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Gaming’s most bizarre decisions

Decca Records famously passing on signing the Beatles because they thought guitar bands were "on the way out." George Clooney’s suit being given plastic nipples in Batman & Robin. That’s two quick examples of history been plagued by downright ridiculous decisions right there. Video games are no different. And whether it’s Mircosoft failing to give the 360 a feature the Dreamcast enjoyed 10 years ago or Hideo Kojima thinking everyone would be fine with Snake getting replaced by a mop-headed man lady; the following decisions are just downright bizarre.

Sega's sneaky Saturn release


As console releases go, this was as under the radar as they come. Planned with all the stealth of a covert military op, Sega led everyone to believe its soon to be ill-fated console would be released on September 9th, 1995. The date was dubbed ‘Saturnday’, but as loyal Sega drones were saving up their pennies and dreaming of 32 bit textures, the company announced at E3 in May that the console was already out - four months earlier than expected. Now that’s some properly consumerist sneaky shit, right there.


Above: A typical Sega marketing strategist circa 95

Was the decision defendable?

Apologies for being little Billy Indecisive, but probably not. On paper, gaining a surprise and unexpected four month lead on the PlayStation made sense. In reality, Sega simply hadn’t given people enough notice to buy their pricey machine. Released at a wallet-woopin’ $399, their surprise attack was simply too expensive to be considered a spontaneous impulse buy, meaning sales in the first few months were poor. The head start it had over Sony’s machine did little good, and the Saturn’s sales lead was pegged back within a month of the PlayStation hitting stores.


Above: If you learn nothing else from us, remember –
shitty 32bit textures are better than sex with hot women

Microsoft ignoring the internet


Or, more specifically, the 360 giving a one-fingered salute to this crazy, new fangled contraption called an internet browser. Really, is it that hard to give us the option to surf the nets? A certain cutting-edge, decade-old piece of technology called the Dreamcast was all over that web browsing 56k dial-up shit. So why, all these years later, on a console with a fantastic online infrastructure, can’t we look at pictures of nake… eh, fully clothed images of historical landmarks?


Above: Guess which

Was the decision defendable?

Nein! Sorry, our burning resentment can only be fully conveyed by the brutal efficiency of the German language and an exclamation mark. There’s no doubt Microsoft has played a huge role in nurturing and developing widespread internet access. So the fact the 360 is the only current-gen console not to have a working net browser is just nonsensical. Seriously, get this sorted MS or we’re dusting off that Dreamcast and hunting for the nearest dial-up connection. That or, y’know, use a PC.


Above: Twitter integration on 360 is a step in the right direction, but we want more


Nintendo keeping cartridges for the N64


Nintendo does love to flog the deadest of horses… or in this case, the deadest of media formats. When the N64 was released in the summer of 1996 in Japan, Sony’s PlayStation had already been using CDs for nearly a year. The benefit for Nintendo’s rival was twofold. Because CDs were easy to reproduce, it allowed developers and manufactures to make games faster and cheaper than if they were producing cartridges. These savings were then passed on to Joe Consumer, who could usually pick up PlayStation titles for a good 10-20 bucks cheaper than his N64-owning counterpart. Still, at least they could console themselves with this…


Above: Totally better than CDs, right? RIGHT?!

Was the decision defendable?

Not really. Even though cartridges loaded much more quickly and were more resistant to piracy than CDs, they represented a ballsed-up business decision that gave Sony a massive sales advantage. The shot in the foot quickly turned gangrenous when certain developers refused to make games for the N64 because of the high costs involved. It all meant gamers had to rely on Nintendo or Rare for quality titles, as the system’s third party support was as malnourished as a Victorian orphanage.


42 comments

  • CandiedJester - December 21, 2009 7:44 a.m.

    *Agrees with iluvmyDS* I don't need a browser on my xbox. I have a laptop withing reach at all times anyway, I would never use it. Just like I never used the browser on my ps3, OR the one on the wii way back when I owned one. Unnecessary.
  • Nodoudt - December 21, 2009 5:29 a.m.

    Great Article GR! You sure know how to get us talking! Just thought I'd add my own opinion... First thing. Sharper's right, I'm on my damn laptop most of the day anyways. If the 360 had a browser I swear I'd end up living in my room. Also, I hate cartidges as much as the next guy. But really, how many times have we picked one up and just smiled, knowing that only a few years ago that was the one of the coolest things you owned. And another thing. I was a 100% Nintendo Devotee, all the way up until the Wii's launch (at the time I owned an Xbox and a Gamecube). Yeah Twilight Princess was all that but really, now, all my love for Nintendo has died. So, while my Wii is gathering dust, right next to it is my 360. But you know, I have to admit that most Xbox Game Developers (in my opinion, mind you) have too many "shock and awe" games. I mean, there are some amazing ones, no doubt, but beneath the gloss and the glamour there doesn't seem to be any heart in the games. And I sure miss that, because I remember playing older Nintendo games and knew those were labours of love. Now, I've never owned ANY Sony system in my life, but I'm really considering making the switch... reCaptcha: Wangle them Hmm...depends on who "they" are...
  • sharper16 - December 16, 2009 4:35 p.m.

    I can understand why including a browser on the 360 was a no brainer, but personally, I'm glad it wasn't there. If the option to browse the internet was available when I bought my 360 two years ago, my parents wouldn't have let me get it. I'm old enough now that it doesn't matter, but back then...
  • JustTheBoBreaker - December 15, 2009 9:17 p.m.

    @noobeater I'm pretty sure the author was talking about the new Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts n' Bolts on the 360, which didn't sell very well. I think we can all agree that Banjo-Kazooie on the N64 was an all-time classic
  • FriendlyFire - December 14, 2009 3:53 p.m.

