Ara's Console Collection

Being a fan of computergames in all their forms, its not surprising I have a collection of gaming consoles. Here are the consoles and game platforms I own and how I rate them.


My Dreamcast was one of the last to be sold in Melbourne, finding only three left on sale at Electronic Boutique. My partner and I were collecting Dreamcast games as they were dirt cheap at the time, so I bought a Dreamcast as well, along with a lightgun for 'House of the Dead 2'.

Favourite games include: 'Crazy Taxi', 'Chu Chu Rocket' and 'Half-Life'.



SEGA, 1998

It might be considered a bit old and a bit retro but the Dreamcast is still very powerful even by today's standards. The Dreamcast was SEGA's last ditch effort to regain popularity after the failure of the Saturn but sadly it didn't take off immediately. It took a few years but now its more popular than ever even though its manufacture has been discontinued for more then two years. The Dreamcast has four gamepad ports, and gamepads with D-pad and an analogue control (much like the N64) based on the Nights gamepad for the Saturn. The VMUs (Virtual Memory Unit) were revolutionary too, more than just a memory card they incorperated a screen and mini controls to allow players to upload minigames to their VMUs to play when away from the Dreamcast. Sadly this function was rarely used but the controls and screen allow you to maintain your gamesaves and even transfer them to other VMUs which was very handy. When the VMU is plugged into the controller the screen is visible and often used to display logos, graphics or information during most games. There are many accessories provided to enhance gameplay including light guns, keyboard and mouse, racing wheels and footpeddles, joysticks and arcade controllers, rumble packs, web-camera and many more. The Dreamcast legacy is still around as many of its titles are now appearing on the PS2 and Xbox and even a couple on the Gamecube. If you can get one, the Dreamcase is a affordable and great value for money console especailly now as games are being sold for next to nothing and even cheaper on pre-owned.

View my Dreamcast game collection

My Xbox doubles as my DVD player, probably getting more use that way than from games. While most people complained about the size of the original pads, I found they are the only ones that fit my large paws.

My favourite Xbox games include 'Halo' and 'Halo 2', 'Grand Theft Auto: Vice City', 'The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind', 'Lego Star Wars II' and 'Half-life 2'.



Microsoft 2002

At first impression, the Xbox is a hulking clunky brick, but there is nothing clunky about whats under the hood. True, its the largest console of its day (though only a couple of inches in all directions compared to the PS2) and with it comes the largest gamepads around (which most people complain about but I love them. The smaller S pad is also available if the original is too big) but the Xbox is certainly big when it comes to gameplay power. Being the most adcvanced of the consoles, it makes use of all the latest PC based technology, but while the parts are similar to what you have in your PC, the Xbox is a purebred gaming console through and through. The console has four gamepad ports and a build in ethernet network adaptor and broadband adaptor which means its internet ready for Xbox Live (an online gaming community for Xbox owners) and fully networkable with other Xboxes for massively multiplayer LAN games such as Halo or UT2003. The Xbox comes with its own 10Gb harddrive as well which allows you to store near infinite gamesaves but mostly designed for saving MP3s which can be played in certain games or on the Xbox straight. The Xbox also playeds DVDs though you need a remote and IR reciever first which can be bought as any gameshop (unlike the PS2 which can be controlled with a gamepad if neccessary). The Xbox comes with a huge range of games which is immpressive considering how young the console is. Games range from action, to shooters, to racing and action. The Xbox is excellent value for money, reliable and has some great games for it.

Update 2007

When the Xbox went out of production it suddenly became hard to pick on up. But luckily, when your Xbox goes poof, its easy and cheap enough to upgrade it with Xbox Media Center. XBMC allows you to play movies, mp3s and games directly from the harddrive or from a file server via a network.

View my Xbox game collection

I have a glacier GBA and its one of my favourite consoles, going everywhere with me as I like playing it on the bus or train.

My favourite GBA games are 'Bubble Bobble New and Old', 'Metroid Zero Mission' and 'Chu Chu Rocket'.

I Love my Blaze TV Tuner which can turn my GBA into a TV. Also has a line-in function which is useful for watching DVDs.


