The Ebuyer guide to games consoles
A look at games consoles
Video games have, for a long time, been a favourite pastime, giving players a way to unwind and immerse themselves in a completely different world.
Of course, these games have come a long way since the days of the original Super Mario Brothers and Duck Hunt on the Nintendo Entertainment System. Today, depending on the title, they can incorporate features like realistic graphics, voice activation and motion-controlled game play.
What's more, games are no longer just about completing a mission or shooting a digital gun at your television screen.
Indeed, a number of titles have been released that help you get in shape,
learn how to dance or pretend you're a member of your very own rock band.
It's no wonder that, with so many options available, playing video games has become an activity that every member of the family can enjoy - from kids to parents and even grandparents. What's more, the modern technology allows you to connect your system to the internet, meaning you can play against loved ones or friends anywhere in the world.
So which games console should you select? There are a number of options on the market, giving you a wide range of choice.
The original Xbox was launched in 2001 and it became an instant hit among gamers due to its sixth-generation technology. This included 128-bit graphics and Xbox Live service for online gaming.
In 2005, a new version was released. Called the Xbox 360, it is a seventh-generation console and more than 65 million units have been sold worldwide since its launch....more
As well as the wide range of games available, the Xbox 360 offers users the chance to connect online to stream video and music content or chat with friends and family.
There's also the Xbox Kinect, an add-on feature that allows you to control certain games with just the movement of your body. This is especially useful for titles that feature dancing or exercise movements, plus the Kinect makes voice control possible.
A line of consoles that began in 1994, the PlayStation was the first gaming unit to sell more than 100 million units.
The PlayStation 3 was launched in 2009. It is physically smaller than its predecessors and consumes significantly less electricity. However, don't let its diminutive size fool you! Inside, this little console packs a big punch....more
Unlike its competition, the PS3 uses Blu-ray technology, meaning that games can be extremely complicated, with high-def images and amazing sound - and still only use one disc and run effortlessly. You can also use the device to play Blu-ray movies and DVDs, so you'll need one less device in your television cabinet.
What's more, Netflix has teamed up with PlayStation in the UK. This means that you can subscribe to the service to stream movies from the internet through your PS3 and onto your television, giving you a huge film library to choose from.
For those who want to take their gaming on the go, the PSP - or PlayStation Portable - is an excellent option. Meanwhile, the PS Vita is the newest handheld console from the brand. It was released in 2011 and features a touchscreen, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi technology. Models are also available with 3G connectivity.
The Nintendo Wii was first launched in 2006 and became a fast favourite due to its unique style of game control.
Not only are the controls - called Wii-motes - on the Wii wireless, they are also motion sensitive, giving players a completely different way to interact with the game. Plus, with optional add-ons like the joystick and balance board, the console opens up a variety of possibilities....more
In addition, the Nintendo Wii has a much broader target demographic than other systems. While most consoles offer games targeted at the entire family, the Wii really excels on this front, with a vast selection of titles specifically designed for young children, girls and women, as well as games meant to be played by the whole family at once.
Alternatively, if you're looking for a handheld console, the Nintendo DS has become a popular choice, with a similar range of games targeted at a wider audience.