    @noobeater: Of course, had you read it in context, you would've noticed they were refering to the latest game, Nuts & Bolts, which is arguably a correct but no extraordinary game. Nobody's saying anything about the original game. I too am rather surprised not to see the Nintendo-Sony deal though. Of all bad decisions listed here, I'd argue this one was probably the most costy of all, even further than buying Rare or releasing the Saturn without proper advertising.
  • metalgatesolid - December 13, 2009 7:53 p.m.

    Ahhhhhhhh three famous Raiden in MGS2. Lets be honest, if you could play as any character in the world, it would be Solid Snake!!!!!
  • deathrebellion - December 13, 2009 4:56 p.m.

    Sega's Saturn can go kiss my ass if they think that 32 bit junk can stop me frm seeing d TRUTH :D no offence to sega no more heroes wuz just the begining now deres MadWorld :-O
  • XxWrathxX - December 12, 2009 7:57 p.m.

    Best one was Raiden and Snake Haha Kojima always pullig our legs xD
  • Link555 - December 12, 2009 5:58 p.m.

    yeah mgs, that was a terrible idea
  • linkganon - December 12, 2009 4:39 p.m.

    you could have added that sony's newer models of the ps3 are not backward compatable with ps2 games, and the fixes for those games cannot be obtained. to extend solid's dominance, they should go for a metal gear solid 2 remake, but instead, YOU PLAY THROUGH THE GAME AS SNAKE and pliskin (his alias) and instead disarm explosives in shell 2. strange though that there are areas in shell 2 and all but one are inaccessable.
  • darklinkinfinite - December 12, 2009 7:09 a.m.

    I can't say I agree with some of the points of this article after all, everything is clearer in hindsight. For example, Microsoft purchasing Rare seems like a huge mistake now after its released so many mediocre to good games and nothing amazing like they have during their N64 games, but at the time the only game they'd produced on the Gamecube had been Star Fox Adventures and they had several projects in development. It wasn't so clear cut back then. Rare was still considered a great developer at the time, so I'd certainly say the decision was defendable. In hindsight it certainly wasn't the greatest decision. Also, putting No More Heroes on the Wii is more than defendable. Killer 7, Suda 51's previous game was just as quirky and just as niche as No More Heroes. The game was released on the PS2 and the Gamecube and despite the incredible discrepancy in the consoles' install bases and each of the systems' perceptions (the Gamecube was still considered the kiddy system and the PS2 the 'hardcore') system and the game still managed to sell more copies on the Gamecube than it did on the PS2. No More Heroes is a niche title that wasn't going to move incredible numbers regardless of the system it was developed for. Developing what was almost certainly going to be a bomb, sales-wise on either of the high-definition systems meant that they would have to spend far more on production costs and probably lose a lot of money at retail. By developing on the Wii, they save money on production and so releasing it at retail was a far less risky proposition. Considering the fact that No More Heroes has sold more copies on the Wii than Killer 7 did on the Gamecube, I'd say the risk was worth it. Simply releasing a "hardcore" title on the "hardcore" HD systems is no guarantee of success. After all, the 360 isn't really the place for bizzare Japanese imports. The closest I can think of is Beautiful Katamari, which has sold roughly half as many copies on the 360 than No More Heroes has on the Wii.
  • camelfro - December 12, 2009 12:23 a.m.

    man i loved no more heroes - shame hardly any1 new about it cant wait fo no more heroes 2 though
  • gamingfreak - December 11, 2009 4:18 p.m.

    If NaughtyDog doesn't make Jak 4 for PS3, I want them to make a Jak Collection with Jak 1, 2, 3, and X for PS3. Like what they did with the God of War Collection.
  • Unoriginal - December 11, 2009 3:43 p.m.

    If No More Heroes 2 comes out for all systems I am still going to buy it for the Wii (I also have a PSTripple) There were many things that made that game shine but one was the control scheme. How will the finishers be half as satisfying with random button mash/analog movement? I agree it doesn't make sense from a buisness standpoint but for the game to thrive as entertainment I think the Wii was the best system to choose.
  • Pumbli - December 11, 2009 3:27 p.m.

    Leaving out the Nintendo - Sony - Philips scandal GR? I'm really dissapointed. Otherwise a great article.
  • Cernunnos - December 11, 2009 11:39 a.m.

    xbox 360 not having a web browser is a great decision, and twitter is a giant froggy leap in the wrong direction. gaming consoles should be for gaming, if i want to converse with or flame metrosexual tweens on facebook or twitter ive got my laptop for that. kthxbye.
  • phgreat1 - December 11, 2009 8:19 a.m.

    I always defended playing as Raiden. Just think about it. How would you have felt about Snake if he was mind raped by the Patriots like Raiden was? Besides Snake is to sexy er.. I mean smart for that.
  • Cwf2008 - December 11, 2009 5:08 a.m.

    I almost believed that the picture for the PSP Go with a second stick was real...=( And @AggressiveMold: While we're bashing MS for overcharging stuff, how about that piece of crap i think 512 MB memory card that costs about $50 while nowadays you can buy a 2 or 3GB (thats right GIGABYTE) USB drive for like $10
  • Romination - December 11, 2009 3:59 a.m.

    I don't think that No More Heroes will get any sort of good press on the 360/ps3. It's a distinctly Wii experience, from the combat to the look and attitude of the game. And besides, those both have better games of a similar hack-n-slash style, so it would just get lost and beaten for not being Devil May Cry/God of War enough.
  • NanoElite666 - December 11, 2009 3:22 a.m.

    I'm going to guess that the main reason that J&D Lost Frontier wasn't on PS3 is because High Impact probably doesn't have the necessary resources for developing something for PS3. Their forté seems to be working on the PSP. If there's ever going to be a Jak game on PS3, my guess is that it'll be Naughty Dog who does it eventually.

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