Retro Game Consoles – Fourth Generation Game Console


Fourth Generation Game Console
1987-1996

Introduction

The fourth generation game consoles were much faster and more advanced consoles using 16-bit processors. However, the home computer market had been using 16/32-bit processors for several years already, offering better colour and graphics.

While home computers and game console are in different markets, many did spend more on a good home computer to have a solid computer, but also play be able to play many top games.

The fourth generation is also characterised by having many different consoles as well as many popular handheld game devices. One notable difference is Atari absence from the market, after the failure of the Atari 7800.

Atari 7800 game console

Above: Atari 7800 game console

The Major Players

Nintendo had a significant presence in the fourth generation. Having performed well with its first console, they returned with an improved 16-bit console called the Super NES. Nintendo also introduced the Game Boy, a handheld game device that was packaged with the popular Tetris.

Super Nintendo game console

Above: Super Nintendo game console

Before ending production, Nintendo had sold more than 70 million units. The Super NES was also a significant win for the company with over 50 million units sold. Nintendo was not only a market leader, but a highly successful one at that.

Sega still held a significant place in the forth generation game console market with their multi processor Sega Genesis. While a more advanced console, most game developers were too lazy to spend time learning how to code the extra processors.

As a result, the initial games were not impressive and the Sega only managed to sell 10 million units compared to Nintendo’s 50 million units.

Sega Genesis game console

Above: Sega Genesis game console

One of the popular games to take advantage of Sega’s advanced graphics, animation and sound was Sonic the Hedgehog.