Windows 7 6 Weird Video Game Consoles

Discussion in 'Windows Games' started by reghakr, Apr 6, 2010.

  1. reghakr

    reghakr Excellent Member

    Jan 26, 2009
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    Even if you’re not a video game fan you probably know what a Wii, Xbox or Playstation looks like, since they’re all hugely successful and highly recognisable products. But their success has been built on the backs of dozens of failed attempts at entering the video game market, and when so many consoles come and go it’s inevitable that some of them will be both much stranger, and much bigger failures, than all of the rest.
    1.Apple Bandai Pippin

    Yes, Apple made a video game console, but it was back in 1995, well before they started putting i in front of most of their products and were instead making crap like the Apple Newton. They partnered up with Japanese toy giant Bandai, and together this dream team produced an overpriced machine that the world ignored. Apple and Bandai tried to market it as a cheap computer, but consumers were smart enough to instead recognise it as an expensive video game console, and one that was inferior to others available at the time.


    Only 42,000 units were sold, and while it was hardly the first video game console to fail it was rare to see two huge companies team up to produce something so awful. It wasn’t as powerful as its rivals, despite costing much more, and very few games were released for it. Strangely enough, Apple continues to take the underpowered and overpriced approach to their products today and everything they create is a huge success. Maybe it’s time to announce the Pippin 2?
    2.Mattel Hyperscan

    Any product with “hyper” in the name is suspicious, because it sounds like it’s trying too hard to be hip and futuristic. Well, the Hyperscan is no exception, as it blurs the line between legitimate gaming console and gimmicky toy. At least it did, before it died out almost immediately after its release in 2006.


    The Hyperscan was targeted at children who were too young for a regular video game console, which would have been a good idea 20 years ago but in the modern day that’s an audience that doesn’t exist. It was cheap and simple, and its games weren’t on cartridges or discs, but instead on cards that were scanned by the machine. Because what says “kid friendly” more than tediously scanning a bunch of cards instead of just plugging something in and playing right away?

    The idea was to sell additional cards that would give players upgrades to their games, which would have been a devious plan to rake in the profits if anybody had actually bought the thing. No matter how hyper the scanning was kids just stuck with regular consoles, relegating this strange machine to the ever growing pile of products that have failed to amuse children. Picky bastards.

    No, isn’t a website. Well, it is, but it has nothing to do with this 1997 handheld console from Tiger Electronics. We’re not sure how they came up with such an awful name, but that was the least of its problems.

    To be fair, it had some pretty good ideas for the late 90s, like a touch screen, PDA functions and an Internet connection. All you had to do was plug the thing into a phone jack and pay a monthly fee, then you could surf the web in black and white at the blistering speed of 14.4 kilobits a second. Convenient!

    Features like that were supposed to appeal to an older target audience, but apparently nobody informed the marketing department because their ads tried and failed miserably to be cool and edgy. Their commercials were intended as satires of the over the top video game ads of the day, but nobody got the joke and so they just came off as absurd and insulting. The ads were more successful at driving people away than they were at making them interested, so it’s no wonder the died out after only a couple of years

    4.Tiger Gizmondo

    There must be a curse on companies named Tiger, because a completely different one also released a handheld console and it too failed horribly. The Gizmondo came out in 2005, and most consumers responded by asking “what the hell does Gizmondo mean?” Significantly fewer consumers actually bought the thing, because it only sold a paltry 25,000 units.


    It was a pretty standard device, and in fact, it was probably its generic design that caused it to bomb. What really makes the Gizmondo story weird is that some of executives behind the console were revealed to have ties to the Swedish Mafia.

    Now, we know what you’re saying. “There’s organised crime in Sweden?” Yes, apparently so, and if you don’t pay your debts they’ll track you down and break all your crappy IKEA furniture. But seriously, two of the head guys at Gizmondo had once made a living committing fraud, counterfeiting money, and beating the crap out of people who wouldn’t pay off their loans. They were in jail before developing the Gizmondo, and they spent some time in jail after as well. That’s a pretty damn hardcore background story for a machine that’s most controversial game was about mini-golf.
    5.Pioneer LaserActive

    Remember Laserdiscs? Badass name for a terrible format? For those of you who don’t, they were basically DVDs except much, much larger physically and much, much smaller in terms of actual content. And back in 1993, Pioneer released a video game console based on them.


    It cost a staggering 970 dollars, and this was during a time when Laserdiscs were declining in popularity. Not that they were ever that popular to begin with, but it’s not like it was some sort of mystical new technology that needed to be built with diamonds by expatriated Soviet scientists. No, it was just incredibly expensive for no obvious reason. But hey, at least its owners got to play classic games like 3-D Museum and Quiz Econosaurus.

    Oh, and did we mention it had add-ons? Like a 350 dollar karaoke machine? And two 600 dollar devices that let you play games from other consoles, like the Sega Genesis? So for a mere 1570 dollars you could get a facsimile of a machine that cost a fraction of the price and played games that were actually fun! Wow! It’s no wonder the LaserActive was short lived, and we have to wonder just what they were thinking when they designed and priced it.
    6.RDI Halcyon

    If you thought the LaserActive was a rip-off then be thankful that you never bought a Halcyon, which went on sale in 1985 for no less than 2500 dollars. To be fair, it wasn’t just a video game console; it also had an attached computer, and let’s hope that most people were buying it for that reason because a mere two games were all that were released for this monstrosity.


    Strangest of all was the fact that the Halycon’s designers claimed the console would be entirely voice activated, and would be run by an artificial intelligence equal to that of HAL 9000 from A Space Odyssey. The former claim is laughable even by today’s voice recognition standards, and the latter ominously suggests that RDI was hoping the console would rebel and try to murder its owners.

    The voice recognition got “yes” and “no” down pretty well, but after that the accuracy really plummeted. As for the sophisticated artificial intelligence program, it was basically limited to repeating what the console thought it heard from the user in a monotonous robotic voice, sort of like a sci-fi version of trying to communicate with foreign tourists. It was incredibly awkward to use, and when combined with its massive price tag it’s no wonder it failed terribly. You have to admire RDI’s ambitious vision, but trying to do so much with so little produced a gigantic and very weird failure.
    Written by Mark Hill


  2. Highwayman

    Highwayman Extraordinary Member

    Jun 3, 2009
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    going back to the golden age of consoles (late 1970's to early 1980's) I had a few oddities including the "Magnavox" (or Philips G7000 as the UK label said), a "Hanimax" summit or other, as well as some of the more usual names like Intellivision, Atari walnut special, even a Colecovison.

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