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USgamer Community Question: What's the Coolest-Looking Games Console Ever?

It mightn't necessarily be your favorite console of all time - it's the one that you think has the greatest-looking case.

Article by USgamer Team, .

This week's community question is all a matter of taste. More specifically, your taste in console case design. We're not interested in hearing which is your favorite console, or which one you think is the most powerful. What we want to know is - which one do you think looks the coolest?

It could be something really obscure, or a very popular system - but whatever it is, in your eyes, it's the best-looking system ever made.

Here's the USgamer team with their top design picks—and an eclectic selection it is too.

[Source]
Jeremy Parish Editor-in-Chief

Oh no… you used that word. "Cool." I'm no good with cool.

I can tell you which console's design I love most, though: Sony's original PlayStation. Not just from a visual perspective—though that's great, too!—but from an overall sense of its density, heft, and mechanisms.

PlayStation really stood out at the time of its debut. Its direct competitors—Nintendo 64 and Sega Saturn—skewed too far in one aesthetic direction or the other. N64 looked like it was trying a little too hard to mimic the lines of some supercharged automobile, with that weird hump at the front of the machine; Saturn, on the other hand, managed to be a glimpse of the future, but not in a good way: It was a safe, boring, black box like every console today.

PlayStation, on the other hand, demonstrated Sony's distinct flair for visual design, walking a careful line between style and utility. Its low-profile design made it feel wonderfully compact, while the deliberate use of circles didn't simply announce its reliance on sophisticated CD-ROM tech but also broke up the boxy linearity while creating a visually enticing asymmetry by placing a tiny Reset button next to the Power switch, which sat opposite the Eject button. Meanwhile, the controller and memory card sockets sat directly one on top of the other, with the controller plug designed to pair perfectly with a memory card when inserted, further enhancing the compact, low-profile look of the machine.

The PlayStation was also remarkably small, and when you lifted it, the thing felt dense. Not uncomfortably so, but it really communicated the fact that Sony had crammed a lot into that little box. The density added to the sense of quality (especially compared to the feather-light N64, whose emptiness made it feel like something of a toy), and the slow, controlled ascent of the CD lid only built on that impression. A pity that certain key internal components didn't reflect that level of quality in practice—my old PlayStation works, technically, but the CD drive has long since broken down and requires the console to be placed in any number of ridiculous orientations to read discs correctly.

Flimsy drive aside, the PlayStation was a bold beginning for Sony… all the more impressive considering it was cast in boring ’90s putty-grey. A pity they've never matched the aesthetic quality of their first console since; the PS2 looked retro-'80s (and not in a good way), the PS4 is a boring slab, and the PS3 was an atrocity of industrial design. Here's wishing the best for PS5!

[Source]
Bob Mackey Senior Writer

Instead of "coolest," my pick should probably be called "charming"—because it's kind of adorably dorky. (And I flat-out refuse to use the word "adorkable".) The Super Famicom has always stood out to me as an interesting console design, especially when compared to its boxy American version, which cut down on the colors and general sleekness of the Japanese system. It's not that different, mind you, but the Super Famicom is essentially a Super Nintendo with all of its harsh edges sanded down—and that applies to the carts, as well. What really makes this console special to me, though, is a small-but-nonetheless striking detail: the bold, four-color logo that really jumps out amid the general greyness of everything. The Super Nintendo's more muted color choice wasn't exactly ugly or anything, but there's just something intrinsically appealing about those candy-colored buttons. I guess what I'm saying is I want my game consoles to look like I could potentially eat them.

[Source]
Jaz Rignall Editor-at-Large

I'm actually a fan of the PS4 and Xbox One: both those systems are really neat, sleek-looking and fit into my entertainment system without looking the least bit out of place. But are they really "cool"? They certainly look futuristic, but I think I have to ultimately answer in the negative. They're just nicely-designed slabs of technology.

For something that's really "cool", I think I have to go back to the very late 80's to an obscure video game console called the Supergrafx. The system was based on the Japanese version of the Turbografx-16, the PC Engine, and was supposedly going to replace it - it had four times the RAM of the original machine and some additional custom chips that gave it marginally better graphical performance. However, while it was backwards-compatible with all PC Engine games, only a handful of titles were made specifically for the system, and it was ultimately a complete commercial failure.

