Posted July 26, 2012 by Jon Burrows in Games

Top 5 Video Game Consoles that Failed

Top 5 Video Game Consoles that Failed


Throughout history technological advances have been the cornerstone of the civilization of man. Yet with every great success there must be at least ten great failures. The video game console industry is no different. Join me as we revisit five of the most horrid failures of the game console industry.

No. 5: Apple Bandai Pippin

A majority of you probably haven’t even heard of the Pippin and for good reason.  In 1996 Steve Jobs was demoted from CEO to Apple Advisor. Over the two years that followed, Apple almost went bankrupt until Steve decided to step back up and in only one year made the company profitable again.  During this sad iPeriod some genius or group of geniuses sat around and had an idea that went something like this…”Let’s make it really expensive (at the time $599 was out of this world), and lets only make a handful of games for it, and we should top that off with only making a few of them and not marketing it at all”.  Amazingly everyone agreed!

No. 4: Sega 32x

Sega is synonymous for failed consoles many more of their consoles could have made the list but I deemed it unfair to suck the glory from the ones below. The 32x was arguably one of the biggest bone head moves in gaming history.  In 1994 Sega USA started working this disappointment while Sega Japan was already developing the Saturn.  Maybe an email or phone call between offices would have been ideal?

Sega 32x was an add-on for the Genesis (A console that had already tanked in the US market), and the 32x didn’t really do anything to help.  Most of the 32x game developers were using 3D technology and since the system wasn’t really designed to handle it most of the games looked blocky and choppy.  Only about 40 games were released for this mistake and a few of them required the Genesis, CD, and 32x to play.

It was a $150 accessory for a $100 system which was the metaphorical equivalent of shoveling a large pile of poo on to a smaller pile of poo and burying it all with $250.

No. 3 Atari Jaguar

To be fair and honest I have never actually seen one of these working.  I found one at a yard sale once for $5 (with the Aliens vs. Predators game) and it didn’t work… in retrospect I should have went for the matching set of Cool Whip salad bowls with chili stains.
Introduced in 1993 and at a price of $250, Atari reported they shipped 17,000 units to their test market of NYC and SF using the tagline “Do the Math” boasting their system as being 64-bit (the competition were all 16 and 32 bit).  This was a shrewd lie much like the interpolated zoom fiasco from the digital camera companies in the early 2000’s.  The main processor was 16-bit with a secondary 16-bit processor and a 32-bit graphics chip (16+16+32=Taurus flatus).

No. 2:  Pioneer LaserActive

In 1993 you could pay $1000 for a system as big as a surround system that uses laser disc, as expected almost no one did.  The laser disc was one of the biggest blunders in console history it was bigger than a record and held less data than VHS and was priced comparable to a small island.

The LaserActive was ridiculously priced at $969 for the console itself and offered a Sega Genesis module for $600 and a Sega CD module for $230.  So for the price of a used car you could play almost every crappy system on the market in the early 90’s.  Less than 40 games were released for the system at a price of over $100 each.  Needless to say my blue-collar parents were not counted among the 10,000 suckers that purchased this behemoth. To be honest at 13, I was more interested in spending $1000 trying to touch my first boob.

No. 1: Nintendo Virtual Boy

I can almost assure you that somewhere there is a break-room at Nintendo with a poster of this titled “oops!”
The Virtual Boy was the biggest blunder anyone in the gaming industry has made to date.  This was such a poorly designed system that it made Time magazines “50 worst inventions” in the May Issue of 2010.

They said it was state of the art and portable, but the 6 AA batteries drained in less than 2 hours, it weighed 2 lbs and you had to have a table to play it.  Don’t worry about the 2 hour battery life because you can only play it for about 15 mins before the game auto paused  to keep your eyes from hurting, because the only colors were red and black.  That’s right cutting edge VR from Nintendo in an amazing 2 colors.  They even had a disclaimer on the box that it may cause eye strain and vision problems.

Knowing that the video dangers might slow sales down, Nintendo made a stellar decision to release a whopping 14 titles.
Is there is any question why this game is number one in my doo doo bucket?

I would love to hear you all agree with my choices…and you will, or I will not share my bacon reserve with you when the zombies attack!

Jon Burrows

An exclusive writer for Geek Smash, Jon hails from Mississippi and has a passion for music, comic-books, and writing. He collects antique cars and enjoys shooting handguns. Jon sings in his church choir, volunteers his time helping the Salvation Army at local events and doubles as Santa during Christmas season.