The tragedy of launching a video game system and having it fail is one of the worst things that can happen to you in the industry. However, they are also some of the funniest stories and the ones that help us the most to understand how crazy and wonderful the video game industry can be. Today we know some of the most ridiculous consoles in history.
What is more morbid than the story of a failure? Naturally, the story of a bigger and more extravagant failure, something to which the video game industry, despite its success, popularity and profitability, has been no stranger over the last few decades. Today at 3DJuegos we want to talk about five hardware catastrophes that left their mark on gamers for all the wrong reasons. There are stories and plots for all tastes: going through the misuse of the Mario and Zelda licenses on a Phillips platform dominated by video games and erotic material of dubious taste on the forgotten CD-I, the presence of the Swedish mafia and the ability of the boss of the Gizmondo laptop to split a Ferrari in two and get out of such a traffic accident or Atari’s “Do the math” with his 64-bit Jaguar. However, today we want to tell you about some failures that They went under the radar but they are no less interesting for that.
Ghost consoles, a run-down PDA, an LCD deceiver that simulated the Dragon Ball Saiyan scouter, video games with tasteless collectible cards and a machine created by an infamous video game developer that you couldn’t play with are part of the today’s menu. The good news? Surely they will not be the last ravings of a sector that is always capable of surprising us for better and for worse, we do not look at anyone, Atari VCS and Ouya. Welcome to the museum of horrors of the other most ridiculous consoles in video game history.
R-Zone, so little VR that they don’t put the V
Imagen original: vintagecomputing.com
We start with a playable classic of infamy as Tiger Electronics. You may not have experienced it, but in the 90s there were some machines that were sold in toy stores for a small price and that tried to emulate the gameplay of a video game through rudimentary animations and gameplay. Yes, Nintendo made some masterpieces with its series of Game and Watch machines, but that was not the case with Tiger, which punished an entire generation with adaptations of the main console and arcade hits in its LCD creations, which, paradoxically, They sold like hot cakes. The next step was obvious: create a console around its success and the R-Zone was born.
The concept of R-Zone is sinister. Presented with an elastic headband, the player he had to place the viewer on his best eye to “enjoy” a virtual pseudo-reality of chichinabo. You won’t believe the catalog: Battle Arena Toshinden, Daytona USA, Mortal Kombat Trilogy, Panzer Dragoon, Virtua Cop, Nights into Dreams, Virtua Fighter or successful movies like Men in Black, Batman Forever, Star Wars or The Lost World had their adaptation to R-Zone. Naturally, any resemblance to its console or arcade counterparts was coincidental. The concept of wearing a visor that directly attacked the player’s retina was scrapped shortly after Tiger, who re-launched the invention as a handheld replicating his, if nothing else, questionable success.
Hyperscan, or in English, Hyperscam
Imagen original: video-games-museum.com
Mattel, like so many other toy companies of the 80s, He suffered when he saw that video games were making a hole in his incipient business of Barbies and He-Mans and decided to launch their own system. This is how Intellivision was born and died, a not-so-fierce competition from the Atari 2600 that barely survived until the North American home video game crisis of 1983. Mattel thought that an encore at the time of Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii was coherent, and launched the market a platform called Hyperscan. Doesn’t it ring a bell? It is not strange: it barely lasted a year on the market and its sales are around 10,000 units according to various sources. What was the problem? The quality of the software and its perverse monetization.
Do you like FIFA Ultimate Team? You’ll love the Hyperscan. Five video games were released, each of which was accompanied by six or seven cards that could be scanned into the system to unlock parts of the game or different benefits for the characters in the software. How did we access new sections of the previously purchased game or powers? Easy: buying $6 random card packs. In other words, the total price for accessing the full X-Men game depended on your luck opening very expensive packs. Among the licenses that were “lucky” to be in HyperScan were Ben 10, Marvel Superheroes, Spider-Man and the mutants.
