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• 7 Gaming Systems that Were Epic Failures

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 90 comments
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Here we have seven gaming consoles that we think were the all time epic failures of consoles.

7. TurboGrafx-16:
In the late 80's and early 90's the TurboGrafx-16 was marketed as an arcade-style gaming system with a 16-bit video graphics chip. While the graphics were an upgrade over the NES and Sega, the games were for the most part unoriginal rehashes or lame rip-offs—check out "Fighting Street"—of the releases from other systems. Adding to the problem of the games was the fact that you needed to use a CD attachment to truly get the full benefit of the system. Alternatively, you could use the a standard game card that looked like a SD card on steroids.  The TurboGrafx-16 was, at times, a fun system but the stiff competition and the difficulty of getting premiere titles in America ended this gaming console by the mid 90's.

6. Game Gear:
When Sega's Game Gear was released in late 1990, it seemed to be what every gamer was looking for but couldn’t get from Nintendo. The Game Gear had a lot of cool features including a backlit color screen and tons of games. It even had an optional adapter to watch TV on! This all sounds great, so what was the problem? Well it was crap. The Game Gear felt like union scabs that had worked for Willy Wonka built it. Aside from the low-quality craftsmanship, the Game Gear was powered by 6 AA batteries, which lasted for about 3 hours. This was only 1/3 the time of the Game Boy. The Game Gear did sell more then 10 million units, but durability, price and size concerns left it as the ugly step bother to the Game Boy.

5. Sega CD:
This CD attachment for the Sega Genesis was supposed to bring the user to the next generation of gaming. Life like graphics, in depth games and 3-D rendered screens were what we were promised. Instead we got giant pixels, games that did not work and  “Night Trap.” Night Trap was possibly the most over-hyped game ever made. It also directly lead to release of the ESRB rating system. I cannot think of too many great things about the Sega CD. This is mostly because I could never get a game to work it.

4. Virtual Boy:
Even the greats like Nintendo are not immune from making horrible, horrible system choices. The Virtual Boy is probably the most ridiculous looking system on this list. I cannot help but think of the Stephen King classic “Lawnmower man” when I see some one wearing one of these. To our friends reading this that may be prone to motion sickness or epileptic seizure you may want to avoid these puke goggles at any cost.

3. N-Gage:
The Nokia N-Gage was a hand-held system that doubled as a cell phone! I don't know any one who has bought or played one of these. The controls looked so bad that I was afraid that I might arthritis after just a few minutes of playing the N-Gage.

2. Atari Jaguar:
This is probably the worst gaming system ever made, but I have my own reasons for putting it number two. The Atari Jaguar was full of faults. Bad games, poor construction and questions of it really was 64-bit seemed to plague the Jaguar. I, on the other hand, always seem to dwell on the controller. The Jaguar's controller was the most insane controller I have ever seen. I am not a 100% sure on this, but I believe it had somewhere near 9,000 buttons. It was so beefy that you could kill anyone that questioned you for owning it. The Jaguar went on to end Atari's claim in the home gaming industry and left the company’s legacy in pieces.

1. Neo Geo:
If you were lucky enough to own one of these—I wasn't—you had to get your fill at an arcade. The Neo Geo had some of the most classic games such as Metal Slug, Fatal Fury and 2020 Super Baseball. The games looked great, they were fun and it the system was pretty well built. So what is the problem? The problem was the price to get your hands on one of the system. It cost over $600, and games were easily over $100 each! This low rating for the Neo Geo is really more over my jealousy of not being able to own one. SNK actually made a fairly good system. The Neo Geo has gone on to inspire game developers for the past 15 years and will continue that trend for the next 15.

Runner-ups to this list included the 3DO and Apple Bandai.

[• This story, marked with a • is weekend entertainment content only and should not to be considered factual ]

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Top Comments
  • 10 Hide
    Spanky Deluxe , May 23, 2009 2:44 PM
    I disagree with the game gear's placement on the list. It lasted for years and was far better than the game boy. Yes it was big and yes you had to buy rechargeable batteries but it had some great games and great graphics for the day. I just wish they'd released the mega gear properly. :( 
Other Comments
  • 3 Hide
    JeanLuc , May 23, 2009 2:36 PM
    The Neo Geo is cult classic how can you include that and not a system like the 32X or the Atari 5200!

