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The 10 worst consoles ever

5. CD-I
Year: 1991

Culprit: Philips

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.
4. Nuon
Year: 2000

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

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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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