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Culprit: Worlds of Wonder
US launch price: $99
What it would cost today: $183.95
Sucks because: This top spot was originally going to go to a used Genesis that one of our editors bought online, only to find out it didn't work right because it was filled to bursting with long-dead cockroaches - but we decided to give it to the Action Max instead. That's how shitty the Action Max is: given the choice, we'd rather play a Genesis full of terrifying bug husks.
The brainchild of Worlds of Wonder - the same people who gave the '80s Teddy Ruxpin and Lazer Tag - the Action Max was basically just a light gun, a box that hooked up to your TV and a handful of VHS tapes masquerading as games. The idea was simple: shoot at a movie, and if you hit the moving, strobe-like "targets" coded into the tape, you'd get points. And, yeah, that's about it.
A whopping five tapes were produced for the system (some say six, but the sixth one's usually listed as "unconfirmed"), and all of them ran about 20 to 30 minutes, featured sub-porn production values and never, ever offered anything new or different on subsequent viewings. For an idea of the incredible awesomeness that awaited Action Max owners, check out these trailers that somehow survived into the digital age:
Above: Spooks! Mechanical Crabs! Lasers! All of them terrible!
Shortly after producing the system, Worlds of Wonder went out of business. Some say the Action Max had little to do with that. We say it was divine retribution.
Best game: Sonic Fury, but only because it came packaged with the system and was therefore the only game you'd never have to go out and attempt to actually buy.
Did we leave out your least favorite console? Want to add some fuel to the fire? Go ahead and vent your spleen in our forums.
Feb 22, 2008