    Saying that I agree with pretty everything else on the list, the Virtual Boy....................what pills were they taking.
  • 10 Hide
    Spanky Deluxe , May 23, 2009 2:44 PM
    I disagree with the game gear's placement on the list. It lasted for years and was far better than the game boy. Yes it was big and yes you had to buy rechargeable batteries but it had some great games and great graphics for the day. I just wish they'd released the mega gear properly. :( 
  • Display all 90 comments.
  • -1 Hide
    cliffro , May 23, 2009 2:51 PM
    Hmm, its not as big of a failure, but the Sega Master System seemed to not sell well in the states, and I only had 1 friend that had one, and honestly I had never heard of it till I saw it at his house, The TG16 and Neo Geo, however I knew of and lusted after.....alas I grew up poor, my first and only console was the Playstation.....
  • 3 Hide
    hemelskonijn , May 23, 2009 4:04 PM
    This list seems to be a personal list since epic fail's like the 32x and the 3DO are missing.
    Also the atari jaguar was a great system and the most advanced in its time but it had flaws we also found in the saturn and some other consoles.
    The Jaguar ran a multi chip setup so if you wanted to get the best out of it you had to program for each chip in stead of porting games to one of them.

    To call the NeoGeo an epic fail is a lot like saying "i am a moron".
    It seems like you wanted to make a list of epic fails but chose to only use systems every reader on tom's knows or worse you never even heard of machines other then these.
  • -4 Hide
    bpogdowz , May 23, 2009 4:16 PM
    only stupid because you tried to over clock it
  • 2 Hide
    Zoonie , May 23, 2009 4:25 PM
    "By Bestofmedia Team" LOL! I guess noone wanted to take credit for putting NeoGeo in the list. You guys are gonna get alot of **** for that :) 
  • 1 Hide
    afrobacon , May 23, 2009 4:58 PM
    avericiaHow did you guys miss the Sega Dreamcast?It came out in 1998 and was discontinued in 2001 and I doubt anyone here bought one

    Much like the PS3 the Dreamcast outperformed the competition, but the lack of games and price tag left much to be desired.
    ...Also, I remember there being talk that the first group of consoles sold could play games from other systems; not sure how much truth there is to this.
  • 2 Hide
    industrial_zman , May 23, 2009 5:17 PM
    avericiaHow did you guys miss the Sega Dreamcast?It came out in 1998 and was discontinued in 2001 and I doubt anyone here bought one


    If I'm not mistaken the Dreamcast came out in 1999, remember the release date was 9-9-99. It was a head of the game by the first console to include internet access and options like a motion activated fishing rod (precursor to wii's motion sensors today) mouse and keyboard. but sadly the choice of using Giga-Disc over DVD media was it's downfall. Yes, I owned a Dreamcast. After it's retirement, I turned it into a Linux box.

    I also owned an N-Gage QD; a great phone, horrible game platform.

    I am going to cry foul here. The Sega CD was not an independent platform. how can it compete in the console wars? it required you to have a Genesis first. By this logic the 32x and Super Gameboy should be lumped into the same category.

    I'm surprised to not see Sega VR on the list. it was the whole reason why Nintendo rushed the Virtual Boy on to the market only in a monochromatic screens. After the epic Virtual Boy failure, Sega decides not to launch the VR.

    I have to agree with Spanky Deluxe on that point, the Game Gear should not be on the list. if you wanted another portable device pick the Atari Lynx. battery life so horrible that I always had to leave it plugged in while playing.
  • 2 Hide
    depressingsteve , May 23, 2009 5:17 PM
    hemelskonijnThis list seems to be a personal list since epic fail's like the 32x and the 3DO are missing.Also the atari jaguar was a great system and the most advanced in its time but it had flaws we also found in the saturn and some other consoles.The Jaguar ran a multi chip setup so if you wanted to get the best out of it you had to program for each chip in stead of porting games to one of them.To call the NeoGeo an epic fail is a lot like saying "i am a moron".It seems like you wanted to make a list of epic fails but chose to only use systems every reader on tom's knows or worse you never even heard of machines other then these.

