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Out Of Every Nintendo Console, This One Stands Above The Rest

Nintendo's first home gaming console came out in 1977, making it the oldest company in the industry that's still producing systems (second oldest if you count the Atari VCS, which finally came out after 4 years of development). However, its breakout platform, the NES, didn't fully release in the U.S. until October 18, 1985. In the years since, the company has launched a lot of consoles, both home and handheld (not to mention a highly successful hybrid). While Nintendo's had a few flops, like the Wii U and the failed Virtual Boy, the gaming giant has had a great run overall. With so many hit systems, how do you pick a favorite?

Many people consider the Wii their favorite Nintendo console, but does that mean it truly stands above the rest? Part of its success is due to the fact that it drew in a large base of non-gamers (via Pittsburgh Post Gazette). Could sales figures determine the top-ranking system? The DS is Nintendo's best-selling console, so surely that makes it number one, right?

Establishing the true Nintendo champion may be a little more involved than looking at sales figures and poll results.

The Super Nintendo takes silver

Several websites have compiled their own ranking lists, and the Super Nintendo tends to take the number one spot. It's considered the best by Kevin Webb of Insider, Matthew Byrd of Den of Geek, and the writers at Goomba Stomp, and it came in second on both Steven Richtmyer's ranking for Screen Rant and Nintendo Life's list. With so many online publications in agreement, it might make sense to hand the crown to the 16-bit champion, but there's one thing standing in the way: Nintendo's official sales figures.

Despite its popularity and legacy, the SNES sold a lot less than many other notable Nintendo systems, including the original NES, the Game Boy, and the Wii, to name a few. Perhaps the console that offers the best of both worlds in terms of ranking and sales is the Nintendo Switch. After all, it's at least in the top five of all those lists (not to mention the number one favorite of Nintendo Life) and it's the fourth-best-selling Nintendo system and counting. Combining all this information certainly makes the Switch a strong contender, but its merits go beyond sales data and rankings.

Why the Switch rules over all other Nintendo consoles

In February 2021, industry insider Daniel Ahmad shared a graph on Twitter comparing the Switch's sales figures to the first four PlayStations, Xbox 360, and Wii "after 46 months on the market." Nintendo's hybrid had reached nearly 80 million units in sales at that point of maturity, beating out all the aforementioned systems.

Coming off the heels of a holiday season that saw the launch of both the PS5 and Xbox Series X, CNN's Michael Andronico called it "the best console you can buy" due to its strong library and versatility. Similarly, Gene Park of The Washington Post considered it his "favorite gaming console ever." He even gave a nod to the Super Nintendo in his assessment, but ultimately ceded the honor to the Switch. In addition to seamlessly blending portable and home gaming into a single piece of hardware, Park added that the system combines original first-party games with titles throughout gaming history into "a single, attractive and deceptively powerful handheld device."

Park summarized the power and appeal of the Switch, stating, "There's a calming comfort that's hard to describe, knowing that four of the five games I'd bring with me to a deserted island would actually be playable on a deserted island (for as long as the battery lasts, at least)."