2.SEGA Dreamcast [1999]

The Dreamcast represented the height of Sega’s creative output; games like Chu Chu Rocket, Jet Grind Radio, Space Channel 5, Shenmue, and dozens more formed a collection of creative, fun, and quirky games that you’d be hard-pressed to find in such abundance on any other platform. Seriously, where else can you find a title like Seaman that lets you interact with an odd man-fish hybrid using just a microphone and your voice?

Shooters were well represented in Gigawing, Mars Matrix, and other tough-as-nails shmups; the much beloved NFL 2K series began a short (but brilliant) run as it chased Madden; and, outside of the Neo Geo, you’ll be hard pressed to find another system with a rich library of hardcore fighters such as Capcom vs. SNK 2, Marvel vs. Capcom 2, and Street Fighter III: Third Strike.

A built-in Ethernet jack let gamers mix it up online without pricey or clunky add-ons (anticipating Xbox Live), or surf the Web with an included browser. Even the controllers were innovative; they featured slots for VMUs (Virtual Memory Units), removable storage with auxiliary display and buttons that allowed gamers to play mini-games (downloaded from full-fledged games) on the road. It was fresh. It was fun. It was the best.

Sega pulled the plug on the Dreamcast a year and a half after its debut, due to financial difficulties and gamer interest in the coming PlayStation 2, but, in its brief run, it was the greatest video game console of all time.