UPDATE 5/21: Make sure to check out this post, too: Sorry to Disappoint, Fanboys.
The console wars were more ferocious than any other war in history. You could say they top the Vietnam War, but you won’t. Many companies would rise and fall through the video game crash of 1983, yet only one would prevail to be the most terrible. And now, dear reader, I present to you the 10 worst systems of all time.
10. SNK Neo-Geo AES (1990)
There are those of you who are complete SNK fanboys and will probably stop reading after you’ve seen the 10th worst gaming system of all time: the Neo-Geo Advanced Entertainment System. But to be fair there is probably a good chance I’m a bigger SNK fanboy than you are and even still, I could not resist placing this system on the list. Great hardware and even better software, so what’s the problem with Neo-Geo? SNK’s American marketing team is the problem. You’re marketing a system to the American public claiming it’s an arcade unit with arcade power (and for the most part…it is) at an arcade price. Buying Samurai Showdown in cartridge form and playing it on my Neo-Geo, the graphics look just as good as they do in the arcade, which can’t be said about practically every arcade to console port in existence. That still doesn’t mean we want to pay $200 bucks for one game that we could play for a few hours at an arcade with a roll of quarters.
For $649.99, you could have this system in your house in 1990 with two controllers and Magician Lord. Magician Lord is an awesome game, but if I wanted to increase my library I’d have to throw down hundreds and hundreds of dollars just for one game. Meanwhile, my friends bought their SNES (a year later) for $200; it came with Super Mario World, which is pretty much all you needed and if you wanted more you’d drop around 50 bucks per game. It was because of the sole issue of pricing that the Neo-Geo could not thrive against systems that may not have been better, but were more affordable. To this day, the Neo-Geo out performs nearly every system in 2D graphics display, so does it really belong on this list? Yes, it was released 5 years too early.
9. Mattel Electronics Intellivision (1980)
The first time I ever played Donkey-Kong was on my neighbors Intellivision when we were kids. To say the least, it was a terrible experience for me (though I don’t put Mattel’s Intellivision on this list just because of some traumatic gaming experiences during my youth.) I owned an Atari 2600 Jr. growing up. The Atari 2600 Jr. came out in 1986, the same year as the original NES, it still sported the same technology that was on the original 2600, which was three years older than the Intellivision. My friends and I always found ourselves wanting to play the 2600 over the Intellivision. Don’t get me wrong, BurgerTime was the shit on Intellivision, but who wants to play a shitty version of Q-bert when you can play Asteroids or Space Invaders? Yeah, Astrosmash is great but it isn’t Asteroids.
8. Western Technologies’ Vectrex (1982)
The Vectrex was a fantastic idea on paper. A home console system that’s built into it’s own miniature TV that was almost portable (if you want to lug around fifteen pounds), that’s plain cool. It’s release could not have been more ill-timed, as it came out just short of the market crash that would cripple sales in 1984. The system’s most unqiue feature was its vector graphics, which are essentially lines of light, making the graphics age much better than any other system of its generation. But unless you’re nostalgic of days long past or you’re a complete dweeb interested in homebrewing shitty games, there is no reason to ever want to play on a Vectrex. Not then and certainly not now.
In the ’90s, this system became popular among the homebrew crowd. Why? The screen is the size of a book! These nerds huddle over this tiny screen playing Minestorm, instead of getting fresh high definition games on next-gen systems. It’s ridiculous. Quit living in the past. Did I mention that the controller is like playing with a nipple? It’s fun, but the response to the system isn’t.
7. Sega 32X (1992)
Though not technically a stand-alone console, I believe Sega produced enough Sega-CDs and 32Xs to warrant a place on this list. This is just ridiculous. Whoever got the idea to put expansion slots on a home console unit should’ve been fired faster than a game programmer in 1983. The highly anticipated second piece of shit add-on for the Sega Genesis, the 32x, is the sacrilege of gaming. It required its own power supply in addition to the power supply that would befit the Genesis and Sega-CD. Shit, #7 could’ve been anything. It could’ve been 3D0, but this add-on bullshit takes the cake. Sega didn’t even manage to crank out 40 games for the 32x. They sold it, despite gamers knowing full well that the Sega Saturn was on the horizon.
