Nintendo game console timeline. Complete List Of All Nintendo Consoles And Handheld Devices

Complete List Of All Nintendo Consoles And Handheld Devices

When someone thinks about video games Nintendo likely comes to mind. Over the decades, Nintendo have been trailer-blazers for the video game industry, never afraid to think outside the box, or cube(sorry had to!) That is why this list of all Nintendo consoles and handhelds is so exciting!

Growing up in the 90’s and early 2000’s, Nintendo was a huge part of my life. Playing games with friends is a pastime that has continued well into my adulthood. Nintendo is still a big part of that. In the post below, you will learn about the very first Nintendo consoles, and see how the company evolved over the decades.

Here are all the Nintendo consoles in release order!

Nintendo has released so many gaming consoles over the years that it is hard to keep them all straight. Below is a detailed list of all the Nintendo consoles, going back to the very beginning. Most of them you have likely heard of, but others probably not. Let’s dive in!

Color TV. Game, 1977. Console

I’ll be the first to say, I had no idea that this console existed until I started compiling some research data for this post. Well, it’s actually not a single console, but a series of 5 consoles. The Color TV – Game was Nintendo’s very first home gaming console.

Prior to Nintendo’s foray into the electronic entertainment world, they created toys and playing cards. It was not until the mid 1970’s that Nintendo saw the potential in home-entertainment systems. In 1977 Nintendo released the Color TV-Game 6 and Color TV-Game 15, in collaboration with Mitsubishi Electronics.

The Color TV-Game 6 was the first to launch on June 1st, with a clone of the iconic Pong game from Atari. Nintendo’s iteration was called Light Tennis and had 6 different game modes, such as shorter paddles and center deflecting shields.

If You Could Only Buy ONE Nintendo Console, Which One?

Only a week later, the Color TV-Game 15 was released on June 8th. The Game 15 expanded upon Game 6 by including 9 additional game modes for Light Tennis, for a total of 15 different variations.

nintendo, game, console, timeline, complete

Another difference between the Game 6 and Game 15 was the controller. The controllers for Color TV-Game 6 were secured to the console’s body, so both players would have to hover over the game console in order to play. Nintendo improved the system for Color TV-Game 15 by making the controllers detachable with a cord.

Overall, the Color TV-Game 6 and Game 15 were tremendously successful, with the Game 6 selling over 350k units and the Game 15 moving a whopping 700k in Japan.

Exactly a year later on June 8th, 1978, Nintendo released the next model of their home game console. The Color TV Game Racing 112 was a massive piece of equipment, relative to the hardware that came before it. This was due to the steering wheel and gear shifter built onto the console’s body.

Racing 112 featured a single game like it’s siblings but this time gamers could take to the road in a car racing game. Sticking to the naming convention, Racing 112 had a total of 112 different game variations to play.

Next up in the Color TV Game lineup was released on April 23rd, 1979. Nintendo called this one Color TV Game Black Kuzushi. The new console featured the popular Atari arcade game, Breakout, in 6 different modes.

Black Kuzushi marked the first console that Nintendo made without any help from other companies. In fact, Shigeru Miyamato designed the exterior console shape. Miyamato is a prominent figure in Nintendo history, thanks to his creation of the Mario character.

The Color TV – Game series of home consoles would just be a drop in the bucket for the soon to be tech giant.

Game and Watch, 1980. Handheld

Following the success of the Black Kuzushi in 1979, Nintendo pressed on to release the Game and Watch just a year later. The Game and Watch was contrived by Gunpei Yokoi, one of Nintendo’s RD developers. Yokoi first pitched the idea of a portable gaming device after seeing a bored train passenger playing with a calculator on a long trip.

There have been various versions of Game and Watch over the decades. The 1980 version was known as Silver and released with a single game, Ball, which had players juggle two different balls. Like other successful games in Nintendo’s lineup, Ball was built around a few basic button commands. Players could choose to play either Game A or Game B. Both versions were essentially the same game, however, Game B was a more challenging mode considerably faster than Game A.

