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Consoles of the '90s

Console: WonderMega/X'Eye
Manufacturer: Sega/JVC
Discontinued in: ~1997

A Genesis/Sega CD combo that came bundled with a multimedia encyclopedia. Also had karaoke capabilities and lived in obscurity until right now, when you just read it ever existed at all.

Console: Pioneer LaserActive
Manufacturer: Pioneer
Discontinued in: ~1995

Remember laserdiscs? Of course not, and that's why most of you never saw or heard of this jangly weirdo that supported add-on modules for Genesis and TG-16. Everything about this monster was overpriced and outdated - but it makes a great conversation piece. "Really?" "Yes!"

Console: Jaguar
Manufacturer: Atari
Discontinued in: 1996
Yet another feline machine from Atari, this one saw limited release in '93 and then widespread in '94, though never once posed any threat to Saturn, N64 or PlayStation. Most of its library is laughably bad, and the few standouts (Tempest 2000, Alien vs Predator) have aged terribly. A surprisingly large homebrew audience has kept this system in a state of flux for years after its official end - despite a cumbersome controller that's the same size as some handhelds.

Console: 3DO
Manufacturer: Panasonic, Goldstar, Sanyo
Discontinued in: 1996

A magical dream machine that was supposed to dominate the industry with unprecedented multimedia capabilities, superior CD ports and, uh, a $700 price tag. After heavy, heavy promotion it eventually folded, even with cheaper models from Goldstar and Sanyo. It was to be followed by the M2, a console that never materialized.

Console: NES 2
Manufacturer: Nintendo
Discontinued in: 1995

With the SNES leading a successful charge into the 16-bit era and the original NES falling behind, Nintendo stripped a lot of the excess fat away and offered this slimmed-down alternative. The controller is far superior to the original (modeled after the SNES controllers) and the top-loading cart slot was better than the old NES's toaster style, but the crap RF shield, bizarre visual glitches and outdated tech meant the NES's days were over.

Console: Genesis/Mega Drive II
Manufacturer: Sega
Discontinued in: 1998

Another scaled-down re-issue of a popular machine. The Genesis was still going strong when this version hit, so it wasn't a last-ditch effort to cram a few more sales in before the next machine hit. It's a totally different size than the original Genesis, so Sega CD saw a redesign to accommodate the new system.

Console: Sega CD 2/Mega CD 2
Manufacturer: Sega
Discontinued in: ~1995

The companion console to the Genesis II, it was functionally identical to the original "tower" Sega CD. Instead of a disc tray (like the PS2 and 360) it had comparatively cheap (i.e. flimsy) compartment for CDs (like Saturn, Dreamcast the slim PS2). Neither version was all that successful, despite a few standout titles.

Console: Amiga CD32
Manufacturer: Commodore
Discontinued in: 1994

Though successful in Europe, the CD32 didn't even make a scratch in the US market. Maybe if Commodore hadn't been knee-deep in legal trouble and eventual bankruptcy its UK dominance could have spread elsewhere. Or, maybe console gamers just don't care about keyboards, floppy drives and other computer-y nonsense.

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14 comments

  • hardcore_gamer1990 - January 1, 2009 11:56 p.m.

    Does anyone else think that the TurboDuo looks like a PS2 slimline with a "quirky" controller? no? just me then...
  • Taxtm - January 3, 2009 9:39 p.m.

    Dude, I actually had a Gamegear way back when! That thing used up so much juice, every time I took it in the car, we'd have to bring a brand new 8 pack of AAs!
  • Fallenangle - January 7, 2009 9:07 a.m.

    Wow, the Master System II was my very first console ( i still have it somewhere) it does have the alex kidd game built in, which was cool to think you could just turn it on and play without taking the Cartridge out and blowing on it. Also is it wrong to have own at least half of these?
  • arcwulf - September 14, 2009 2:31 p.m.

    You neglected to mention that the Tiger Game.com had the absolute worst display of any video game system ever. The graphics were only visable in direct light, and the refresh rate was so bad that any motion graphics whatsoever became blurry green. Also a note about Sega's Genesis and Game Gear: Sega was notorious in the 90s for changing the hardware (which all successful consoles do eventually) to less-than 100% compatibility and not telling anyone (which no one else does - heck even Microsoft released a list of compatible Xbox games for the 360). This is why some earlier games do not work with later releases of the hardware. The Pioneer Laseractive Player (which I am happy to say that I own) also plays "Mega LD" games, only one of which I know of to exist, and sadly I do not own it.
  • Taxtm - January 3, 2009 9:41 p.m.

    Ahh, the Sega Genesis... my first game system at the age of 4, and my first game being Sonic 3. Man, those were the days...
  • AA95mp - January 7, 2009 7:37 p.m.

    i remember my psone i still have it. it was my 1st console
  • dougle - January 22, 2009 8:29 a.m.

    i miss the 90s lol
  • spiderking2009 - July 8, 2009 3:15 a.m.

    wow the PlayStation series is the same age as my
  • abovedefault - September 14, 2008 10:41 a.m.

    holy crap, i had a game.com! i wonder what happened to it...
  • Sukururu - September 24, 2008 10:32 p.m.

    I still remember...I had a Super NES
  • goombaisawesome - November 9, 2008 4:23 a.m.

    I think that you forgot the halycon laserdisc system. But there were only two games, and VERY few sold at the $1000+ Pricetag, so it doesn't matter.
  • barrage7667 - October 15, 2008 12:06 a.m.

    lol im bout to go play my nintendo and genisis tht i havent played in 8 or 9 years
  • garfunkling - February 5, 2011 8:54 a.m.

    I had that exact gameboy color. Loved the look of that see-thru case.
  • PatHan-bHai - April 13, 2013 9:55 a.m.

    The SNES was my first console and the only thing that I played on it was DKC! THEN CAME THE PSOne!!!!! :3

Showing 1-14 of 14 comments

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