This article is pretty self explanatory, right? It is a list of the consoles I think are the worst, which in turn means this is just my silly opinion. I should also stress that this list only contains consoles I have at least tried. I am aware that there can be even worse consoles out there such as the LJN Video Art or the R-Zone by Tiger Electronics, but it is simply mean and stupid to talk about something I have not experienced properly for myself. I will also exclude add-ons as they cannot function on their own, and including any rip-off or bootleg consoles simply feels like cheating. If you legitimately have fond memories of any of these entries here, I am happy for you. After all, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. With all of this said, here are some (fascinating) trash.
#12 Virtual Boy – Rather be dead, than go red
I love this thing. I have more interest in the Virtual Boy as a piece of gaming history, than I have for even the N64. Going for virtual reality this early with solid 3D effects, is quite an impressive achievement. Unfortunately, this is also a clear example of the stupidity and lack of general care that can come from Nintendo. It is a company that loves new gimmicks, but are not always good at utilising them. This is severely easy to see here, as most of the games for it never truly took the concept of virtual reality to the forefront. Only the 3D technology. Not to mention, it has a clunky design with no head strap that made it into an uncomfortable thing to play on a table with.
Though the creaming achievement is the eye strain it can give. The Virtual Boy was made when the technology was in its earlier stage and it probably needed more time in order to make its concept work better. To be somewhat positive, while it had its sheer of problems and underwhelming games, it also had some solid entries I would love to see re-released. For example, Teleroboxer is a fantastic first-person boxing game that is a wonderful showcase for the system’s capabilities, as it even uses both D-pads and contain neat visual effects for both immersion and for making itself into a neat take on the sport. Sadly, while there are probably three games I would love to see re-released, it is hard to say I do not understand why it flopped. Uncomfortable and underdeveloped.
#11 Gizmondo – Cannot do anything right
I could certainly talk about the history of its creation and the director of the company, Stefan Eriksson, but that is not really what I would like to focus on. Gizmondo was a strange console that had a lot to it. GPS, a music player, built-in camera, could receive SMS if it had a SIM card inside, and more strange integrations. In fact, it had arguably too much to it. This handheld contained a mess of content that was never utilised and quickly outdated by better hardware shortly after its launch. There is one thing about having the games being outdated as they can still be entertaining, but by having the other useless functionalities being a main selling point, makes them already bad signs of things to come.
The worst offender though, is that this thing costed 400 dollars upon its release! You could get a cheaper version of it (which was still more expensive than the released PSP and DS), but it forced upon you multiple ads. This is just terrible. However, there were some solid titles to play on it for the short rides on the bus and due to it being easy to hook up to a PC, you could use this as a personal emulator! This does not forgive the Gizmondo’s strange inclusions of aged content, the implementation of ads or the awful price, but at least this console is low on this list due to some decent elements to it.
#10 OUYA – The Lost Potential
Now, this one is sad! I believe this console failed due to unclear ideas, as the OUYA was initially not a bad concept. Having a simple console designed for only digital titles, being affordable and simple for customisation, gave it room to grow. It was also being sold as a development kit, giving people the ability to create games of their own. This part is especially important, when you consider what a wonderful amount of indie-titles came from the RPG Makers alone! However, everything came with a big asterisk. The company behind OUYA forced every title on it to have some kind of a free-to-play aspect, it was build on android that made it have plenty of unneeded apps, and it truly was not powerful enough to play everything it had at a decent frame rate.
I believe the problem also lied in actually having something personal to show off. Nintendo is remembered thanks to mascots like Mario, the PS1 had titles remembered even today such as Final Fantasy 7 and so on. OUYA had Julie Uhrman and her unclear vision. That pretty much sums up the console: it had unclear visions. It truly felt like a misstep between an app and a console, which makes it an awkward thing that does not appeal to anyone, while trying to appeal to everyone. It simply became an android running games on the TV.
#9 3DO – REAL baby toy
I have a soft spot for this one, as it did have some solid titles. It has a wonderful version of Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo, the director’s cut version of D is truly something I want to own, Return Fire was a good title and playing Wing Commander 3 on the big screen is simply a beautiful experience. However, it had its downfall coming quickly due to backwards ideas. The normal controller only had three buttons that made it awkward to play fighting games with, it costed 700 dollars when it came out in 1993 (which is over 1200 dollars in 2020), and it lacked significant titles to be remembered by.
