I prettied up this amazing timeline of every console & handheld release from 1977 to today

I have once again gone looking for something simple and wound up turning it into a week-long project and a thing that I feel like releasing for anyone to find and use. I was originally just looking for a list of console releases that I could mark off in a visual way to say “hey, I own that thing”. I was simply curious to see how much of the North American console landscape I ever owned myself.

Check the link below to see it at original size

But I couldn’t find anything that looked right to me and I didn’t want to spend much time on it so I put it out of mind for a while. The next time I came back to it I stumbled upon Hugues Johnson’s fantastic Console Timeline page where they break it all down into a simple, readable timeline from 1977 to today. I think it also resonated with me as this timeline basically represents my entire life starting in 1977 and as I just hit 46 years old I am squarely in the nostalgic and retrospective, what-is-a-life-anyways mindset.

As such, I kinda wanted to make it my own, ya know? If this is my life, and my life with gaming, why not jazz it up a little? Since the image is so wide and the bars are so tiny I wanted to do something simple to represent each platform. It reminded me about my old Striation theme for Emulation Station that I made back in 2016. So I started with just a simple color treatment of 2-3 shades and a logo for each platform but it quickly grew from there because, honestly, most consoles are either black, white, or some vague shade in between.

So then my design guideline became either: 1) capture the color scheme of the original hardware or 2) represent the design of its original packaging. I didn’t study the variety too much, I just kinda went with my gut on which one I liked the look of more. Of course, Nintendo has to go and release handhelds in multiple colors so the Game Boy Color, DS, and 3DS entries got some special multi-color treatments that I really like the look of. This project also reminded me about some obscure and overshadowed platforms I hadn’t thought about in a long time and even revealed a couple that I don’t think I’d ever seen before. 

This whole thing was a lot of fun and I hope you find it as interesting and revealing as I did. Check out Hugues site for much more insight and info on the history of these platforms… and then just look at my images to see something pretty. That’s my great contribution here. You can grab the images and read some more about the process in this Google Drive folder.

Let me know what you think in the comments or if there’s something specific you’d like to see (different backgrounds or arrangements). I’ll try and accommodate any requests shy of “now show every console worldwide”. I’m not crazy enough to try and tackle that one… yet.

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