The 7 biggest video game console fails in history

Oculus Rift? No, it's Nintendo's Virtual Boy from 1995.
Oculus Rift? No, it’s Nintendo’s Virtual Boy from 1995.

Not every video game console gets to be a Nintendo Wii or a PlayStation 2. Some die a slow and agonizing death on store shelves. Some die a quick and painless death on store shelves. Some never even really see store shelves at all. Here is a list of the biggest console fails in history.

1. Nintendo Virtual Boy (1995) Back before the Oculus Rift was a blip in Mark Zuckerberg’s eye, Nintendo tried their hand at an extremely similar concept. The Virtual Boy, however, was hampered by the fact that it was 1995 and the technology simply wasn’t up to snuff yet. Nobody bought the thing. Maybe they were all too busy watching “Get Shorty.”

Before its epic run of greatness, Apple tried their hand at video games consoles with The Apple Pippin. Credit: Provided
Before its epic run of greatness, Apple tried their hand at video games consoles with The Apple Pippin.
Credit: Provided

2. Apple Pippin (1995) Apple once had its very own video game console, and it sucked. Before the company quite literally began pooping out gold-encrusted diamonds, they made this severe misstep. It had very few games, agonizingly slow loading speeds and, oh yeah, it cost $600. Think different?

tk Credit: Provided
The Sega Dreamcast didn’t deserve to die in flames.
Credit: Provided

3. Sega Dreamcast (1999) 

The Dreamcast was actually a great little system with a great line up of games. It may be one of those cases of being just too forward thinking for the time. It had Internet connectivity, with games to back it up. It had great multiplayer titles. It had great graphics and sound. It wasn’t enough to sell units once PS2 and the original Xbox took the stage.

The Philips CD-i screwed everything up. Credit: Provided
The Philips CD-i screwed everything up.
Credit: Provided

4. Philips CD-i (1991) This thing cost $700 and is chock full of some of the worst games ever made, proving that the gaming world was not ready for disc-based games in the early 90s. Also, it managed to snag the “Zelda” license from Nintendo. What did they do with it? Made three of the most unintentionally funny games ever made, that’s what.

The Atari Lynx wound up being one of the many handheld consoles slayed by the Game Boy. Credit: Provided
The Atari Lynx wound up being one of the many handheld consoles slayed by the Game Boy.
Credit: Provided

5. Atari Lynx (1989) Atari got the be the first company on the block to fall prey to Nintendo’s handheld dominance. All told, the Lynx was several times more powerful than the original Game Boy, with a slew of forward looking features, including online play and a color screen. It didn’t matter. See also: Nokia N-Gage, the Gizmondo, Sega Game Gear and many more. Sorry, guys.

The 3DO cost $700. Credit: Provided
The 3DO cost $700.
Credit: Provided

6. 3DO (1993) Panasonic’s first and only video game console was an abject failure. Why? Well, it cost $700 (yikes) and all of the big titles that were promised kept getting delayed, giving Sony’s original PlayStation plenty of time to get on store shelves at a much better price point. The rest, as Crash Bandicoot liked to say, is history (he didn’t ever really say that).

The pretty snazzy Vectrex debuted right when the video game market crashed. Credit: Provided
The pretty snazzy Vectrex debuted right when the video game market crashed.
Credit: Provided

7. Vectrex (1982) In the glory days of Ronald Reagan and candy-loving aliens came an all-in-one home console that came with an actual monitor. It boasted exclusive deals with arcade game makers. It featured a graphics technology that had never been seen in homes before. What happened? In 1983 people got sick of video games, having to do with a slew of crappy titles. The entire industry crashed and stayed crashed until Nintendo and Mario came along.

Follow Lawrence Bonk on Twitter @sidescrollers


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