best retro gaming console for beginners

Which Retro Gaming Console Is Best for Beginners?

It’s both a blessing and a curse that there are so many retro gaming consoles. It can be hard for beginners to know where to start their retro game collecting journey, especially for younger gamers who don’t have a retro gaming console to start out with.

However, deciding which system to collect for is part of the fun! Whether you’re a budding young retro game hoarder or an older fella who regrets trading in their games years ago, here are some of the best retro gaming consoles for beginners.

Sony PlayStation (PS1/PSX)

The Sony PlayStation is an absolute joy to collect for. The PlayStation has a humongous library of over 3,000 games (including all regions), and the vast majority of games are affordable. As of right now, the average price of a PlayStation game is under $12, which is cheaper than most retro gaming consoles. Additionally, the console itself is very affordable — whether you’re playing on an original PlayStation, a PSone, or a PlayStation 2.


  • Massive library of games
  • Affordable prices
  • Natively outputs RGB video for the best possible video quality
  • Games can be played on an original PS, PSone, and PS2


  • Disc-based media is prone to damage like scratches and scuffs
  • Difficult to load and play ROMs

Super Nintendo

Everybody loves the Super Nintendo because it has classic games like Super Mario World, Super Castlevania IV, Harvest Moon, Mario Kart, and so much more. Even if the classic games don’t float your boat, the SNES had a big library of games, which means there are hidden gems on this console for everyone.


  • Large library of games
  • Has classic and collectible games like Super Mario World
  • Flash cart compatible to easily play ROMs
  • Every normal style SNES can output RGB video natively


  • SNES games tend to be a bit more expensive
  • Hard to find complete copies of games

Sega Genesis

I don’t want to reignite the console war, but some people might prefer collecting for the Sega Genesis over the Super Nintendo. The Sega Genesis might not have displayed as much colors, but its library took advantage of its fast processing power. And if you like Sonic more than Mario, you should go for it.


  • The average cost of Genesis games is $10 cheaper than the average cost of SNES games, according to Price Charting
  • The Sega Genesis console itself is dirt cheap
  • The console’s flagship games like Sonic are inexpensive
  • Flash cart compatible to easily play ROMs
  • Natively output RGB video
  • Easier to find complete copies of games than other cartridge-based retro gaming consoles


  • Smaller library of games than the Super Nintendo

Nintendo Wii

The Nintendo Wii isn’t technically a retro gaming console, but it’s probably the best emulation machine that exists… and it can run GameCube games!


  • Easily modded to run ROMs for several different retro gaming consoles
  • Natively supports Component video
  • Can play GameCube games


  • Not all retro games run perfectly on emulation
  • Need to use motion controls to navigate the menu

Sony PlayStation 2

The PlayStation 2 was immensely popular, selling over 155 million consoles. Because of the PlayStation 2’s popularity, it had a ton of great games. And you can always pop in your original PlayStation games if PS2 games don’t cut it for you.



  • Some PlayStation games not compatible with the PS2


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