Backwards Compatibility is the name given to a console or handheld that can play older games.
These older games are typically from the same company and usually offer no extra features on the GUI,aside from more comfortable controls like the 3DS' Circle Pad.
Nintendo usually allow theirs through the use of the system itself,but Sony allow you to play your games on any system compatible with their respective shopping networks.
Microsoft does not offer any form of backwards compatibility,but they have confirmed they have plans for it in the future.
- The GameBoy Advance and GameBoy Advance SP are both compatible with older GameBoy and GameBoy Color games.
- The Nintendo DS and DS Lite are both compatible with GameBoy Advance games. However, the DSi and DSi XL removed this feature.
- The Nintendo Wii can play GameCube games. The games show up on the same channel space as regular Wii Games and all show up as the GameCube symbol with the signature sound playing in the background,as opposed to the GameCube logo being animated.
Additionally,Nintendo claims the Wii has "redefined the definition of Backwards Compatibility" by introducing the Virtual Console. A New way to experience old games.
- The 3DS and 2DS can play DS cartridges and are compatible with DSiWare purchases.
- The PSP distributes digital-exclusive Playstation 1 titles on the Playstation Network available to purchase. These games are also compatible with the PS3,PS4 and PS Vita.
- Early PS3 models(20GB,60GB, and 80GB) could play PS1 and PS2 discs, however Sony have long since removed this feature in newer models.
- The PS Vita is currently the only Sony system to allow a digital selection of PSP games.