The 10 worst consoles ever

Think the 360/PS3/Wii sucks? These overpriced failures will teach you the true meaning of awful

Year: 1994

Culprit: Sega

US launch price: $159.99

What it would cost today: $227.87

Sucks because: In theory, the 32X was a hardware upgrade that would propel the underpowered Genesis past its competition and give its owners a relatively cheap way to enter the 32-bit era. In practice, however, it was a stopgap system that would be thrown under the bus when the Sega Saturn came out six months later, and everyone seemed to know it except for die-hard Sega fans and the company itself.

An attachment to the Genesis that plugged into the console's cartridge slot, the 32X offered significant improvements over the aging Genesis, updating the console's crummy graphics and sound and delivering a few awesome games in the process. Unfortunately, not a lot of games actually took advantage of that, and the bulk of 32X games ended up looking like Genesis or Sega CD games with slightly nicer color palettes. On top of that, the 32X didn't work on all Genesis models, and even had incompatibility problems with certain TVs.

Above: In case you were wondering, this is where some of Sonic's asinine menagerie of sidekicks got their start. BOOOOOOOOO!

Ultimately, the 32X was the product of boneheaded short-sightedness: its existence put Sega into competition with itself once the Saturn rolled out, and developers - not wanting to waste time on a technological dead-end - abandoned the 32X in droves. Gamers quickly followed suit, turning what was once a promising idea into an embarrassing footnote in console history, as well as an object lesson in why console makers shouldn't split their user base with pricey add-ons.

Best game: Knuckles Chaotix

8 3DO Interactive Multiplayer

Year: 1993

Culprit: Panasonic

US launch price: $699.99

What it would cost today: $1,022.52

Sucks because: Like the Philips CD-I before it, the 3DO was a prohibitively priced, CD-based "interactive multimedia" player that couldn't really decide if it was a game machine or an exciting new way to watch awful interactive movies. Unlike the CD-I, however, it actually had a few decent games behind it, including excellent versions of Super Street Fighter II Turbo and Samurai Shodown, as well as legendary PC game Star Control II.

Above: Seriously, this game rocks. You should totally goplay it right now

Decent titles or not, though, the 3DO was a sluggish, overpriced lump of hubris with a software library overflowing with games that were either built around full-motion video, or that weren't much more impressive than what was already available on cheaper, less powerful consoles.

Nevertheless, the 3DO mysteriously clung to life as a "high-end media system" until the mid-'90s, when the advent of more powerful 32-bit systems finally convinced its makers to lower its ridiculous price a little. But it was too little, and too late, and the 3DO quickly joined the growing trash heap of multimedia abortions steamrolled by Sony, Sega and Nintendo.

Best game: Star Control II, which you can download and play for freehere.


After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.


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