However, while it didn't sell, I still think it's one of the coolest-looking systems ever designed. It's just so unusual. Sure, its faux-rivets look a little cheesy, but look at it. How outrageous is that design? It looks like a heavy duty piece of hardware from a sci-fi movie.

While it looks like it weighs a ton, it's actually surprisingly light. It really doesn't contain much in the way of hardware, and most of the space inside is taken up by fresh air - I guess that makes it a triumph of style over substance. Still, I really like it, and while I'm a big fan of the Mega Drive, which to me runs a close second to the Supergrafx, I just have to go with NEC's slab of retro-insanity for being a seriously cool bit of kit.

Kat Bailey Senior Editor

I'm going to go with the obvious answer and pick the Sega Genesis. The Slim PlayStation 2 and the second version of the Xbox 360 looked sleek and sophisticated, but the Sega Genesis was like a souped sports car - it just looked so cool.

Everything about it seemed calculated to stand out against the Super Nintendo. Its rounded edges contrasted against the Super Nintendo's boxy-looking corners. Its fierce-looking black was the opposite of the subdued greys favored by Nintendo. The rounded cartridge slot at the top looked like a supercharged engine. Everything about the Sega Genesis screamed, "This is what the older, cooler kids are playing," a look that was bolstered by a library that included the likes of Golden Axe, Altered Beast, and Mortal Kombat.

This, of course, was in an era when cool looking consoles really mattered. The Atari wanted to blend with '70s era furniture, and the NES wanted to be a VCR, but the Sega Genesis wanted to be known in absolute terms as the biggest, baddest video game console around. And in the pre-mobile era, it was more important to be cool than sleek and sophisticated.

A little more than a decade later, Microsoft attempted to replicate the cachet of the Sega Genesis by making the Xbox as big and angry-looking as possible. In some ways it worked, drawing positive comparisons to the GameCube, but bigger also wasn't necessarily better. There have been slicked consoles since the Genesis, but I don't think there's ever been one that's been cooler.

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Comments 70

  • Avatar for DaveVoyles #1 DaveVoyles 2 years ago
    That Super Famicom does look awesome, but the 1st gen Sega CD will always own.
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  • Avatar for Happy-Mask-Salesman #2 Happy-Mask-Salesman 2 years ago
    Gotta go with the GameCube. It had a handle & if you were lucky you got it in orange. I think it's the only console I actually liked looking at. All the others were just necessary boxes that played games. I don't think I ever focused on the physical appearance of those handle-less abominations
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  • Avatar for _k1_ #3 _k1_ 2 years ago
    I remember really liking the look of the original PS2. The black with blue highlights just looked cool to me.
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  • Avatar for Xemus80 #4 Xemus80 2 years ago
    I'm going with the Dreamcast. The design was practical yet sleek; I love the simplicity of the red-swirl logo. I also have a thing for white (or white-ish) consoles.
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  • Avatar for ojinnvoltz #5 ojinnvoltz 2 years ago
    PS4 is super sexy. It's sleek, geometric, and looks great with post-modern interior decor.
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  • Avatar for Neifirst #6 Neifirst 2 years ago
    I'm fond of the original white Wii - a beautiful tiny console with that cool blue disc drive light that would pulse when you had new notifications. It went very nicely with the Wii remote, nunchuck, and classic controller. Those early days of Wii Sports, Twilight Princess, Excite Truck and virtual console were magic.Edited November 2015 by Neifirst
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  • Avatar for Don-Rumata #7 Don-Rumata 2 years ago
    Speaking of the PC Engine (a marvelously-built and shaped little console), the PC-FX looks really cool, with its purple-yellow logo and embossed shapes that reminds me of a Michael Graves post-modern building. It's definitely of a piece alongside NEC's PC-98 line in terms of aesthetics, for better and worse. And still it looks better than a pizza-box Mac from that era or a Packard Bell contraption.
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  • Avatar for SomeKindaWizard #8 SomeKindaWizard 2 years ago
    SNES, I'm from the UK, so it's the same as the Japanese model really
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  • Avatar for prymusferal #9 prymusferal 2 years ago
    The PS2 was the first console that really looked "cool" to me. Then again, I never really paid attention to the form factors of the consoles themselves. I always was concerned with the shape of the controllers and with the games themselves.
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  • Avatar for kidgorilla #10 kidgorilla 2 years ago
    I still think the original PSP is beautiful. I almost never want to touch mine because it's so sassy
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  • Avatar for admiralsnackbar #11 admiralsnackbar 2 years ago


    WonderMega, yo! Like it fell out of a Shadowrun source book.
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  • Avatar for amyar #12 amyar 2 years ago
    NDS Lite!!! It could have been made by Apple!
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  • Avatar for touchofkiel #13 touchofkiel 2 years ago
    Modern consoles - PS4, easily. Especially my white model.

