The Worst Games Consoles of All Time
Next time you look at your PS4 or Xbox One, remind yourself: we’ve never had it so good.
Over the years, there has been some truly horrible games consoles; the kind of machines that could send a child into an apocalyptic tantrum on Christmas morning because Mum and Dad accidently bought them one instead of a PlayStation.
From misguided marketing to…well, just being rubbish, here are the worst video games consoles of all time.
Back in 1995, Sega were riding high after the success of the Mega Drive. The Saturn, their next-gen console, should have been a surefire hit.
Unfortunately, Sega made possibly the worst decision in the history of gaming: they launched the Saturn 4 months early in order to beat the PlayStation to market.
It would have been a brilliant plan…if they’d told anyone else about it. With most retailers and developers expecting the Saturn to launch in September, the Saturn launched with just 6 games and there was almost nowhere to buy it. Oh, and it cost $100 more than the PlayStation too.
Needless to say, the Saturn flopped and was discontinued in 1998.
1991 was a fantastic year for gaming, with Sega unveiling Sonic for the first time and Nintendo making more money than Scrooge McDuck. Naturally, other electronics companies wanted a slice of the pie.
And so, the CD-I was born. As one of the first CD-based consoles and with games based on popular Nintendo characters, the CD-I had all the tools to succeed (even if it did look like a VCR).
Unfortunately, most of the games were rubbish. The Nintendo games (which weren’t actually made by Nintendo) included a terrible Mario game and a legendarily bad trilogy of Zelda games, while the ‘original’ games mostly consisted of education titles, board game adaptations and interactive movies that looked like they were filmed through a thin slice of uncooked potato.
What really killed the CD-I, though, was the price. At $700 (which works out at around £641 in today’s money), this wasn’t even the kind of console little Jimmy could badger his parents into buying for Christmas.
The CD-I crawled through to 1998 before it disappeared to the great console dump in the sky, reportedly losing Phillips $1 billion in the process. Ouch!
Once upon a time, Atari was the biggest name in gaming. Then it nearly killed the videogame industry entirely by releasing a sub-standard version of Pac-Man and manufacturing way too many copies of the ridiculously awful E.T.
The Jaguar was their shot at redemption, and it had an ace up its sleeve: it was 64 bit. For the kids out there, the more ‘bits’ a console had, the more powerful it was (although that’s not technically true, but most people believed it at the time). The Mega Drive and SNES were only 16 bit, while Sony’s flashy new PlayStation was just 32 bit.
However, there was a problem: the Jaguar’s games didn’t look anywhere near as impressive as the PlayStation’s. In fact, they didn’t look much better than Mega Drive or SNES games. While Atari weren’t lying about the Jaguar’s capability, it turns out there was a lot of technicalities and caveats that allowed them to use that magic 64 figure.
It also had one of the worst controllers ever made, with a 12 button keypad. The Jaguar got absolutely destroyed by the PlayStation and Atari quietly bowed out of the console market in 1996.
Apple Bandai Pippin
The next time someone suggests that Apple should make a console, point them towards the Pippin. Manufactured with Bandai, it had just 18 games and sold around 42,000 units before Steve Jobs returned to Apple and killed it off in 1997.
Ironically, Apple went on to create one of the best gaming devices of all time: the iPhone.
The Gizmondo is one of the worst selling video games consoles of all time, with less 25,000 units sold in its short life. It’s arguably the worst console of all time too, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying.
Launched at a lavish star-studded party attended by (among other big names) Lennox Lewis, Sting and Pharrell Williams, the Gizmondo had an ominous start when host Tom Green declared it indestructible, threw it to the ground and watched in horror as it smashed into hundreds of pieces. Co-host Dannii Minogue apparently swept up the mess, and things just got weirder from there.
Tiger spent a huge amount of money to promote the Gizmondo, with reports suggesting they lost over half a million pounds a day A dedicated store was launched, a racehorse named Gizmondo was purchased and countless parties with ‘big name’ celebrities like that chap from Blazing Squad were held – yet the Gizmondo still didn’t sell.
Less than a year after launching the Gizmondo, Tiger went bankrupt and murky stories about some of their investors (which you can read about in the articles linked above) emerged soon after. Failures don’t get much more spectacular than that!
Did you own any of these consoles? Launch your defence of them in the comments. Or, tell us what you think we’ve missed out!
Don’t forget, you can sell consoles you’ve fallen out of love with too. Just click the button below (no Gizmondos, please) to get an instant price!