LJN Video Art, the console that LJN should have made
Imagen original: https://20thcenturyvideogames.com/
Putting together the letters ele, jota and ene is already uncomfortable for any lover of the classic video game. What not many of us in Europe knew is that the rainbow company dared with its own educational hardware. This is how the LJN Video Art was born, a device that was popularized and rediscovered by the Angry Video Game Nerd a few Christmases ago. The goal of the system? Paint and color. Like Mario Paint or so many other children’s drawing video games? You would like nothing more. LJN only had one role during its entire existence in the sector: turn any gaming experience into a nightmare.
The crazier the system, the crazier the ad. It happened with the R-Zone ad, and naturally it happened with the LJN Video Art ad. Everything shown in the commercial is simply unrealizable. The drawing and coloring options are the most awkward, with one of the worst controls ever created with a huge, uncontrollable stick. The cartridges only included drawings to be colored in and the complete inability to control did nothing but frustrate users of the typical Christmas gift that had just been forgotten in the closet forever and ever.
Virtual Boy, the great stain of Yokoi
Imagen original: files.virtual-boy.com
What is a blemish on a record as immaculate as Gunpei Yokoi’s? An anecdote, obviously, but we are talking about an anecdote that ended up costing him his position at Nintendo and leading him to sign for Bandai. The next creation from the father of GameBoy stunned the entire industry: a gaming system that attempted to bring virtual reality into gamers’ homes in the mid-90s. Unfortunately, the idea was great for Virtual Boy: the mess went unnoticed and ended up becoming one of Nintendo’s biggest missteps.
You only have to see the machine to understand the problem. It required to be played on a table where the player had to adopt an unnatural position to see what was going on inside the hardware. The commitment to red lights led the firm itself to recommend short game sessions so as not to put the player’s sight at risk. Although some interesting games were released on the system signed by Nintendo, the one from Kyoto it didn’t take long for him to abandon the project altogether. Expensive, uncomfortable junk and the saddest farewell of a legend of the firm, that he left the company through the back door.
Gamecom, daughter of its time
Imagen original: vintagecomputing.com
Because the appearance of Tiger with the R-Zone was not enough. Tiger Electronics tried it hard in the late 90’s by creating the first touchscreen laptop in history and teaming up with a handful of big name companies to release your own ports on your console because they understood that the LCD machine business was not going to last forever and they had to evolve. What went wrong then? Well, it was not enough with an interesting platform and some famous licenses: it was necessary to create something that would be able to compete with GameBoy on the crest of the wave and the mark of the tiger remained in the antipodes.
The platform was presented at E3 in 1997, was released a few months later and turned great games like Resident Evil 2, Mortal Kombat Trilogy or Sonic Jam into genuine playable insults that naturally did not hesitate to call their future buyers “idiots” in their own ad. The capabilities of the PDA were not bad for its time, with the possibility of checking the calendar, time and connecting it to the Internet to check the emails of your first email account in Wanadoo, Yupimail or Eres Más. It had 20 games in its catalog and became another machine destroyed by Nintendo.
Phantom, the console that was not
Imagen original: robrady.com
The ghost console, never better said. Remember when Project Cars developers Slightly Mad Studios announced they were bringing out their own next-gen console, the Mad Box, a few years ago and was never heard from again? Phantom was something similar, but more famous and more ambitious. It was a system that intended to base all its new generation potential on downloading content shortly before the launch of Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in a system that they baptized as Pay Per Play. It seems that they were very convinced to pull it off, because they started selling peripherals before a launch that never got off the ground.
The point is that the system raised some suspicion among the players who were curious about the project and how advanced it seemed, but interest faded as time passed and the news disappeared from the main media in the sector. Over time it has been speculated that it was all a big scam that ended up in court. Phantom was present at some fairs of the time such as E3 2004 and was shown at a Quakecon, revealing some very advanced details of the user interface and running some famous PC games of the moment.