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The 10 worst consoles ever

7. Jaguar
Year: 1993

Culprit: Atari

US launch price: $249.99

What it would cost today: $365.18

Sucks because: Look, if you're going to roll out with a console you insist is 64-bit when your competition is rocking a measly 16, then you'd damn well better deliver an experience that blows everything else out of the water. And although the Jaguar was certainly capable of more visual oomph than the Genesis or Super Nintendo, the majority of its games looked and performed like clunkier versions of Genesis titles.

For every game that actually took advantage of what the system could do, like Tempest 2000 or Cybermorph, there were ten stiff, bland, cheap-looking Kasumi Ninjas or Flip Out!s. Even Alien vs. Predator - widely regarded as the system's best game and possessing an impressive amount of depth by the standards of its time - was ugly and slow when compared to older games like Doom.

 

Above: Yes, this is pretty much how it felt to join Atari's "64-bit" "revolution"

And then there was the controller, a thick lump of ergonomic horror with what amounted to a 12-button telephone keypad at its center. Sometimes that keypad could be useful, as certain games came with plastic overlays for it that made things like switching weapons easy, but most of the time it was an unnecessary hindrance that made the controller unwieldy and confusing.

Overall, it was obvious to anyone who actually played the thing that it wasn't 64-bit; hell, it was barely even half that powerful, as the 32-bit Saturn and PlayStation demonstrated when they stomped onto the scene and curb-jawed the struggling Jaguar two years later.

Best game: Alien vs. Predator
6. N-Gage
Year: 2003

Culprit: Nokia

US launch price: $299

What it would cost today: $343.01

Sucks because: Say what you will about the infamous Gizmondo, the other handheld that gamers love to hate, it wasn't quite as bad as it's made out to be. The hardware was OK-ish and the potential for decent gaming was there, but it was marketed and sold by criminal idiots who knew even less about the gaming market than they did about driving million-dollar cars at high speeds. The N-Gage, meanwhile, was a disastrous hunk of ass from the get-go.

In fairness, the N-Gage was ahead of its time, offering fully 3D games on a handheld a year before the release of the DS, and two years before the PSP. Unfortunately, the hardware wasn't ahead of its time, and every last one of those games was marred by choppy animation, low resolution and - oh yeah - a skinny, vertical cell-phone screen. And awkward face buttons that were actually part of a cell-phone number pad. Because the N-Gage was a cell phone, and marketing it as anything else was Nokia's biggest mistake.

  

Above: Wait, wait... why do we hate this thing again?

The idea of the N-Gage toppling the then-unstoppable Game Boy Advance was even more laughable in 2003 than it is now, but Nokia seemed confident that just securing a Tomb Raider game for the system would be enough to make it sell. In fact, Nokia doesn't appear to have researched its would-be customers at all, as evidenced by an early ad campaign that was roundly ridiculed for its lame stabs at "Xtreeeeem!!!!"-ness.

 

Above: Oh, right, that's why. Thank you, former GamesRadar editor Christian Nutt, for showing us the light. And also for starting a meme

Also, when asked why players had to remove the N-Gage's battery just to pop in a different game card, one Nokia exec replied that mobile phone users in Europe had been used to doing that to swap out SIM cards for years. And that was the key to the whole fiasco: Nokia knew how to sell mobile phones. It didn't know shit about game consoles, games or gamers, and their crapulescent side-talking handheld failed spectacularly as a result. A revamped version, the N-Gage QD, was released in 2004, and although it fixed most of the system's problems, it completely overlooked the one about it and all of its games being awful.

It's worth mentioning that the N-Gage hasn't quite gone away - it's being prepped for another relaunch soon. Except now, instead of a crappy game phone, it's a service that's essentially Xbox Live for other, better phones. Even if the third time's the charm, though, it won't be easy to shake the stigma of the first two. 

Best game: Pocket Kingdom

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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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