Game and Watch was Nintendo’s first console to receive global success, starting in Sweden when a small radio shop owner convinced Nintendo to allow him to sell the handheld gaming device outside of Japan. This was the beginning of Nintendo’s world-wide gaming dominance.

Nintendo Entertainment System(NES), 1983. Console

While the Game and Watch may have gotten the Nintendo brand in the hands of thousands across the globe, it was their Nintendo Entertainment System that cemented Nintendo into gaming history.

The NES(Nintendo Entertainment System) is probably the first gaming console that became a household name. The success of NES was largely in part to the introduction of the Super Mario Bros series. Mario was Nintendo’s first true mascot and helped to put a face to the Nintendo brand.

With this new face, Nintendo immediately began investing heavily in the Italian plumber, creating 2 sequels to Super Mario Bros that would land on the NES console. To this day, Mario’s like-ness can be seen in hundreds of Nintendo products every year, such as games, toys movies and more.

Mario was not the only big shot on the NES. Another title that nearly every gamer wanted in their living room was Duck Hunt. In this hunting simulation, players used a plastic gun, known as the NES Zapper, to aim and shoot digital ducks on a TV screen. The act of actually holding the plastic gun, aiming and shooting brought a level of immersion to gaming that was not previously possible. Duck Hunt ended up becoming the 2nd highest selling NES title at over 28 million copies, behind only the original Super Mario Bros.

Another notable series that was birthed on the NES is The Legend of Zelda. which released in 1986. For the first time, gamers across the world were saving Princess Zelda as the iconic Hylian, Link.

The list of major game series that were introduced on the NES is too long to count but some of the big names are Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest and Mega Man.

Nintendo: Complete Guide – History, Products, Founding, and

According to a report released by Sports Lens on March 5, 2023, Nintendo is “the most known and most liked gaming company in the United States.” The survey, which was conducted by Statista Consumer Insights Gaming eSports Special data, indicated that the Japanese company scored significantly higher than its U.S. competitors among American gamers.

It’s important to note that recognition doesn’t always go hand-in-hand with awareness. But in the case of Nintendo, nearly three-quarters of American gamers know the company and 47% also think of it favorably.

Quick Facts

Year Founded 1889 Founders Yusajiro Yamauchi Industry Video Games Headquarter Kyoto, Japan Key People Fusajiro Yamauchi, Sekiryo Kaneda/Yamauchi, Hiroshi Yamauchi, Masayuki Uemura, Gunpei Yokoi, Minoru Arakawa, Shigeru Miyamoto, Takashi Tezuka, Howard Lincoln, Masahiro Sakurai Notable Products Cards, Arcade Cabinets, Famicom, Gun Zapper, Virtual Boy, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy. N64, Wii, WiiU, Switch, Mario, Kirby, Donkey Kong Website

It’s hard to believe that this wildly popular Japanese gaming company metamorphized from a card game manufacturer that specialized in hand-drawn Hanafuda cards. Find out how it recognized and seized opportunities for change and growth during its history, which spans well over a hundred years.

The History of Nintendo: What to Know

Nintendo is without a doubt the biggest name in gaming. While they have steered away from fully adopting the current era of competitive e-sports, Nintendo has continued to deliver reliably good gaming experiences with Switch console and playing card products. What is not as well known as Nintendo’s current successful products is that the company was started to make cards for Hanafuda over a hundred years ago.

Through the passing generations, Nintendo Co., Ltd. has created quality gaming products for tabletop and the video game industry. From its inception in 1889 to 1949, Nintendo operated as a card company. They produced Hanafuda cards and other card game variations with hand-drawn illustrations and designs.

In 1959, Nintendo made a deal with Disney. The deal allowed them to use Disney’s characters on Nintendo’s cards. For Disney, this was a way to introduce their characters and stories to the Japanese market. Nintendo and Disney achieved this by tying together playing cards with Disney’s characters and designs while selling books that explain the rules of different games that could be played with the cards.

