Handhelds of All Time". GamePro.com. Archived from the original on 2010-02-01. http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http://www.gamepro.com/gamepro/domestic/games/features/125748.shtml&date=2010-02-01+16:12:33. Retrieved 2010-01-02.
  12. Blake Snow (2007-07-30). "The 10 Worst-Selling Consoles of All Time". GamePro. p. 1. Archived from the original on 2007-05-08. http://web.archive.org/web/20070508014611/http://www.gamepro.com/gamepro/domestic/games/features/111822.shtml. Retrieved 2008-10-25.
  13. "Game Boy History". Nintendo. http://www.nintendo.co.jp/nom/9903/history/index.html. Retrieved 2009-03-27.
  14. Douglas C. McGill (5 June 1989). "Now, Video Game Players Can Take Show on the Road". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/1989/06/05/business/now-video-game-players-can-take-show-on-the-road.html.
  15. Melanson, Donald (2006-03-03). "A Brief History of Handheld Video Games". Engadget. http://www.engadget.com/2006/03/03/a-brief-history-of-handheld-video-games/. Retrieved 2009-01-27.
  16. "Consolidated Sales Transition by Region" (PDF). Nintendo. 2010-01-27. Archived from the original on 2010-02-14. http://www.webcitation.org/5nXieXX2B. Retrieved 2010-02-14.
  17. "Game Boy". A Brief History of Game Console Warfare. BusinessWeek. http://images.businessweek.com/ss/06/10/game_consoles/source/7.htm. Retrieved 2008-07-30.
  18. "Did you know?". Nintendo. http://tgcontent.nintendo-europe.com/enGB/games_DS_TGP/tetris_ds/did_you_know.php. Retrieved 2007-11-26.
  19. "Japan Platinum Game Chart". The Magic Box. http://www.the-magicbox.com/topten2.htm. Retrieved 2007-11-26.
  20. "US Platinum Videogame Chart". The Magic Box. http://www.the-magicbox.com/Chart-USPlatinum.shtml. Retrieved 2007-11-26.
  21. Gamate Archive, Video Game Gazette. Retrieved 2010-06-14.
  22. "100 Games Of All Time". gamers.com. Archived from the original on 2003-06-11. http://web.archive.org/web/20030611191341/http://gamers.com/feature/egmtop100/index.jsp. Retrieved 2006-09-03.
  23. "CAPCOM - Platinum Titles". http://ir.capcom.co.jp/english/data/million.html.