It is easy to blame the marketing and the terror that is the dull FMV-games, but I also believe it truly did not have enough to be seen as the better choice. There were interesting titles like the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons: Slayer, but nothing that screamed 3DO. Even titles that were better on this console compared to the SNES, such as the mentioned Street Fighter 2, is not enough to ask you to pay that ridiculous amount of money when a PC can seem more affordable. If you had this kind of economy, I hope you got a Neo Geo instead. 3DO is REALLY not worth it.
#8 Apple Bandai Pippin – What are you?
This one feels like a surreal dream, as I swear that I have tried one out. Yet, it was never released in Europe. I remember this strange monstrosity, but always confused it for a PC add-on. It even had outputs for printer and modem, with a switch being able to set the console to either PAL or NTSC region. The Pippin was a console through and through, but one that had an interesting idea. It was basically an Apple game console, with even the system loading in Mac OS upon starting up. A console made to play PC games first and foremost is an intriguing idea, especially for one who does not really care about other functions that a traditional PC offers!
Sadly, the execution went as well as Mega Man on DOS did. The controller was awkward with strange delays, the console’s frame rate could be terrible and the trak-ball mouse is something I always loathe. Really, this is again a problem of an identity crisis where the bridge between two systems is uncomfortably crossed. Be it awkward platformers that have barely any momentum from the PC-era or games that needs a mouse and keyboard to work, everything made Pippin’s downfall that much greater. There is a reason for why ports usually have to compromise and be altered. Apple Bandai Pippin tried to combine two different ways of playing games, but had no idea on how to please everyone. Why was this the price of three PlayStations again?
#7 Atari Jaguar – Could not even do the math
Well, someone wanted to come back and be cool with the kids! The Atari Jaguar was a strange console that was supposedly a 64-bit system, with barely any games looking better than a SNES-title, and none were comparable to the soon to be released PlayStation. There was a lot of extra powers added in that technically made the Jaguar into a 64-bit system, but it is similar to saying that the original Game Boy had colours. To be fair, the Atari Jaguar had some solid titles in the form “silent Doom“, the first introduction of Rayman and the awesome Tempest 2000. However, there is a reason for why all of them found better homes on other consoles, with the Jaguar being left with an exclusive version of Bubsy.
Not to mention, the console itself came with plenty of issues. The controller had numeric buttons awkwardly placed to made it look like a calculator, it struggled with a strange bug in the system, and was topped with a CD add-on that did not help the console one bit. I think the only positive idea I liked about this console, were the handles the cartridges it had. Even then, could they not have had bloody labels on them? I truly wonder what the planned VR headset would have been like if it ever came out. VR in “64”-bit sounds beautifully stupid!
#6 N-gage – I do not feel the connection
This handheld is just dumb. It was not uncommon to play games on old mobile devices, even before the 2000s. However, the N-gage tried to combine both the wider design of a Game Boy Advance, with the tall screen and all the buttons of a phone. I suppose you can already see what a clunky design this came to be, and why it was the founder of internet jokes. This thing combined two ideas without trying to consider the limitations each of them would provide, making this console into a strange taco of all things.
It is easy to complain about that you had to take out the batteries to change out the games, the terrible frame rate games could have or the strange ports of bigger titles such as the original Tomb Raider. However, the tiny screen and lack of power is truly what made this into a mess. There are about two decent titles for it, but I simply hate this console for having no idea of what it wanted to do or even be. It just tries to cram two concepts into one and hope for the best. I would rather stick to Snakes on my old Nokia, thanks.
#5 CD-i – The one with Nintendo-stuff
I cannot argue that the tagline for this entry, is what this console is most infamous for. This is pretty much also why I have more troubled memories with the CD-i, as I was 99% disappointed with the titles I tried for it, with the ones with Nintendo-characters being the worst. However, this console is also beautiful in a “so bad, it is good” kind of way. A fascinating train wreck that started because of a strange deal struck with Nintendo. It even came with four different controllers, that are all terribly stiff and awkward. One is shaped like a spoon, another being just a remote, one reminiscing of a bootleg SNES controller, and one that looks like a misrepresentation of 3DO’s controller. Why?
It had some truly awful action games that were uncomfortable to control, but it did also have a ton of educational games for a younger audience. I honestly believe that was part of its downfall, due to having little to showcase its strength with. However, the titles with Nintendo-characters on it, truly gave the CD-i a legacy thanks to their terrible designs and hilarious cutscenes. I want to highlight this, as it makes me smile for how much unapologetic laughter they still give me to this day. It is The Room of consoles, where you cannot help but to smile and ask questions you will never get answers to. And as much terrible things there are on it, I legitimately love The Flowers of Robert Mapplethorpe. It is a nice slideshow!