The success of the partnership between Nintendo and Disney launched Nintendo into its next era. As a sign of this, Hiroshi Yamauchi renamed the company from “Nintendo Playing Card Co., Ltd.” to “Nintendo.” Between 1963 and1968, Nintendo experimented with several new ventures including a taxi company, a “love hotel” chain, an instant rice food company, and other products such as the Chiritory vacuum cleaner.

In the late 1960s, Nintendo furthered its reach into the toy business. Its competitors in the market, Bandai and Tomy, were already well established. Nintendo decided to speed up the production cycle of toys to match the product life. During this time of greater toy production, Yamauchi discovered Gunpei Yokoi in one of the company’s hanafuda factories. He noticed the maintenance engineers “extending arm.” Yamauchi ordered him to polish the product for the Christmas toy rush. This product became the “Ultra Hand.”

Yokoi’s “Ultra Hand” became one of the earliest blockbuster toys for Nintendo and sold over a million units. Yamauchi decided this had proven Yokoi’s value and pulled him from the assembly line to work in product development. Yokoi brought a new skillset to Nintendo’s development team with his electrical engineering background. He found he was quite skilled at developing electronic toys. Among his creations were the Ten Billion Barrel puzzle, the Ultra Machine, and a Love Tester.

Nintendo continued with its new pathway in electronics. It released the first solar-powered light gun in 1970 called the Nintendo Beam Gun. In 1972, Nintendo released one of the first programmable drum machines, the Ele-Conga. Then in the same year, Nintendo released the first commercially available video game console alongside an American company, Magnavox. It was called the Magnavox Odyssey. The video game console came with a light gun accessory known as the Shooting Gallery.

This product showed Nintendo a vision of the future. The company had seen the potential of successful video games. They solidified this decision when the company was able to secure the rights to distribute the Magnavox Odyssey in Japan in 1975. From there, the company continued its adventure in video game console development by partnering with Mitsubishi Electric to create the “Color TV-Game Machine.”

The same interest in home consoles powered Nintendo’s push into arcade cabinets. This led to the creation of Donkey Kong at Nintendo with Shigeru Miyamoto in the lead. Alongside their game development for arcade cabinets, Nintendo had begun developing consumer handheld video game systems in a series known as the Game Watch. From 1980 to 1991, Nintendo produced a series of electronic devices that each featured a single game as well as a clock and alarm. The Game Watch series sold over 43 million units.

Then in 1983, Nintendo released the Famicom in Japan. It’s the first iteration of the Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES. That same year, a new influx of consumer products on the market and advancing home computer technology combined with inflation and publishing rights changing hands created the video game crash of 1983. The crash had wiped out most of Nintendo’s competition. It had also taught the company the lesson of flooding the market with poor quality content. This informed Nintendo’s decision to only release games with the Nintendo “Seal of Quality” for the Famicom.

As Nintendo prepared to release the Famicom in the United States, it decided to change the console’s name to NES, or Nintendo Entertainment System. At the time, media outlets were attempting to give video games a bad reputation. Nintendo responded by including R.O.B. units included with the NES consoles that could synchronize to the game being played. Nintendo also solved the problem of content flooding by limiting the number of titles a third-party developer could release in a year to five. Much to Nintendo’s annoyance, companies began to find a way around this limitation by creating spinoff companies. This was said to have been started by Konami who created a company named Ultra Games in order to release additional titles in a year.

The gaming industry continued to evolve with Nintendo remaining a large driving factor. The support for portable video game consoles along with at-home video game consoles helped Nintendo to compete in a wide accessible market and maintain a standard of quality. This direction has continued through the years with Nintendo DS, DS Lite, DSi, DSi XL, Wii, 3DS, WiiU, and now the Nintendo Switch.

Nintendo is also well known for its game development and publishing. Its signature titles such as The Super Mario Bros., Pokemon, and The Legend of Zelda sdfdcreated within the confines of the Nintendo company’s network.

The Founding of Nintendo: How It Happened

Nintendo Koppai, the original name of the Nintendo Company, was founded in 1889 by Fusajiro Yamauchi in Kyoto, Japan, where it remains headquartered to this day.

