Gaming is a multi billion dollar industry, but for every PS2 (138 million sold) there is a Pippin (42,ooo sold). Here are a few of those forgotten console and handheld systems, along with a couple you probably never even knew existed. Like the Pippin. To narrow down the laundry list of competitors some contenders were disqualified based largely on two stipulations.
First, it had to be clearly defined as a gaming system. The N-Gage for example was sidelined as it was actually a Nokia Series 60 platform phone that was redesigned for the growing mobile gaming market. This redesign however rendered its functionality as a phone all but useless. While it didn’t live up to expectations, the first generation alone sold more than twice as many units as the best selling console on this list. Nokia actively developed the platform up until this past Fall and will continue N-Gage application service throughout the year. This also excluded a number of systems that were marketed as computers with an emphasis on gaming.
Second, it must be played as a stand alone unit. This most notably discounts the infamous CD based add-ons a number of consoles introduced largely as marketing ploys. The near universally despised 32X is omitted for the same reason. It is worth noting though that the 32X was a failure by design. Despite receiving initial orders for over one million units in the US alone, Sega only shipped 600,000 of the cartridge upgrade then pulled all support to focus it’s energy on the soon to be released Saturn. This also meant that a number of 32X games, such as the highly anticipated console debut of Doom, were released unfinished if at all.
Also absent is the controversial Jaguar. It may have been the final nail in the coffin of former console king Atari, but it has since developed a massive cult following. This has lead to a steady stream of homebrew games developed by rabid fans hungry for new content. With these rules and exceptions in place, here are five worst video game systems of all time. So sit back, relax, wear your marios bros shirts and read on and be informed of these worst videos ever created in the gaming world.
- Virtual Boy
While Nintendo easily won this latest round of the hardware wars by focusing on a broad demographic that includes the entire family, rather than just those who identify themselves as gamers, this blemish is still visible fifteen years later. Hoping to bridge the gap between their massively successful handheld systems and consoles, while cashing in on the virtual reality craze of the 90’s, Nintendo unleashed this 32-bit eyepiece display portable console which took PC Worlds #5 slot on “The Ugliest Products in Tech History” list. It’s “true 3D” monochromatic graphics consisted of red LED pixels on a black background, which some players complained brought on head aches. Of it’s 22 games only 14 were released in the United States, and just 800,000 systems were shipped. One hundred of these were discovered, still sealed, in a Dubai warehouse in 2008. Tiger released the eerily similar R-Zone around the same time.
While successful in their own right, Sega trailed behind rival Nintendo in the 8-bit, 16-bit and handheld fields. For the record Saturn, their stand alone entry in the 32-bit face off, while only a moderate seller easily defeated Nintendo’s Virtual Boy. The Nomad was Sega’s attempt at extending the life of their extensive 16-bit cartridge library with a handheld that played existing Mega Drive/Genesis titles. Unlike its console counterparts it could play nearly any game regardless of region, but sold just over one million units and was not released in PAL territories.
This was the portable version of the third place, despite being first to the market, 16-bit PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16 console. Like Sega’s Nomad released five years later, the TurboExpress utilized the same media (memory cards as opposed to the traditional cartridge) as it’s console counterpart. It sold a third more units than the Nomad, but neither was in the same ballpark as their big brothers.
The iPod App Store may be flooded with games, but in 1995 Apple’s joint venture into gaming with toy company Bandai fell on deaf ears. With just 42,000 sold it made fellow famed failures 3do and Intellivision seem like break out hits with two and three million units moved respectively. It not only wasn’t comparable to its more affordably priced competitors, but its boomerang shaped controller made it difficult to play the eighteen titles released in the U.S.
This Hasbro developed system easily wins the top spot thanks to the fact that it was never released, even though a number of games were produced for it. Those games, including the cult hit Sewer Shark and the notorious Night Trap, later appeared on CD based consoles. NEMO’s games weren’t on disc, or cartridge for that matter, but on VHS tapes. The control system allowed players to switch between tapes in the system which consisted largely of FMV (full motion video) game footage. A cheat code could be used to unlock footage of a prototype of the NEMO on the original Sega CD release of Night Trap. A VHS tape based console, Action Max, was released by World of Wonder in 1987 though it required an existing VCR to play. Members of the very small following Action Max garnered transferred it’s few existing games to DVD-R which is reportedly still compatible with it’s Wii like sensor. According to some sites it is even possible to create new games using footage that contains the proper visual cues.