    Retro - Genesis. I'm very partial to the 2nd model. And the Dreamcast. Apparently I like squares and not rectangles.

    Handhelds - clearly the Vita is the nicest gaming handheld ever made, but I love the DS Lite, especially as it came after the monstrosity of the original.
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  • Avatar for cldmstrsn #14 cldmstrsn 2 years ago
    Dreamcast! Enough said I guess. haha
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  • Avatar for manny_c44 #15 manny_c44 2 years ago
    @kidgorilla Especially in white! The Vita is nice too...and that original DS Lite was very sleek as well. Lots of good designs in the handheld space.
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  • Avatar for The-Fool #16 The-Fool 2 years ago
    I'm echoing some others here... Must be the Nintendo DS Lite! Specifically, in its Ice Blue incarnation.

    I mean, look:



    I really quite like the New Nintendo 3DS, as well. Cover Plates, yay!

    EDIT: My Emerald GBA SP would be damn close, too.Edited November 2015 by The-Fool
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  • Avatar for jeffcorry #17 jeffcorry 2 years ago
    I kind of like the Black Wii U. You hardly know it's there.
    That's the way I like it.
    Other than that I really like the PS2...and the Gamecube (boy is it sturdy!).
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  • Avatar for ShadowTheSecond #18 ShadowTheSecond 2 years ago
    Kat is entirely right--the first model Sega Genesis is pretty awesome looking.

    Until you put the CD and 32x on it. Then it's still cool in a monstrosity way I guess...
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  • Avatar for SatelliteOfLove #19 SatelliteOfLove 2 years ago
    @Jeremy Parish

    You also get a real good look at it during its life from all the flipping you do to it!

    @The-Fool

    This is my vote. DSlite is less-is-more distilled.
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  • Avatar for Sam-Derboo #20 Sam-Derboo 2 years ago
    Sorry folks, you're all wrong because the Unitech Saver exists. ;)

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  • Avatar for Monkey-Tamer #21 Monkey-Tamer 2 years ago
    I really liked the Saturn.
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  • Avatar for SuperShinobi #22 SuperShinobi 2 years ago
    Can't go wrong with the Genesis. I was going to also mention the CD add-on, but someone posted a photo of the Wondermega, which does look cooler than the Genesis + Sega CD combo. The Neo Geo AES also looks really nice and the joystick complements the console perfectly. The Supergrafx looks powerful visually and the Shuttle is another cool-looking PC Engine model.

    I really like the PS4's looks as well, even if it's basically just a slab with some diagonal angles and a nice long led light on the front. The GameCube also looks pretty hip and on the handheld side the PS Vita is just so well designed. The Turboexpress handheld also looks so nice that I'd still like to own one again, even though its lcd-screen is very poor by today's standards.
    Edited November 2015 by SuperShinobi
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  • Avatar for GaijinD #23 GaijinD 2 years ago
    I actually like the Genesis 3 a lot. It's just so tiny! I've been sorely tempted to buy one in the past just because, even though it would have been less useful than what I already had.
    @admiralsnackbar That's definitely a bit better than the X'Eye. I love it from a functionality standpoint, but it isn't particularly pretty.
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  • Avatar for sleepiest #24 sleepiest 2 years ago
    DS lite is the only system I've kept for its beauty, rather than functionality. It's a pleasing system. I wish I had half the sense of style that system possesses.
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  • Avatar for jmroo #25 jmroo 2 years ago
    The Sega Mark III is one of the coolest looking systems to me that I also have the least interest in playing.