In the 1880s, the Japanese government had set a ban on all gambling within the country. As a part of the ban on gambling, products typically used for such games were removed from circulation which meant any cards with numerical symbols on them were taken off the market. There was an exception for Hanafuda cards which featured illustrations rather than numbers. At the time, the card game was seen to have little appeal. So the Japanese government decided to let it run its course.

Fusajiro Yamauchi, on the other hand, saw an opportunity. He set about on a plan to re-introduce Hanafuda to Japan by creating hand-drawn illustrations on cards made from mulberry tree bark. He saw enough success to create a new company named Nintendo Koppai on September 23 of 1889 in Kyoto, Japan.

The name Nintendo is said to translate from Japanese to “Heaven blesses hard work” or variations of “Work hard, but in the end, it is in heaven’s hands.”

It didn’t take long before Nintendo’s Hanafuda cards were widely popular. They had even begun to be used for gambling against the decree of the Japanese government. As the demand had grown to a point Fusajiro could not keep pace with, he was forced to expand.

With a newfound production capability, Nintendo grew in its success and even released several more styles of cards including Daitouryou, or Napoleon, deck and the Miyako No Hana Hanafuda deck.

From there, Nintendo became a short-lived dynasty of gaming. The first successor to Fusajiro Yamauchi was his son-in-law Sekiryo Kaneda. Sekiryo was succeeded by his grandson, Hiroshi Yamauchi. Hiroshi took leadership with the condition that his family members be removed from the company ending the Yamauchi reign.

Hiroshi was succeeded by Satoru Iwata, who had gained his reputation through his involvement at HAL Laboratory and contributions to games like EarthBound, Balloon Fight, Kirby, Pokemon, and Super Smash Bros.

After Satoru passed due to complications from a tumor, he was replaced by Tatsumi Kimishima, the former president of The Pokemon Company, USA.

Throughout the decades of change, Nintendo has not only maintained a secure position in the gaming industry but has continued to create endearing experiences and consoles. From their start with hardware in Arcade Cabinets and the Famicom, all the way through the generations of the SNES, Nintendo64, GameCube, Wii, WiiU, and now the Nintendo Switch, the company has never failed to deliver what its customer base is looking for.

Nintendo Through the Decades


This was the formational period of Nintendo. The company was founded by Yusajiro Yamauchi to produce custom-designed Hanafuda cards and card games. For nearly 90 years, the company saw success in tabletop card games. The success was enough for them to form separate companies to provide manufacturing needs and to experiment with other business ventures.


The late 70s and early 80s proved to be the beginning of the company’s heavy involvement in video games. It began with the development of arcade cabinet games.


This period of time was the Famicom/NES era for the company. Every decision was about the production and publishing of Famicom consoles and game cartridges.


In 1990, the Super Famicom or Super NES took over the home console market. This era furthered the idea of video games and home consoles for every audience. It had transformed from a child’s device into a legitimate system.


1996 started the era of the Nintendo 64. Graphics had now become 3D and the memory allowed for software to let developers create longer and more memorable experiences. Some staples of the era include 007 Goldeneye, Spyro, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and Majora’s Mask.


As consoles began to adopt new memory types, Nintendo made the change as well. GameCube introduced a more powerful console than the N64 that used discs rather than cartridges.


The Wii era of the company. This was among the company’s least successful runs, but not because they offered a poor product. They simply failed to hold a solid manufacturing and distribution schedule for a product with incredibly high demand. Despite this, the Wii introduced motion controls in a family-friendly way.


The company fixed its product supply line issues with its next console generation. The Wii U revamped the Wii design. It offered more power, a controller with a screen, and better motion tracking.


In 2017, Nintendo hit development gold. They released the newest iteration of the Wii that now allowed for the console to be docked for home entertainment or played portably on the built-in display. The Switch has been refreshed one time to include a larger OLED screen.

What Are the Most Important Inventions from Nintendo?


This was the first home console the company released. At first, the console was only available in Japan and was primarily known as the Famicom. The name was changed to NES to navigate around negative media bias for the United States market. The console featured popular arcade games on cartridges such as Super Mario Bros. and Donkey Kong.