6. Atari Jaguar (1993)
I personally know people who actually like the Atari Jaguar. Are you fucking kidding me?
Besides Alien vs. Predator and Tempest 2000, every other game on this system wasn’t worth time or effort either invested in the playing or the creating of the game. Remember the Atari Jaguar controller? Y’know, the one that was a Genesis controller with a calculator slapped on the center. The system just wasn’t 64-bit enough for its competitors and much like other systems on this list, it had a small library of games. The fact that this was Atari’s last system (because the Atari Jaguar CD is not a real system) puts the Atari Jaguar in number six.
5. Philips CD-i (1991)
The Cd-i is guilty of the most heinous crime against gamers since the Colecovision tried to dupe the Intellvision’s controller. Butchering the franchises that are Mario Bros. and Zelda, the Cd-i produced some real stinkers. There has never been a more shitty use of Nintendo licensing, except for maybe Starfox Adventures for the GameCube. So what if this thing could show full stream video? No one wants to play Dragon’s Lair. No one.
Look at this image of the Cd-i. I mean look at this fucking thing:
The system isn’t even connected, the controller is wrapped up like it hasn’t been touched in ages. Who would want to play this system over an original Sony Playstation? CD-i just couldn’t catch on to what gamers needed specifically because of its terrible misconception of what a game is. A game is not a movie.
4. Amstrad GX4000 (1990)
The name alone means it’s from the future. Far from it, the Amstrad GX4000 is quite possibly the most horrible crime committed to plastic. I believe Dave Chappelle said it best: What can be said about it that hasn’t already been said about Iraq, it’s bombed out and depleted. This system shouldn’t have even tried to mess with Nintendo or Sega. They were fighting a losing battle from the start: no games, faulty hardware leaves this system at #4.
3. Nintendo Virtual Boy (1995)
Don’t get me wrong, the Virtual Boy had a few good games by design, but no one wants to hunch over and stare into this thing until their eyes burn out. Yeah, they have the warning, you’re not supposed to play it for too long. We’re gamers and we want to play games until our eyes burn out! We just don’t want them to burn out that quickly. There was no comfortable way to play it, it was doomed by design.
Whatever happened to connecting games to TELEVISION? Remember television, Nintendo? Americans love Television. Nintendo forgot about that and suffered with the utter failure that this shit-bucket produced. Speaking of which, it wasn’t much. The Nintendo Virtual Boy only had 14 games. If I’d have to pick one I’d be forced to play it’d be Teleroboxer. . The idea of VR could’ve worked if perhaps they tried this in a different setting, such as an arcade. Just wall mount that piece add a quarter slot to it and idiots everywhere would come up to it, throw quarters in it and have their shades of red.
2. Nokia N-Gage (2003)
The Nokia N-Gage was a blur. I recall seeing the games on store shelves for a month. Besides Pocket Kingdom being 1337, the N-Gage had nothing going for it for one sole reason: it’s a fucking phone. Not only was it awkward to game on because it was a “taco”; it was a taco-shaped PHONE. The controls blew, the buttons didn’t feel right and the hardware was buggy.
“Oh man you gotta try this game it’s called Snakes, it’s on my N-Gage dude and that’s EXTREME!” Perhaps I don’t want to play a shitty game that came out in the 70s in “3d” form on my cellphone.
1. Nintendo Wii (2006)
I just started getting used to the fact that every gaming system I played before this my hands were connected on ONE piece of plastic and circuits. Now, I’m having my hands separated and waving around during game play like a 12-year-old kid with hyperactive disorder who just smoked PCP. I don’t want to be jumping rope with the controller, I just want to control the cool shit that’s on the screen. This thing is a Gamecube slapped with another shitty Powerglove-like gimmick.
Nintendo seems to just be re-releasing crap that didn’t sell in the ’80s. Yet, these casual gamers are buying it for their kids. This system is nothing more than a gimmick for the kiddies. The Wii fit is the new age Power Pad and it’s pathetic that no one can see this tripe that Nintendo is feeding you. The Wii earns its spot for worst console of all time for being nothing more than a joke.