    I'll also say I honestly like the original DS (the DS fat). It's weird and quirky and for my hands it's really comfortable. The other DS's are a little boring to me. But the original DS has a lot of personality.
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  • Avatar for jacksamuk #26 jacksamuk 2 years ago
    I just loved the Dreamcast Design. I still remember when I first saw it at the store I thought " Wow, looks so futuristic and promising."
    Once I found out that the memory card slot was on the controller, I inserted and was amazed to see the face of one of the Characters from the game I was playing . That by itself was enough for me to realize , " The future has come." .


    hahaha!
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  • Avatar for Namevah #27 Namevah 2 years ago
    Many of Nintendo's revisions of their handhelds are usually quite sleek. Game Boy Advance SP and Nintendo DS lite are great. As for home consoles, I really like the Nintendo 64.
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  • Avatar for WiegrafFolles #28 WiegrafFolles 2 years ago
    The Dreamcast was the best looking console in my opinion. Nice lines and very compact and functional. It also had a satisfying heft to it.

    I also think the Anniversary Edition PS4 has a great design.
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  • Avatar for WiIIyTheAntelope #29 WiIIyTheAntelope 2 years ago
    Neo Geo. It was gigantic, had gigantic carts, and controllers that were almost as big as the machine itself.
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  • Avatar for Tetragrammaton #30 Tetragrammaton 2 years ago
    Gameboy Color, transparent purple. Like, oh my god it was such a cool idea: here's your Gameboy, and here are its GUTS. Really sad that Nintendo hasn't gone back to that nearly enough.
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  • Avatar for VotesForCows #31 VotesForCows 2 years ago
    The original game boy. It looks like something out of the future, as imagined in a film from the 70s. So chunky, so toylike. Love it!
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  • Avatar for InsertTokenz #32 InsertTokenz 2 years ago
    It was initially tough trying to narrow down my "coolest" looking console. The Dreamcast first came to mind with it's small yet stylish casing. But I then remembered how slick the Wii looked (as per the reasons already brought up by@Neifirst ), as well as how inviting the Super Famicom/Europe SNES looked (for the same reasons mentioned by Bob in the article). However, it ultimately dawned on me that there was one system that combined several of those appealing elements in one place:



    Not only does the New 3DS have the Famicom colored buttons, and glowing Wii-like light, I can change the outer casing into whatever "cool" thing I feel like. Case in point:




    Add to it the notion that the casing feels almost, if not as durable as the DS Lite, and this has easily become the coolest looking console I have had the privilege of owning. :)Edited November 2015 by InsertTokenz
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  • Avatar for Roto13 #33 Roto13 2 years ago
    I love the sleek design of the Nintendo DSi when it's closed. I wish either of my 3DSes looked half as good.
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  • Avatar for themblan #34 themblan 2 years ago
    I really like the Wii U; it's so smooth and rounded.

    If we can include handhelds, it's easily the 'new 3DS.' Here's mine with a 'Fire Emblem if' face-plate (cover-plate).
    Edited 9 times. Last edited November 2015 by themblan
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  • Avatar for SimonGreedwell #35 SimonGreedwell 2 years ago
    Jaz is correct. The Supergrafx is pretty awesome looking. It reminds me of a heavy duty phone case. I don't know if it's my favorite, but I love that the NES looks like a VCR or something.
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  • Avatar for chiptoon #36 chiptoon 2 years ago
    Mega Drive and Super Famicom were the pinnacle for me.