Game Watch

As one of the company’s first approaches to the mobile gaming platform. It produced a series of electronic watches that each featured a clock, an alarm, and a single game to play. The series was widely popular and sold over 43 million units.

Game Boy

The Game Boy handheld console was the first in a long line of products to bring video games away from the confines of wall outlets. The Game Boy not only solidified the company as a permanent fixture in the gaming industry but also introduced a new direction for development.

Super NES

A more powerful edition of the NES was launched dubbed the Super NES. The physical design of the console was much improved over its predecessor, but the console lacked the library of arcade games that had found their way onto the NES. However, SNES became the home of much more in-depth story games and RPGs. It also introduced new versions of Donkey Kong and Super Mario Bros. that shaped the images of the iconic characters into what they are today.

Nintendo 64

The next console generation brought 3D graphics into play. This was the true beginning of the rise in popularity of FPS games and updated platforming games like Super Mario 64 and Donkey Kong 64.


The GameCube combined the increased storage of discs with a more powerful console device to keep in competition with the demand for the higher quality games offered by the company’s competitors such as Sony’s Playstation and Sega’s Dreamcast. The console featured four controller slots, two memory card slots, a disc tray, a removable vanity plate, and a handle for traveling convenience.

Nintendo DS

The first true refresh of handheld gaming was introduced by the DS or dual screen. It continued the legacy of the previous Game Boy series, but with twice the screen and a plethora of new features. Nintendo continued to experiment with this device and even released a wide variety of iterations such as the DSi, DS Lite, DS XXL, and eventually the 3DS.

nintendo, game, console, timeline, complete


The company continued its innovative designs for gaming consoles by introducing motion controls with the Wii. This console suffered from a manufacturing production issue that caused the supply to quickly deplete against the demand and ultimately limited the sales of the console.

Nintendo 3DS

The 3DS supplanted the DS by offering more memory and more power. The 3DS acted as a small gaming computer with a pen digitizer for the bottom screen and a somewhat gimmicky 3D vision that can be turned on and off. The 3DS dominated the handheld gaming market for nearly a decade against products like Sony’s PSP and PS Vita. The only handheld console to take the reigns was produced by Nintendo.

nintendo, game, console, timeline, complete

Wii U

The Wii U tried to catch up with the computational power of its home console competition, the Xbox and Playstation. Nintendo knew that they were a separate but related market to other brands. The company decided to increase the Wii’s power and include a controller with a screen that allowed Wii U owners to play the console away from the TV.

Nintendo Switch

The company’s latest and greatest is the Switch. Released in 2016, the Switch is among the most innovative console to have been crafted. It acts as a home video game console and as a handheld gaming system that includes the versatility of motion controls. The only complaints about the Switch were around the resolution of the screen which had since been addressed by a refresh of the product known as the Switch OLED. This iteration comes with a larger OLED screen for a better mobile experience. The developers even managed to increase the battery life of the Switch OLED model despite the screen size increase.

nintendo, game, console, timeline, complete

Video Games and Icons

Among the more notable technology developed by Nintendo, they also carry a strong history of crafting video games icons like Mario, Link, Donkey Kong, Falco, StarFox, Samus, and Kirby. These characters all have their own rich stories and worlds but also act as symbols of nostalgia for several generations.

How Does Nintendo Make Money?

Nintendo has a variety of money-making methods. First and foremost, Nintendo develops and produces consumer products and electronic video game consoles. The company also acts as a software publisher for game developers and maintains its own online digital content store. It also licenses and sells toys, animations, and promotional events. recently Nintendo has ventured into the theme park industry with Nintendo Land.

Nintendo in the News

On July 4, 2023, Chihiro Fujioka — one of the original directors of the Super Mario RPG — announced that he is not involved with the remake of the classic which is due for release on November 17, although he said that he was “pleased” by the news.

On June 30, 2023, Nintendo announced it’s latest line-up of Nintendo Switch games that are due for release in July. These include the new Disney Illusion Island which is due for release on July 28, as well as Pikmin 4 which will be released on the slightly earlier date of July 21.

