Sony PlayStation (1995)
The console that marked Sony’s presence in the video game arena, the 32-bit PlayStation upset the status quo by soundly beating Sega’s Saturn and Nintendo’s N64. With its sleek design, cool branding and flood of third-party support, the console became the must-have gaming platform of the mid-’90s.
More than a few gamers in the UK will have fond memories of blasting along to the sound of The Chemical Brothers in the futuristic racer Wipeout while the turkey was cooking in the oven.
Nintendo 64 (1997)
Although Nintendo got its nose well and truly bloodied by Sony’s PlayStation, the N64 still witnessed some of the greatest games of the ‘90s. Few launch titles can rival the epic nature of Super Mario 64, and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is rightly regarded as one of the finest games of all time.
Sure, Nintendo’s insistence on sticking with expensive cartridges was a questionable move, but as soon as you and three mates sat down to play a deathmatch on GoldenEye 007 on Christmas morning, such concerns quickly became irrelevant.
Sony PlayStation 2 (2000)
Sony’s second home console was greeted with incredible demand when it launched in the UK at the end of November 2000. Those who were lucky enough to find one underneath their tree come Christmas time were faced with the first home console that doubled as a DVD player – quite a revelation back at the turn of the millenium.
The fact that films could be watched on the system was something of a godsend, as the PlayStation 2’s early output wasn’t exactly amazing. However, once developers had found their feet, the console got more than its fair share of solid-gold classics, including Metal Gear Solid 2, Gran Turismo 3 and Grand Theft Auto 3.
Nintendo Game Boy Advance (2001)
Released in the middle of 2001, the Game Boy Advance had ample time to build up a following before infiltrating Christmas at the year’s end. Like its predecessor the Game Boy, this pocket-sized games machine was perfect for covert gaming sessions when out on dull visits to relatives on Christmas day, and was blessed with some typically brilliant releases.
A version with a folding front-lit screen was released later, and the Game Boy Micro – the final handheld to bear the famous Game Boy branding – came in 2005.
What was your first Christmas console? Let us know in the comments.