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The 10 worst consoles ever

9. 32X

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 go play 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 free here.

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26 comments

  • TE5LA - August 25, 2013 11:25 a.m.

    The Jaguar was not a bad system. Did you own one? The graphics were very good for the time. If you're going to compare it to the Saturn and PlayStation, which used CD-ROM drives, you should compare the Jaguar using its optional CD drive. Apples to apples. Another nice thing about Jaguar games, all the cartridges had battery backup so game scores and progress could be saved.
  • uz_mike222 - August 26, 2009 4:28 a.m.

    i only got three things for this article 1) chainsaw391, DON'T EVER USE CAPS LOCK EVER AGAIN!! I want you to get a knife, stick it under the key and pop that bitch, then cut out the sensor for it. 2) I do agree with nintendroid426, Blu-Ray is just a fancy name for "better" pictures, and the only few things the PS3 has it going for is free internet, some good games, and free internet. other than that, the PS3 is just a horrible abomination. six-axis thumb sticks? Blu-Ray? and a $600 price tag? F*** you Sony, go back to making TV's. and 3)very good article, i applaud you Mikel, keep up the good work.
  • seifer93 - August 22, 2009 5:53 p.m.

    I honestly think that the GameGear deserved an honorable mention in this list. It had all the graphics of the Sega Genesis in a handheld machine only 3/4ths the size of the Genesis!
  • Nintendroid426 - August 21, 2009 1:14 a.m.

    here is one: PS3. games are good (compared to wii)but are and were in low quantity at launch and today, no one needs blue ray, 600 dollar launch price? are u effen kidding me? why have online and music when i can have my computer go online and listen to music on my ipod????
  • Blackbird - August 20, 2009 6:05 p.m.

    Aaaah... Ahhh... my brain actually hurts... AaaaAAAahh!
  • nightrider - August 11, 2009 8:59 p.m.

    what in the world is this
  • InstantThreat - August 10, 2009 3:42 a.m.

    I LOVE MECHANICAL CRABS!!!x]
  • frankmondana - July 31, 2009 11:31 p.m.

    Oh wait, I forgot a few things- -The PC boards were assembled by 4 year-old Indonesian kids with ADHD. - Common components (resistors, capacitors, etc) would change from 1 unit to another because they were bought from surplus dealers. -The unit never had proper UL or ETL listing. They sent a few units that were well built to the labs. They passed but were required to change a few things. They then built a few more that passed but the production units were built as described above. OK, I'm done.
  • platamoose - July 17, 2009 4:30 p.m.

    The Action Max was pretty bad ass, I mean it was bad and it was complete ass.
  • Bloodmeta - July 10, 2009 10:57 a.m.

    Well Gamesradar, You Are Telling The Truth. Plus The N-Gage Kinda Looks Like A Taco On Your Head... WHO WOULD WANT A TACO LOOKING PHONE D:, Plus The CDi Totally Deserves To Be In This List...But The Animation Did Make Hilarious Youtube Poop Videos Like Hayroon Said... So There's The GOOD Side To It XP
  • Hayroon - July 10, 2009 1:47 a.m.

    The Zelda CDI games were crap but they did cause some funny youtube poop
  • TheCommunist - July 9, 2009 5:39 p.m.

    LOLZ! that retarded Legend of Zelda video is the shittiest game I have ever seen...literally the shittiest
  • megarl - September 15, 2009 12:57 a.m.

    in a science text book there is a part about cellphones and the picture was the n gage!
  • darkcloud - September 4, 2009 12:20 a.m.

    uz_mike222. fanboy much?
  • eindatadog - August 27, 2009 9:13 p.m.

    I love the look on the kid's face on the package for the R-Zone. I wonder how much they paid that poor kid to act like this was a video game system.
  • eindatadog - August 27, 2009 8:57 p.m.

    Wow! Something that was hated even more than R.O.B.! This was such a loser, my Atari Jaguar pooped on it.
  • Fionachitauro - August 12, 2009 10:22 p.m.

    Graphics are AMAZING. GTA4 graphics are shit compared to these =D
  • frankmondana - July 31, 2009 11:14 p.m.

    The Gizmondo was every bit as bad as it's remembered. The company I work for had the pleasure of doing some PR work for these clowns prior to the release of the steaming brickshit pile. I was given 3 of these things as well as an unlimited account and all kinds of software and schwag. Very cool right? Benefits of being "on the inside" right? They were great little machines except for a couple of minor glitches. -The sound quality for the "phone" was a little worse than 2 cups attached to a string. -Battery life measured in nanoseconds. -A screen that was only visible standing under an 32-1/2 foot tall oak tree on July 4th, between 12:01 and 12:09PM while zebras raced by singing "staying alive". -Games that made me long for Pong as played on a 9" B/W portable TV with a scratched screen. -The "keyboard" had the tactile feedback and accuracy as a dead hissing cockroach laying on a pile of pigeon shit. -The only screen ever made that would get 1/8" deep scratches while stored in a vacuum chamber. 2 months later I couldn't give these things away. I still have them although I parted out 1 of them to use for a FIRST Robot. This was the only time the hardware from these shitpiles worked. These guys never intended for this thing to be real. It was a scam from the start. Even their final checks (accounting for 80% of the contract total) bounced 2 days after the project ended and we didn't hear from them again. We did think the crash was hysterical (except for trashing a beautiful car that I got to drive once after a meeting)although it would have much funnier if they became paraplegics relying on machines to keep them alive. Machines run, of course, with Gizmondos. Good thing I never hold a grudge.
  • HoudiniWaltz - July 31, 2009 9:14 p.m.

    Where's the Apple Pippin?
  • lorchan - July 31, 2009 7:02 p.m.

    R.I.P. Gunpei Yokoi ;_; He would have been so proud of Metroid these days... He never lived to see it go 3D. (I actually like the Virtual Boy, by the way)

Showing 1-20 of 26 comments

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