Nintendo: Complete Guide – History, Products, Founding, and FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is Nintendo?

Nintendo is a Japanese entertainment production and manufacturing company that focuses primarily on video games and video game consoles.

I bought every Nintendo Handheld EVER.

When was Nintendo founded?

Nintendo was founded on September 23, 1889.

Who founded Nintendo?

It was founded by Fusajiro Yamauchi in Kyoto, Japan.

Is Nintendo still in business?

While Nintendo has been a publicly traded company for many years, it is still in operation successfully.

Where is Nintendo headquartered?

Nintendo was founded and headquartered in Kyoto, Japan where it remains to this day.

About the Author

Lisha Pace

After a career of working to provide opportunities for local communities to experience and create art, I am enjoying having time to learn and write about science and technology. I love science fiction. especially the speculative variety. and enjoy anything that has to do with NASA and space. Robotics and revolutionary inventions that change our quality of life for the better are also of great interest. I also enjoy reading, discovering books to add to my library, collecting and playing vinyl, taking walks by the lake with my husband and little dog, and listening to my son’s music.

The History of Handheld Gaming: Nintendo

Since the dawn of gaming, the ability to play your favorite titles on the go has been a desirable option for both gamers and developers alike. While it’s an area of the industry that a number of Japan’s gaming giants, such as Sega and Sony, have tried to muscle into over the years, only one company has managed to stand the test of time in the handheld gaming arena: Nintendo.

Setting the standard with the original Game Boy more than 30 years ago, Nintendo has continued to improve upon its handheld offerings, developing technology and titles that have kept gamers across the globe coming back with each new iteration. Here, we take a look at the evolution of the consoles that have cemented Nintendo as the household name in portable gaming.

Photo by robtek via Shutterstock

Game Boy

Released in Japan on April 21, 1989, the Game Boy was where it all began for Nintendo in terms of handheld gaming. The brainchild of Gunpei Yokoi, one of Nintendo’s first video game designers, the Game Boy ran on AA batteries and played games on interchangeable cartridges which were displayed on a small, colorless screen.

Although not as advanced as similar consoles being released at the time, namely due to lacking a color screen, a lower price point and longer battery life saw the entire stock of 300,000 units sold within the first two weeks of release in Japan.

Consisting of just four buttons and a directional pad set within a thick plastic shell, the design was simple yet robust, making for a console that would go on to withstand years, even decades of use.

Photo by Matthieu Tuffet via Shutterstock

Game Boy Color

Taking the original Game Boy and improving upon it in every aspect, the Game Boy Color debuted in Japan in 1998 and sent waves through the industry, further solidifying Nintendo’s sales dominance at the time.

Maintaining the trademark Game Boy shape, the Game Boy Color was considerably thinner, came in a wide variety of colors and most notably, included Nintendo’s first handheld screen capable of displaying color.

Combined with the original Game Boy, the Game Boy Color went on to become the third highest selling console of all time, with over 118 million units sold worldwide.

Photo by Niphon Subsri via Shutterstock

Game Boy Advance

It was in 2001 that gaming saw Nintendo’s first deviation from the famous Game Boy shape in the Game Boy Advance. With input from the Tokyo-based French designer Gwenael Nicolas, the console took on a more rounded landscape orientation, with the buttons on either side of the screen as opposed to below it.

Along with its fresh exterior, the Game Boy Advance offered a variety of new features. This included an extra two trigger buttons on top, a new style of gaming cartridge that was smaller than the previous Game Boy iterations, and more processing power, which allowed for the most visually striking games on a handheld Nintendo system to date. The inclusion of backward compatibility also meant that gamers could still play their original Game Boy games on the Advance. It eventually went on to sell over 81 million units.

Photo by Tunarov via Shutterstock

Game Boy Advance SP

Released in 2003 and building upon the hardware of its predecessor, the Game Boy Advance SP (SP standing for “special”) was predominantly Nintendo taking the opportunity to improve upon two major pain points experienced by their customers: the constant replacing of batteries and a screen that was difficult to see in low light.

