I suppse the NES wasn't amazing compared to the Master System, which was newer tech, to be fair to Nintendo. Master System could pull of stff that even looked 16 bit-ish, which was really nice for the time. The NES just had practically all the games, so I see what you mean about the fond memories being of the software, not the hardware.
I suppose the SNES and to a lesser degree the NES were very good consoles, but for the most part Nintendo consoles (Gameboy doesn't count since it is not a console) have been pieces of shit.
The SNES takes a shit on the Genesis in terms of specs though. I loved my SNES, though I love the Genesis and it's library too. (I'm sure others will debate this, but I'll take Mode 7 + exponentially more colors + better sound any day of the week. Or, more accurately, I'll take both! I recently bought an adapter that allows Megadrive/Gen games to be played through my SNES anyway.)
Not sure why they stuck with the controller design, but the N64 was originally going to be a Wii-like system. Where the cable is now is where the motion sensor was going to be placed. Holding the 2 outer grips would have been great for racing games, where you turn the wheel. Using one hand to grip the middle stick and using the Z button as a trigger would have been perfect for on-rails shooting games. The controller was a great idea IF they were able to get the motion control right, which they simply couldn't back then. As it is, it's pretty bad; as it was intended, it woulda been damn good.
The N64 had one of the worst controllers ever to grace a major game console.
The Gamecube controller is still one of the most comfortable controllers ever made, as far as I'm concerned. The Xbox 360 controller is more or less the exact same, though the main 4 buttons are laid out much better on the 360. (Exact same as the SNES layout, no surprise there.) Here's a breif video where I compare the two, actually: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Smp4xDtOmW8 - I made this because people were accusing Nintendo of "stealing" the 360 layout for their Wii U pro controllers. Ha.
The Gamecube was a gloryfied purple lunchbox with a wierd controller
I agree entirely. Compared to the Gamecube, the Wii was a major disappointment. The graphics were no better, and the motion control was only so-so. There were only a few games, and they weren't as good as their Gamecube counterparts (Smash Bros. Melee is WAY better than Brawl, in my opinion, Mario Kart: Double Dash is better than MKWii, other than the internet option..)
the Wii was basically just one big gimick that became extremely popular because it appealed to lots of casual gamers, and now we have the Wii U which is like the Wii just more expensive and with an even more stupid controller.
I'm not really sure where I stand about the whole console thing. I'm never getting a Wii U, and I'd love to have Mario games on XBox, but is it a good business decision for them to do so? Hard to say. Great topic for a thread, by the way!