    On that note - I always thought the SNES was horribly ugly. I could never comprehend how they ditched the Super Famicom look, which is a masterpiece of design, in favor of that monstrosity.
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  • Avatar for Neifirst #37 Neifirst 2 years ago
    @InsertTokenz Now you've gone and made me want to get one of these even though I already own a New 3DS XL!
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  • Avatar for Vaporeon #38 Vaporeon 2 years ago
    SNES because you could see the game label while playing. Those cover arts added to the experience. Think of how many people buy old SNES games like Earthbound on eBay! You can only play every so often, but you can feel nostalgia every day looking at a cart. Plus, inserting a cart felt so much more rewarding than sliding in a plain old CD. Like reverse Sword in the Stone, ha.
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  • Avatar for tenderbrew #39 tenderbrew 2 years ago
    Lack of Gamecube love! Man that little Cube is the greatest. A ****ing handle on it! Orange and Platinum colors!
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  • Avatar for RobotDevil #40 RobotDevil 2 years ago
    Correct answer is the Gamecube. The sheer guts needed to release a new system that looks like a toy, but a COOL toy, is amazing to me. The beautiful, compact cube design, the controllers, the GBA player it sits on, the little discs, the gorgeous colors, The Handle! I was just talking with a friend yesterday over lunch about how cool that thing looked. It's the only system design of its era that has aged well (Dreamcast is a close second). They don't make them like this anymore.
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  • Avatar for LeviTheGood #41 LeviTheGood 2 years ago
    Playstation 2 was very well designed. The NES will always have a place in my heart. The purple accents on the U.S. Version of the Super Nintendo was a daring design choice.
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  • Avatar for I-m-not-Daredevil #42 I-m-not-Daredevil 2 years ago
    My mind immediately went to the Snes (European) and the PlayStation. I got them both about the same time (PlayStation first) and yet I feel more nostalgic love for the Snes, so that has to be my answer.
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  • Avatar for naazimeaala75 #43 naazimeaala75 2 years ago
    No love for PS Vita? Or PSP for that matter
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #44 brionfoulke91 2 years ago
    Fun topic! I've gotta go with Jeremy, I still really like the look of the original PS1. Great balance between practical and aesthetics. I've kept mine around largely just because it's a cool looking piece of hardware.
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  • Avatar for gigantor21 #45 gigantor21 2 years ago
    The all-black Net Yaroze PS1 is my personal favorite.
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  • Avatar for strangejames85 #46 strangejames85 2 years ago
    I think the PS4 has an elegant design. I was more impressed with it when I took it out of the box more than any system.

    I have warm, fuzzy feelings when I think about the NES. I can recall the exact feel of the power and reset buttons. I assume that it's more nostalgia than actual appreciation for design, but I love it.
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  • Avatar for riderkicker #47 riderkicker 2 years ago
    @Happy-Mask-Salesman It's small and it does pack a punch. If only Nintendo didn't shoot itself in the foot by making it run on mini DVDs.
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  • Avatar for riderkicker #48 riderkicker 2 years ago
    You're kidding me right? No contest:

    Vectrex!
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  • Avatar for docexe #49 docexe 2 years ago
    I have a soft spot for the original PS2. Its black color with blue highlights made it look both elegant and sophisticated.

    A runner-up would be the Gamecube. The only thing I would change from it is the silly looking handle at the back.

    The deluxe version of the Wii U also looks quite sleek.

    The PS4 was a return to form after all the frankly ugly versions and revisions of the PS3.
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  • Avatar for sleepiest #50 sleepiest 2 years ago
    @naazimeaala75 The Vita is beautiful (never had a psp). But it's beautiful in the way a corvette is beautiful. I don't know about other commenters, but I prefer devices that look a little like toyboxes. Style may be timeless, but fun is forever.
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  • Avatar for DrCorndog #51 DrCorndog 2 years ago
    The Saturn is boring, but I love its controller. I'll go with the Sega Genesis for my pick, model 2. The 32X looks pretty sleek too, actually.
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  • Avatar for jay-ban #52 jay-ban 2 years ago
    Mark 1 grey Japanese Sega Saturn was beautiful, the lighter tone made the little design details way more visible than on the international black version.Edited November 2015 by jay-ban
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  • Avatar for wii-bert #53 wii-bert 2 years ago
  • Avatar for buckupprincess #54 buckupprincess 2 years ago
    I've had a spot in my heart for the top loading NES since seeing one as a little dude. There's something inherently slick about rounding off the NES and slimming it down to its most basic form with a little splash of red for fun. I remember thinking my boxy VCR styled NES was a dinosaur in comparison. And the dog bone controller was the perfect icing on a cool, slim NES for me.
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  • Avatar for richarddykeman89 #55 richarddykeman89 2 years ago
    @riderkicker Good call! First thing I thought of!
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  • Avatar for nilcam #56 nilcam 2 years ago
    I'll have to go with the glacier Gameboy Advance. The color is amazing and it's one of the most comfortable handhelds ever. I modded my console with a backlit screen and it truly is the best console. Runner up goes to the ice blue DS Lite. So sleek.Edited 2 times. Last edited November 2015 by nilcam
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  • Avatar for MontyForever #57 MontyForever 2 years ago
    I'll always have a soft spot for the Dreamcast. The sleek white case, the controller (Yes, it's an abomination now), and that little red light.
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  • Avatar for EricPlunk #58 EricPlunk 2 years ago
    It's the NES for me. That snazzy gull wing door made me feel like I was opening a DeLorean time machine in my Back to the Future obsessed youth. In my BTTF obsessed adulthood, nothing has changed.
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  • Avatar for TrustyPanda #59 TrustyPanda 2 years ago
    The original PlayStation 2 stood vertically with the blue stand looks brilliant. Its monolithic design and bold PS2 emblem on the side make it so distinct. And it had smart little touches like the rotatable PS logo and the front facing USB ports (which was very forward thinking for the time).
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  • Avatar for yuberus #60 yuberus 2 years ago
    I love the look of the original Wii - very minimalist and sleek, even now. I'm also a big fan of the Vectrex - everything about it suggested you were about to play some arcade-quality titles, which it certainly ran very close ports of (even if by that time vector graphics were on the way out).
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  • Avatar for JetPilot #61 JetPilot 2 years ago
    I love my original SNES. So many great childhood memories. I still have it hooked up under my TV. Somehow, even though it's an original launch unit from 1991, it has never yellowed.