Encased in a new clamshell-style body that made for extra portability, the Game Boy Advance SP came with a rechargeable lithium battery and an internally front-lit screen that somewhat improved visibility, although this was soon updated.

Realizing that the display could be even further improved upon, in 2004 Nintendo released an updated version of the SP which included their first internationally available backlit screen within a handheld console.

Photo by Joshua Sanderson Media via Shutterstock

Nintendo DS

Upon its release in 2004, the Nintendo DS (DS standing for dual screen) signified another extraordinary leap in handheld gaming technology.

Continuing with the clamshell design of the previous Game Boy Advance SP, the Nintendo DS now incorporated two screens, the bottom of which was a touch screen. This second screen added an entirely new dimension to gaming, given that both screens could be used in tandem.

On top of this, where previous Game Boy iterations had to be physically connected by cable for multiplayer gaming, the Nintendo DS allowed players to connect wirelessly over a short distance, or even online via the internet.

Originally designed to complement the existing family of Nintendo consoles, the inclusion of backward compatibility and overwhelming sales numbers saw the Nintendo DS ultimately become the successor to the Game Boy series. It then went on to become the most successful handheld gaming console of all time, selling over 150 million units across its various models.

Photo by v74 via Shutterstock

Nintendo 3DS

Designed to improve upon the wildly popular DS, the Nintendo 3DS was released in 2011. To Nintendo’s disappointment, however, it was not as popular as the company had hoped.

Although boasting improved hardware, new games and even the ability to display stereoscopic images, which gave games a three-dimensional appearance without the use of glasses, the 3DS was not as well received as its predecessor. While there are various potential reasons for the lackluster reception, a lack of overall difference to the DS and the underutilization of the 3D technology by game developers is often cited as the cause.

This apparent misstep caused Nintendo to drastically reduce the price of the console less than 6 months after its release, while also offering free games to customers that paid the original launch price. The strategy worked. While profit margins were thinned as a result, the Nintendo 3DS family of consoles went on to sell over 75 million units worldwide.

Photo by Matthieu Tuffet via Shutterstock

Nintendo Switch

Not a company to make the same mistake twice, Nintendo’s most recent handheld offering, the Nintendo Switch, exceeded all expectations upon its 2017 release.

Returning to a single, yet much larger screen, the Switch was designed to appeal to a wider audience through its multiple options of use. For lovers of the handheld gaming experience, the console’s weighty, rounded design made on-the-go gaming easy and enjoyable. While for those used to gaming on a home console, the Switch could also be played on a television via an accompanying docking system.

This design, along with a plethora of cutting-edge titles in beloved series such as Pokémon and Super Mario, made the Switch popular amongst both seasoned and casual gamers alike.

Today, the Nintendo Switch is the fifth most popular gaming console of all time, having sold just over 111 million units worldwide.

The Future at Your Fingertips

Looking back on the development of Nintendo’s handheld gaming offerings, it’s nearly impossible to imagine what the future holds. Those who owned the original Game Boy could never have envisioned something like the Switch ever coming into existence, which is exactly what makes the space so exciting. No one knows where it ends.

As for what comes next, we can only wait and see, fingers and thumbs at the ready.

The Nintendo Console Timeline for non-handheld Nintendo Game Consoles

Nintendo has had a number of video game consoles which date back to the 1980s. Since then, their consoles have not necessarily gotten better and better, although Nintendo has always delivered great games for their game consoles which is why they have millions of fans in Japan and beyond.

Aside from their great game line-ups Nintendo game consoles have also been renowned for their innovation. Let’s go back to the beginning to the first home Nintendo game console.

85 – The NES

The NES was the first Nintendo game console and Nintendo’s biggest breakthrough. The beginning of the 1980s was a period of decline for game consoles, but the NES changed all that with its launch game Super Mario Bros. Mario made his debut in this platform game which did not just launch the NES, it sent into the stratosphere!

