US launch price: $699.99 - $1,400 (sources differ on the exact price, but it's not like we could have afforded it either way)
What it would cost today: $1,084.83- $2,169.69
Sucks because: One of the earliest consoles to incorporate a CD-ROM drive, the Philips CD-I was born battling an identity crisis. It wasn't sure if it wanted to be a game console or a revolutionary "interactive multimedia" device, and in the end it came up short on both fronts and pleased absolutely nobody.
Right out of the gate, the CD-I made an immediate impression on gamers: that it was slow, clunky and - unless you were a huge fan of photorealistic golf or children's edutainment - didn't have any half-decent games. Even if you could somehow bring yourself to accept the machine's absurd price, the clunky controls and predilection toward dull interactive movies and multimedia encyclopedias over actual games made it sickeningly unappealing to serious gamers; it was as though Philips had made the machine to appeal to our boring dads, instead of us. They seemed to be the only ones getting excited over this bullshit, after all.
Above: This isn't just a bad picture - it's how FMV looked on the CD-I
Really, though, it was more a symptom of a big company entering a market it didn't really understand, thinking the strength and novelty of its hardware was all that really mattered. It wasn't the first, and it wouldn't be the last - or even the last to make the CD-I. In all, at least 10 other companies (including Sony) licensed and manufactured their own CD-I models.
The CD-I was also the vanguard of that awkward early multimedia phase that persisted for a few years after CD-ROM drives became common, when full-motion video and other "multimedia presentations" dominated the medium. But the thing the console is hated for, more than anything else, is what it did with the Nintendo properties it gained access to through an abortive agreement between Philips and Nintendo:
Special thanks to Brian Lajoie of Quebec Gamers for the video.
Best game: Burn: Cycle, the only good game ever to be built entirely around full-motion video and crappy CG backdrops.
Culprit: VM Labs
US launch price: $400
What it would cost today: $490.31
Sucks because: The Nuon first entered the public consciousness in late 1997, when rumors began to circulate about a secret console known only as "Project X." Little was known about it at the time, except that it would be more powerful than the PlayStation and N64, it was being designed by two of the brains behind the Atari Jaguar and it was supposed to be out in 1998. Over the years that followed, the console was kept under tight wraps and repeatedly delayed, but occasional, impressive tech demonstrations kept the system from being completely disregarded as vaporware.
Above: We have to admit, this doesn't look like a game we'd expect to play on a DVD player. Or on anything else, for that matter
Finally, Project X was revealed in 1998 to be not a console, but a chip intended for DVD players that would enhance video playback and enable the machines to play games. Not like the crappy, choppy DVD-player games that available today, but actual 3D action titles that looked to be on par with, if not better than, the PSone's offerings. Renamed Nuon (which some say stood for "Nobody Understands Our New technology"), the system was pushed back yet again, finally making its debut in 2000 in a $400 DVD player from Samsung.
Unfortunately for the Nuon, all those delays put it into direct competition with the DVD-playing PlayStation 2. The Nuon's shoddy library and nonexistent brand recognition meant a swift kick in the balls from Sony, and the Nuon died, doubled over and choking on its own failure.
Best game: Tempest 3000