Do you still call consoles "systems"?

So it‘s 1993. I’m in the second grade. “What system do you have?” is common lingo. Kids seem to know that we don‘t mean entertainment system or security system or any other system. It’s a system, you know? It‘s even in the box names: Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Genesis 16-bit Entertainment System. Jaguar 64-bit Interactive Multimedia System. People do say “game system” too, but it’s redundant.

Now we're 30 years later. I had a crisis of identity just now when I realized I probably wouldn't say "system" to refer to any present-day console. Part of this is my shifting idiolect; I'm more likely to refer to Dungeons and Dragons 5e or Pathfinder as "game systems" now. But I wonder if the shift has happened more broadly.

Is "game system" the equivalent of "how do you do, fellow kids," something people in their 30s and up might know but not the youths? Is this a matter of across-the-board popularity, like people would most commonly use "console" but sometimes use "system"? What do industry folk say, or players from different cross-sections of games?

I say this every day, wringing my hands. “What system will I buy this for?”

This is sorta the opposite. System back in the day coulda meant ‘system aka ecosystem because everything was so separate. But these days everything comes out for everything. (Except _Bloodborne 60fippies Edition_, which somehow comes out for nothing)

I think system is more appropriate than console. Console doesn't even make sense. In times of need I go to family and friends for support, not a video game system

The Oxford English Dictionary has an entry for console in a games sense, and it cites the first usage from a 1976 issue of US News & World Report:

A new variety of electronic game that can be hooked up to the family TV set. Most recent development is a small console with replaceable cartridge to provide a large number of game selections.

I also remember calling them systems growing up, and now I'm wondering when "we" started doing that, and why we went back to console later.

(the OED has no entry for "system" in a games sense)

a PS5 is a video game system for sure. you look at that thing and think it's something all right. probably full of all kinds of different boards and maps.

I say system or console almost equally I think, though I hadn‘t put much thought into it, but now I will! When do I use which? It’s a good question. I also wonder whether any younger person uses system over console…

I think I call everything PS3 and newer a console and everything before that a system

I’m twenty-two and I only use “console” in reference to non-PC systems as a collective whole, as in “Demonschool releases for PC and console later this year.” However I understand the federal agents at OED and Merriam-Webster consider this usage incorrect.

I said “system” in the early 90s for sure and I certainly remember still using it to a greater or lesser degree in the early 00s. From what I can imagine, “console” was used more to differentiate them from the emergence of 3D accelerated PC gaming.

i still call almost every handheld console a game boy unless i need to be more specific for whatever reason, so i might not be the best person to ask. but i think i‘m in the same boat as @sabertoothalex - old guys are systems, new guys are consoles, also sometimes they’re devices or machines or just their name

Which platform has the best platformers?

I think I use system, console, and “the nintendo” interchangeably.

y'all playin that death strandin on the nintendo?

@“brillpickle”#p139628 what an incredible avatar you have!

I use console and system equally. When you shut down a PS3, it refers to itself as a system.

when i was about 16 i went on some sort of late night rant in the Frequency lobby over how they‘re not systems, man, they’re consoles. i couldn't tell you what my reasoning was. “platform” also came up.

i _can_ tell ya i had a meticulously made Nicholas D. Wolfwood FreQ and am still searching for a Mike Frye i met on there who lived in the PNW and was, for many years, the only person to consistently encourage me to pursue my goal of game journalism/development or even go to college. i lost contact with him shortly after the migration to Amplitude because my network adapter blew a cap. i didn't have a computer and, as i've mentioned before, my McFarlane Toys Raiden fig fell off the tv and destroyed my DC browser disc so internet access met a second tragic end. i originally held a fundraiser at school to get the NA in the first place so there wasn't a great chance of getting another $40 in quarters from those marks so soon.

i just picked up Frequency on my lunch break the other day for $5. i don't have a PS2 though so who knows when i'll get around to playing that.

anyway, _Con Soles_? sounds like a FromSoftware game

@“Lunarchivist”#p139640 Frequency is rad.


this is wrinkling my brain

It is a caramel, caramel situation for me, depending on what I hear first in conversation.

Another similar vocab change I've noticed over the years - back in the N64/PS1 era I remember always referring to any of the AI-controlled players/enemies as “computers” or “the computer.”

e.g. "did you red shell me?" "no, it was the computer" or "the computers are cheating"

I came across someone using that phrasing again recently and it gave me a wild flashback