Aside from Super Mario Bros the NES had plenty of other great games such as Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Duck Hunt, Super Mario Bros 2 and Super Mario Bros 3 which emerged as the console’s top game title. The NES Zapper was a particularly good addition to the NES as it was one of the first home consoles to include a light gun for games such as _Duck Hun_t. Overall, the NES dominated the gaming scene during the 1980s.

91. The Super NES

After the NES came the Super NES in the early ‘90s. A 16-bit game console, the Super NES was a worthy successor to the NES. It was also fairly unique for it could do more than just 2D games thanks to the Super FX Chip. The first of these was Star Fox, a 3D sci-fi shooting game starring the space ship pilot Fox McCloud.

Other notable games on the Super NES were the coin-up conversion of the hit arcade game Street Fighter 2, and Donkey Kong Country which had some fantastic pre-rendered 3D graphics although it remained essentially a 2D platform game. The Mario Kart series also began on the Super NES with the Super Mario Kart game that included eight motorists from the Mario game series, and a variety of Mario themed circuits.

The Super NES was undoubtedly a big hit in Japan, although in the United States it did not have quite the same impact largely because of the Sega Genesis which remained well established.

95. Virtual Boy

The Virtual Boy remains the Nintendo game console that is mostly forgotten, as the console never really took off and it was soon discontinued. As such, the console was something of a flop that was supposed to make-up for the delayed N64 console.

The Virtual Boy was a 32-bit game console with a head-mounted display, and it was similar to the Game Boy in that its games only had limited color. Mario Tennis was one of the few games that emerged for Virtual Boy.

96 – Nintendo 64

This was the console Nintendo fans had really been waiting for. After a few delays, the Nintendo 64 was finally released in 1996. Most fans agreed that the 64-bit N64 game console was worth the wait as it delivered an exciting new generation of Nintendo games in full 3D for the first time. Mario 64 and Zelda Ocarina of Time were probably two of the console’s main highlights as Mario and Zelda games had a thrilling new perspective, but a number of other noteworthy Nintendo games also made it onto the console such as Pilotwings 64 and Mario Kart 64.

However, compared with Playstation, N64 lacked third-party support and there were fewer games for the console. Coupled with the fact that Nintendo stuck with game cartridges the Playstation generally provided better value with its CD Roms, although the cartridges were faster and did not have the same sort of loading periods associated with some Playstation games. The console also included a controller with a small analogue stick which was a great addition.

01 – GameCube

After the Nintendo 64 there came the GameCube which was a smaller and more compact cube shaped game console. It was the first Nintendo game console to move away from cartridges, and instead the GameCube had optical discs which were quicker than average CDs. While the Playstation 2 and Xbox began to embrace a wider variety of multimedia options, Nintendo’s GameCube remained exclusively a game console just for games.

Undoubtedly, it did have some good ones with Metroid Prime, Super Mario Sunshine, the Wind Waker and Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader among the top game titles. However, despite this the GameCube did not quite have the same impact as previous Nintendo game consoles and was overshadowed by the Playstation 2 and Xbox.

06 – The Wii

Nintendo put innovation first and delivered the Wii in 2006. Originally code-named the ‘Revolution’ by Nintendo, the Wii was indeed quite revolutionary for the Wii Remote that came included with the game console. The Wii Remote is a unique wireless controller and one of the more exciting console innovations for some time.

A collection of great Wii games have since emerged on the game console including Super Mario Galaxy 1 2, Wii

Sports, Wii Sports Resort, Mario Kart Wii, Donkey Kong Country Returns and New Super Mario Bros Wii providing the console with an exciting library of games.

Further, the inclusion of the Nintendo Virtual Console also provided a downloadable library of older classic Nintendo games from previous Nintendo game consoles such as the Super Nes and N64 so that you can play some of your old favorites as well. For all this, the Wii has revitalized Nintendo consoles.

The Wii is the most recent addition to this Nintendo console timeline. To date there have been six non-handheld Nintendo video game consoles, most of which have been very impressive game consoles that have continued Nintendo game series from the NES such as Mario and Zelda.

The unveiling of the Wii U at recent E3 shows has confirmed that this will be the next addition to the Nintendo console timeline.