    The Super Famicom looks nice (and I dig the colored buttons), but my personal experience is with the SNES, so that will always remain slightly ahead in the contest for coolest-looking games console to me.

    Edited 4 times. Last edited November 2015 by JetPilot
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  • Avatar for sylvan #62 sylvan 2 years ago
    The first consoles that spring to mind are the PSX and of course, the Genesis. Similar to one another in some ways. But I am going to have to go with the Gamecube for my favorite design. Maybe even a "cool" design.

    The Cube felt so incredibly tiny when it was released, and compared to the chunky, hulking Xbox it felt like it was from a completely different era. The smooth matte finish and thick case seemed to communicate quality and its diminutive ports, memory card slots, and game discs were very intentionally made to feel kind of "futuristic". I did not like the controller at first, b/c well... the N64 and the Dualshock ruined me. However after a while I really began to love the controller, and I think the big "A" button right in the middle was a great design choice, and was one that definitely made it into the Wii controller design.

    As for the ugliest: I think that honor goes to the original Chunkybox. And those terrible fat controllers. Ugh! The N64 was also a pretty ugly little machine, but its crazy fork controller kind of made up for the console's look.Edited November 2015 by sylvan
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  • Avatar for WelkinGunther #63 WelkinGunther 2 years ago
    To me Wonderswan was the coolest. I always wanted one

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  • Avatar for pretzelkins #64 pretzelkins 2 years ago
  • Avatar for ChaosAngelZero #65 ChaosAngelZero 2 years ago
    Best looking console of all time is the black Sega Saturn, bar none. :)
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  • Avatar for MonkeyDSomething #66 MonkeyDSomething 2 years ago


    For your consideration, the coolest console I own: The Sharp Twin Famicom.
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  • Avatar for metalangel #67 metalangel 2 years ago


    I could not find an NGPC in camo blue anywhere, so I had to settle for boring old silver.

    I remember my mom thought the Genesis came with the CD add-on built in... it was under that disc-shaped thing on top, right? So you either had a cartridge plugged in or a CD underneath that round lid bit, right? RIGHT?
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  • Avatar for inkybutt #68 inkybutt 2 years ago
    When the first Xbox 360 model launched I was struck by the white exterior, curves, and vertical orientation. I'd never seen anything like it. Ten years later those design elements are more common, and I'm not sure it still ranks up there. I think the Wii did a lot of those elements even better.
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  • Avatar for Seb-SE #69 Seb-SE 2 years ago
    Tough to choose, I have numerous picks that look cool in their own way. But if pressed I'd have to say that the original PS2 hardware is the first one to make me go 'wow' and admire its form next to my old Samsung tv.

    Also, props for the DS Lite's sleek looks and the GameCube. People like to diss the 'Cube, but I've always liked the toy-like boxy look. Not everything has to be 'cool' to be appealing
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  • Avatar for Stealth20k #70 Stealth20k 2 years ago
    DS lite for sure
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