Retrogaming Consoles You Should Definitely Try  


Even as the gaming industry advances closer and closer to the point of truly photorealistic graphics, many of us still love to look back from time to time and appreciate the games and consoles from the past that paved the way for these modern developments.

The humble beginnings of classic games from consoles such as the Sega Saturn, Sega Dreamcast, Neo Geo, PSP and DS to name a few and all the games that we all used to love back in the day.


Even today there are a number of flaws in the gaming industry such as incomplete games releases, buggy or straight-up broken games. Many modern games rely heavily on microtransactions to make their money, so it is nice to go back in time every so often and relive the classics from a simpler time where the joy of gaming still seemed to be prioritized over profit.

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Sega Dreamcast

Sega Dream Cast - must have retro game consoles

The Dreamcast, released in Japan on 27th November 1998 was the fourth and last console to be released by Sega, and came after the Sega Saturn. The Dreamcast was a great success and sold over 9.13 millions units by the time it was discontinued.

Along with this console came a library of beloved games such as Sonic Adventure (the first appearance of our beloved blue hedgehog on Dreamcast), Crazy Taxi, and Soul Calibur to name just a few.

Also Read: How To Buy Retro Games And Consoles From Japan

If you’re a fan of retro games, especially if emulation does doesn’t scratch that itch, we highly recommended getting your hands on one of these consoles to enjoy the classics the way they were intended. Note however that it is region locked, so you won’t be able to play games obtained from other regions if for example your unit is from Japan but your games aren’t.

As for some history and facts about the Sega Dreamcast:

  • It was the first 128-bit machine released
  • Sold out completely in Japan on the first day of release (November 27th, 1998)
  • By February 1999 over 900,000 units had been sold
  • It was one of the first consoles to have an internet connection
  • It used VGA cables (since HDMI didn’t exist until 2002!)

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Sega Saturn

sega saturn console set mk2

The predecessor to the Dreamcast, Sega’s 32-bit Saturn console is another classic. It was released on 22th November 1994 and succeeded the Sega Megadrive. Throughout its life span it sold 17.4 million units between the launch in 1994 to its discontinuation in 2001.

This console was very popular in Japan thanks especially to the commercial made by Segata Sanshiro who devoted his life to the Sega Saturn.

The first Sega console to have 3D Graphics, it was unfortunately region locked meaning you wouldn’t be able to play games that are from different regions.

Popular games such as Virtua Cop which can be played with the light gun accessory.

Other popular games were those such as such as Sega Rally Championship (a decent arcade port), Street Fighter and Virtua Fighter 2. Virtua Fighter remains popular, with sequels, releases and updates on multiple platforms as recently as 2023, and another release rumored to be in the pipeline as of 2024!

Also Read: 7 Exclusive Japanese Game Consoles That Didn’t Make It Overseas

Development began in 1992 and was the first console to be released with 3D graphics, a true 32-bit console that used disks instead of cartridges. It ended up being Sega Megadrive competitor, but made by the same company!

In its lifespan there were a total of 1,046 games produced for the Sega Saturn, but out of these, a total of 785 were released exclusively in the Japanese market.

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Neo Geo AES

The Neo Geo AES is another classic console which was originally a MVS (Multi Video System)coin-operated arcade unit. It was later released for home use as the Neo Geo AES (Advanced Entertainment System) on April 26th 1990, and is a ROM cartridge operated console.

neo geo aes console set

Popular games for this console were “Samurai Shodown” (a collection of 6 games), Metal Slug (a side scrolling shooting game released in 1996), “The Last Blade” and “King of Fighters 98: The Slugfest” (a fighting game released in 1998). It increased in popularity even further with the release of “Vanguard”, a side scrolling space shooting game.

Also Read: 10 Rare And Forgotten Japanese Game Consoles

This retro classic is available via ZenMarket, so we recommended getting your hands on one to enjoy this classic arcade console in home-use console format. The original Neo Geo MVS arcade unit was released first, followed by the Neo Geo AES, and the Neo Geo CD. There was eventually also a handheld version released, called the Neo Geo Pocket.

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Nintendo DS

nintendo ds silver

The Nintendo DS is another classic that was released in Japan on December 4th, 2004. This handheld console was the first handheld to have 2 screens. The initials DS stands for Dual Screen, the bottom screen being a touchscreen.

This handheld console’s main competitor was the PSP for the seventh generation of game consoles.

Also Read: Best Gameboy Models: A Complete Buyer’s Guide

Popular games released in Japan for this were “Ni No Kuni: Domination of Dark Djinn”, a role playing released in 2010, “XenoSaga” a series of role playing games first released in 2006, “Mugen No Frontier: Super Robot Taisen OG Saga” another classic JRPG game released in 2005.

nintendo ds games

This wasn’t the first handheld to feature a touchscreen or multiple screens but is said to have brought these features to the mainstream. Development of the Nintendo DS began around mid 2002.

Nintendo DS was backward compatible so was also able to play Gameboy Advance game cartridges.

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Sony PSP

sony psp 1000

The main competition of the DS at the time was this console, the PSP or “Playstation Portable”. Released in Japan on 12 December 2004. This was the first handheld competition against Nintendo, who had dominated the handheld market since the release of the Gameboy Advance.

The PSP used a type of disk called UMD or Universal Media Disk, which was not just for games, since movies were also released in this format, meaning the PSP was capable of playing both movies and games.

sony psp umd

Particularly popular games released in Japan for the PSP were those such as “Nayuta no Kiseki”, an action role playing game, “Digimon Adventure”, a role playing game set in the same universe as the popular series of the same name. “Valkyrie Chronicles” was another popular game released in the Japanese market, a tactical role playing game developed by Sega.

This handheld was revolutionary at the time and is still worth revisiting to this day. The good news is, with ZenMarket you can find deals on this device direct from Japan, along with the games mentioned and many other games that were released for the PSP and various other consoles!

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