#4 Amiga CD32 – I do not even…
The first 32-bit system and what a terrible failure it was. This was also quite strange considering that the company was known for creating the Commodore 64, a computer that I hold dear to my heart as an important piece of gaming history. I suppose the Amiga CD32 is also an important part of history too, but rather as the downfall of a company. There were a lot of problems, but one significant issue about this console, is that it had no system sellers or titles you could not get on other consoles. Even on other Amiga hardwares.
The Amiga CD32 does not just suffer from being a strange console adaption of a PC, having terrible launch of original titles, an uncomfortable controller, and an awkward setup where wires and buttons are hooked up all over the place. It is also the lack of clear reasons for why it was created. The Phillips CD-i could at least be argued was made to be an educational system, Atari wanted to return back with its days of glory with the Jaguar, and even Pippin had a philosophy behind it. However, Amiga CD32 just existed. I do not know if it could have worked as its strength only lied in its powers. With so many elements wrong or confusing about this creation, there is no wonder it died in less than a year.
#3 Game.com – Learn to crawl before you try to run!
Do you remember the LCD Tiger Electronics handhelds? They are not something I look fondly upon, but even I owned some of those and cannot act like I did not play them often. Although, I was much more fond of the Game & Watch handhelds, and Nintendo did evolve with each console they created, making it exciting to see how much they learned from their experimentation and philosophies. However, Tiger Electronics wanted to go even further by making a true console. This was going to be a device that was portable, could be hooked up to the internet, would be able to display e-mail, had a touchscreen, and came with two slots for games to be put in.
This one had similar problems like the Gizmondo did in terms of content, but the Game.com is actually worse as it did not even have games that could be worth playing on it. The games were clunky, the screen struggled to keep up with fast paced titles, and the audio was terrible. It all makes it annoying to play anything on this console, with the only game I cared for it being Lights Out and solitaire (although, even they had better versions on other consoles). I can just imagine how bad the R-Zone is and I am not gonna lie, I really want to try it out.
#2 Atari 5200 – WHY CAN I NOT PLAY THIS?
I will be honest and say that this entry barely counts, as I could not truly play it. The Atari 5200 is infamous for having a dysfunctional controller that quickly broke, and its excessive amounts of buttons made it look like a phone. It at least had a nice analog stick that could provide more sensitive movement and a pause button that was new at the time. However, let us say that they fixed the controller and made the layouts of the buttons more comfortable. That would unfortunately not have helped much.
This system was not backwards compatible with Atari 2600-games. While this is an annoyance in itself, it was especially bizarre and almost cruel when most of the titles for the 5200 were rereleases of older titles, like Kaboom and Space Invaders. It is also strange how the company did not take notice from how or even why the Intellivision and ColecoVision could not compare in terms of sales, despite them being stronger hardwares and providing better graphics. Because of how much of waste this console was, it really felt like one step forward and five steps back. At least we got the Atari 7800 from this, but it is strange to think that a console flopped so bad, that another one was practically made to replace it.
#1 HyperScan – Making collecting cards terrible
Just why? Really, why? Because cards are fun to collect. Because having things happening through unseen forces makes it cool. And finally, because the developers do not care about kids. This device is a shallow cash grab that utilises cards that were sold separately for everything. Selecting characters, using powers, or even to just start a game, everything needed a compatible card. This gets ridiculous, as it is far from a fast or even a functional process. It is a gimmick that utterly blows, similar to forced motion controls that results into constant waggles.
Not too mention, the games for this system are shallow and downright bad. I try my best to see what potential any console or game could have, but it is hard to say that there was any care or even effort put into the HyperScan. Even the bloody controller is cheaply made. This was just a terrible gift for those unfortunate enough to not own a current console. However, I can say that any console prior to this one is worth owning due to some minimal value, having a fascinating idea or for being an interesting study. I cannot for this one. Go outside and play any trading card game instead.
This was probably a more traditional take on a list, but it was interesting to reminisce over past experiences. I would love to hear your takes on the worst consoles you have ever had the misfortune of playing, so please comment and share your intriguing discoveries. However, despite being the worst, you can always be bad while looking good. This led me to think about villains I found cool and it often helped when they had an attire that showed style. You can see where this is going, can you not Casper? What are your top most fashionable villains ever to grace this media?