Gameboy Advance

Nintendo 2000

Nintendo still dominates the handheld console market with the Gameboy Advance, a sleek and sexy peice of kit for your pocket. The most radical thing about the GBA is its design, the brick-like vertical arrangement has been dropped in favour of the horizontal design used by alot of other older handhelds (including the Sega Gamegear, Lynx and Neo Geo Pocket) which makes the GBA more comfortable and easy to use. The GBA has the usual D-pad and A and B buttons and now also includes left and right shoulder buttons. The screen is a rich-colour high-resolution display which looks amazing - but only in full sun and from the correct angle. Obviously Nintendo thought it would be too much to put a backlight on the screen. This is the only fault as far as I can see. The range of games for the GBA is staggering, not to mention its backward compatability allows you to play any games from the original, color and pocket Gameboys, which means you can still play all your favourite games on the new unit. The GBA is nice to batteries and a fresh pair of decent batteries can last you for months. The GBA still has the ability to link units but can now allow up to four players to play a game at once. There are also a wide range or accessories available for the GBA, mostly through third party companies including link cables, pouches and carry bags, lights and even a TV tuner. The GBA is definitely a great choice for handheld gaming. Its biggest failing is the games. Chose carefully as like with all Nintendo games they are expensive and most games are cheap and nasty uses of movie or cartoon licenses or rehashes of old SNES games (which isn't too bad but annoying to have to pay full price for an old game). Still my first choice for a handheld console though the Neo Geo Pocket is a close second.

View my GBA game collection

I got one lf the last four DS units sold on special at Myer, three days before they were released in America. With all the discounts, I got my DS and Metroid Prime Hunters for $240 AUD, saving about $30 AUD. While I don't have anyone to play with at home, I often 'geek it up' on the tram home playing WiFi LAN games with one of my co-workers.

I got my Supercard passkey and Supercard NDSLite Micro online from The passkey, NDSLite card reader and a 1MB Micro SD card cost me about $160AUD (inc p&p)


DS Lite

Nintendo 2006

While not being overly impressed with the original DS, the DS Lite is a much better unit. The DS Lite is about the same size and weight of the GBA and looks much like an elongated GBA SP, only it feels solid and more durable in the hand, not flimsy and plastic. The screens are bright and good sized, very clear with sharp resolution. The touch screen is accurate and responsive - even with using your finger instead of a stylus. This makes pressing on-screen buttons during a game easy and intuitive. The unit itself has two slots, one for the DS games and one for GBA games, which is nice, making it one level backward compatiable (but it won't play GBO or GBC games). The unit also has alot of built in options and features, much like the NeoGeo Pocket. It had date and time, as well as alot of personalising features (for online) and comes with Pictochat built in to make use of its WiFi capabilities. WiFi is where the DS shines, able to piggy back off wireless internet connections or commune with up to 15 other DSs within a 10 meter area. The DS allows you to download the games of neighbouring DSs to allow you to join in, so you don't always need to have the same game as everyone else. If you have a card, you can join the Wi-Fi community all over the world, your stats can even be recorded on Nintendo's central Gaming Hub for other people to see (this option can be disabled). Most games even allow you to maintain a list of friends and rivals (like Metroid Prime: Hunters and Mario Kart DS). The DS carts are not unlike a fat SD card, with a push-to-eject system. The DS has internal rechargable batteries but they last for a great many hours - for a device with two bright screens and a WiFi unit - and take only two to three hours to charge. Over all, the DS is like a wider, better designed SP with two bright, clear screens, better battery life and WiFi capatilities. While the DS won't play you favourite Gameboy games, it will do nearly everything else short of singing and dancing.

Update 2006

Shortly after buying my NDSL I was introduced to the world of NDSL Homebrew. Homebrew is open-source software written by amatures specificly for the NDS, allowing you to play homebrew ROMs and programs, effectively turning it into a wireless chat device, dual screen organiser, Media player and more. There are a range of methods of running homebrew on your NDS, including products produced by Supercard and M3 which require a passcard (to boot the NDS) and a memory card (where you store your homebrew). I have a Supercard Passcard v2.0 and an NDSLite Micro SD card reader. I use these to play music, podcasts and videos on my NDSL as well as use it as a MSN chat device over a wireless network.

View my NDS game collection

I found my Lynx at a Flea Market while on holiday in Brisbane and bought it with six games for $12AUD. It's in excellent condition and works perfectly. Bargain!

My partner and I have three of these consoles between us now.



Atari 1989 - 1994

In the late 80s, electronic technology finally reached the point where portable consoles were possible; hand-held machines you chould change the cartridge to play different games. The Atari Lynx was one of the first of the modern range of handhelds, and one of the larger and most expensive, which led to its lack of popularity being outsold by the more popular Nintendo Gameboy. The Lynx is a brick, no doubt about that but unlike the Gameboy, it was packed with features including a true back-lit LED display, ambidexterous controls, 'stand by' mode and much more. It was even linkable with another Lynx for two player games. But it was power hungry, chewing its way though six AA batteries at a time. While there was a large range of games they were hard to find, though these days, if you are lucky enough to find some they are fairly cheap. The Lynx is one of the best best original hand-held consles around, if you can live with its size.