Despite the interactive entertainment industry's manic obsession with relentless technological progress, improved audio visual capability and cutting-edge artificial intelligence, the enduring popularity of vintage software proves that good old-fashioned gameplay remains the biggest draw for most players. All three current console manufacturers offer the ability to digitally download past classics to their systems, and on the PC, retro enthusiasts are ably served by the likes of Steam and GOG. Clearly, all the deferred rendering, anisotropic filtering and bump mapping in the world can't change the fact that good games never die, they just mature.
While it's unquestionably a positive thing that modern-day players have access to such a wide range of retro titles through current-generation hardware, there's a definite buzz to playing on the original systems. The unmistakable feel of the authentic joypad, the sound of a cartridge clicking home and the strangely addictive pleasure of sourcing games in their original packaging - all of these elements drive a retro gaming industry which is worth millions worldwide, and shows no signs of flagging.
Many collectors do it for the love of the systems; they might have owned a particular console when they were younger, and now that they possess a large disposable income wish to revisit their misspent youth and attempt to replicate the thrill they got when they saw Street Fighter II running for the first time on a Super Nintendo. Younger collectors don't have that nostalgic link, yet the high esteem in which some of these ground-breaking machines are held means that even those who weren't even born during the original release period still crave a piece of history.
Below is a selection of some of the world's most popular and collectible vintage gaming machines, some of which you'll no doubt be familiar with, others possibly less so. Regardless of whether or not you recognise the name or can recall when you last booted one up, each of these platforms is well worth reassessing from a modern perspective.

The RPG King: Super Nintendo

Nintendo faced a stern challenge when it came to creating the successor for its 8-bit NES, but the Super Nintendo did not disappoint. Launched as the Super Famicom in Japan, there were reports of buyers being mugged for their newly-acquired consoles, such was the unprecedented demand.
"While heavily criticized for its seemingly slow processor, the Super Nintendo quickly became the system of choice for some of the best platformers and shoot 'em ups to come out of the 16-bit generation," explains Nintendo Life's Corbie Dillard. "It didn't hurt that the system was packaged with what is still one of the greatest Super Mario titles ever crafted."
Nintendo enjoyed what was arguably its golden era with this console, producing some brilliant titles. To supplement games like F-Zero, Super Metroid, Yoshi's Island and Pilotwings, the SNES was ably supported by every developer worth their salt, with the likes of Konami, Capcom, Square, Irem, Hudson, Taito, Koei and Enix all throwing their weight behind the machine. The list of third-party must-have titles is exhaustive: Super Ghouls 'n' Ghosts, Cybernator, Parodius, Super Castlevania IV and Axelay - amongst many, many others - proving to be solid gold slices of interactive brilliance. However, it's for its services to the RPG genre that the SNES is possibly best remembered.