History of video game consoles (fourth generation)

video game console generation

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.

green - NTSC, blue - PAL, or switching to PAL, orange - SECAM, olive - no information

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.

The next generation would be the one that changed everything.

Home video game consoles change

Comparison change

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

US$399.99 (Silver version)

Release date
Media HuCard (card-shaped cartridge)

CD-ROM (Turbo CD add-on)


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


Magnetic disc (Japan only)[1]


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

Worldwide sales change

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

Console Game Boy Atari Lynx Sega Game Gear TurboExpress
Manufacturer Nintendo Atari Sega NEC
Launch price ¥12,500[13]
US$189.99 ¥14,500
Release date   April 21, 1989
  August 1989
  September 1989
  October 6, 1990
  April 26, 1991
  April 26, 1991
  November 16, 1990
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

Popular games change

Notes change

  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

  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. Archived from the original on 2012-04-14. 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. Archived from the original on 2012-09-05. 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. Retrieved 2008-10-25.
  6. "Super NES". Classic Systems. Nintendo. Archived from the original on 2007-07-14. 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. Retrieved 2010-01-02.
  8. Ken Polsson. "Chronology of Sega Video Games 1952-1993". Archived from the original on 2006-12-17. Retrieved 2013-05-22. 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. Retrieved 2012-08-06.
  10. Alucard em Quarta-feira (2005-08-31). "A História do Mega Drive" (in Portuguese). gamehall.uol.com.br. Retrieved 2008-03-06.[permanent dead link]
  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. 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. Retrieved 2008-10-25.
  13. "Game Boy History". Nintendo. Archived from the original on 2021-03-08. 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.
  15. Melanson, Donald (2006-03-03). "A Brief History of Handheld Video Games". Engadget. Retrieved 2009-01-27.
  16. "Consolidated Sales Transition by Region" (PDF). Nintendo. 2010-01-27. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2010-02-14. Retrieved 2010-02-14.
  17. "Game Boy". A Brief History of Game Console Warfare. BusinessWeek. Archived from the original on 2007-05-09. Retrieved 2008-07-30.
  18. "Did you know?". Nintendo. Archived from the original on 2007-11-09. Retrieved 2007-11-26.
  19. "Japan Platinum Game Chart". The Magic Box. Archived from the original on 2007-12-13. Retrieved 2007-11-26.
  20. "US Platinum Videogame Chart". The Magic Box. Archived from the original on 2007-01-06. Retrieved 2007-11-26.
  21. Gamate Archive Archived 2011-05-11 at the Wayback Machine, Video Game Gazette. Retrieved 2010-06-14.
  22. "100 Games Of All Time". gamers.com. Archived from the original on 2003-06-11. Retrieved 2006-09-03.
  23. "CAPCOM - Platinum Titles". Archived from the original on 2007-12-17. Retrieved 2013-05-22.