    The issue with the Neo Geo wasn't that is was bad system because it was really cool, the problems was the price.
  • -2 Hide
    zenneth , May 23, 2009 5:19 PM
    My only complaint with this list is the horrendous editing. How did the amount of errors this article contained get past the person responsible? To those of you complaining about why or why not this or that console did or did not make the list I offer this: it was 7 consoles, not 9 or 10; and they included these consoles because, regardless of what you think of them, they were failures. They performed under market appreciation and hence are gone except for those you may find on ebay or craigslist.
  • 2 Hide
    cletus_slackjawd , May 23, 2009 5:26 PM
    Panasonic 3d0 should take #1 spot. Overpriced, no desirable games, not even worth the space on a HDD for emulation. Sega CD should be taken off the list, they actually made some decent games for it. The Sega 32X should have taken it's rightful place on the list though. Fun article. Virtual Gameboy "HAHA" remember playing demo at Sears and thinking WTjavascript:%20void(0);F.
  • 5 Hide
    jerreece , May 23, 2009 5:29 PM
    Hmm. I knew a kid who had a Game Gear back in it's day. I thought that thing was a pretty awesome little machine personally. Granted not every kid owned one, but I wouldn't have thought back on it as an epic failure.
  • 2 Hide
    mavroxur , May 23, 2009 5:49 PM
    I have to disagree with Neo Geo & Turbo Grafix 16's placement on the list. First, the TG16 was a very capable system even without the CD drive attachment. It's not like it had any competetion for the first part of it's life, going up against the likes of NES and SMS. Because it didnt take off in the United States doesnt really make it a failure, as it did very well overseas. And as far as the Neo Geo, yes it was expensive. Yes, the games were expensive. But it was also several times more powerful than the next closest console of the time. It was an Arcade in your living room. $600 back then was high, but people also spend thousands on gaming rigs today for the same reason. If you want the Aston Martin luxury, you pay the Aston Martin price. I dont understand why the 3DO was left off the list, it was a horrible failure, more so than most of the systems on the list.
  • 4 Hide
    SlyNine , May 23, 2009 6:38 PM
    32x isn't on it, Gamegear is on it. I think this list is an Epic Failure.
  • 7 Hide
    WheelsOfConfusion , May 23, 2009 6:51 PM
    SlyNine32x isn't on it, Gamegear is on it. I think this list is an Epic Failure.

    Let's not forget the lack of Phillips CD-i.
    Mah boi, this failure is what all true consoles strive to avoid.
  • 6 Hide
    tpi2007 , May 23, 2009 6:57 PM
    This list has some serious flaws.

    Beginning by being written in the first person, but the writer being "The Bestofmedia Team" What is that anyway ? Shouldn't it be "Tom's Hardware Team" ? And who said what ? And didn anyone proofread it ? Please, even weekend entertainment shouldn't be plagued with 'glitches'.

    Second, you are looking at the Game Gear from the wrong perspective. It was the second most successful hadheld console of the time. And the most successful color one. That is a fact. The Game Boy had a head start, better battery life, more games nad a lower price. But the Game Gear had more powerful hardware and more action packed games. And a plethora of accessories the Game Boy could only dream about. You could watch tv on it, and even buy an adapter to play Master System Games directly. In the early nineties you didn't have technology to go much further.

    I had both the Game Boy and the Game Gear, so I can make a fair comparisson. They wore both good, but for action packed games the Game Gear was the best. No question. Try the Atari Lynx. THAT was an epic failure.

    Oh, and the Neo Geo ? What about the Amiga CD 32 ? Try that instead. That was a proper failure.
  • -1 Hide
    NuclearShadow , May 23, 2009 7:38 PM
    The game gear was a great handheld in my opinion. If only they made the battery life more acceptable I'm sure they would have taken the handheld throne. Its hardware was basically a portable Sega Master System which was quite amazing for a handheld at the time.

    Also the Atari Jaguar was a piece of crap but it did have a few good games. Syndicate on it was a blast.

    Also you failed to mention the unbearable load times of the Sega CD.
  • -1 Hide
    Orion1024 , May 23, 2009 7:41 PM
    Obviously this list is subjective, but to say the Jaguar was the worst system because of bad games and poor construction just isn't true. There were good games like T2K, Iron Soldier I & II, Rayman, Power Drive Rally, Super Burnout, Doom, Wolfenstein, AvP, etc. Quite a few good ones right there. I've never seen any problems with poor construction and I've got two Jaguars. I will say the controller was OK, but bulky...certainly better than 7800 controllers, though.
  • 3 Hide
    Division , May 23, 2009 7:48 PM
    Neo-Geo should definitly not be on this list. The system came out in 1990...and they were still making games for it up untill 2004 with the last release of Samurai Showdown V. Its the longest lasting and supported console system in history.

    Price was definilty its downfall....but I sure remember saving up for this system doing odd jobs as a kid. I could only ever afford 3 used games total.....but you couldn't find better quality games on the market when this thing was released. The graphic quality and sound were unmatched....and its the very first system to use a memory card.

    If Neo-Geo's prices were more in line with Super Nintendo and Genesis at the time.....Neo-Geo would have been king of the hill.
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