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The Top 7... Consoles that never were

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Created by: Indrema

Intended for release: 2001

The hope: Conceived as the world's first open-source console, the L600 was a Linux-based, independently produced game system that would enable anyone with a little programming knowledge to become a game developer, ideally opening the door to cheap, high-quality games. It was also upgradeable, enabling owners to keep up with ever-changing hardware cycles relatively cheaply, and doubled as a DVD player, digital video recorder and MP3 player, all of which were pretty damned impressive for 2001.

The reality: Probably Indrema's biggest moment in the sun was an eight-page spread in the April 2001 issue of Next Gen magazine, in which readers were treated to news about the L600's "exciting" launch lineup (which largely consisted of then-old PC tech-demo games like Nanosaur, Tux Racer and Shogo: Mobile Armor Division), as well as this horrible, horrible photo of Indrema CEO and apparent eczema sufferer John Gildred:

It was also painfully clear from reading the article that Indrema was much more interested in marketing the L600 to hobbyist programmers than to actual console gamers (although it just as clearly expected console gamers to buy it anyway). This was about giving power to the little guy, and if that resulted in a flood of shovelware that nobody wanted to play, then so be it. At the same time, though, the company seemed to think it could compete directly with the PS2 and Xbox, simply because it was easier to develop for. Because, you know, that's what the average gamer cares about.

Also, never mind that PCs were already doing all that stuff. This was about principle, dammit.

 
Above: Indrema's idea of a killer launch title

Why it never saw life: Indrema never even had a chance to properly misunderstand its customers - ironically, the company went belly-up almost immediately after that Next Gen article was published. After a year of failing to deliver any product, finished or otherwise, Indrema learned the hard way that creating a game console is a money-sucking business, and when it closed its doors it was reportedly $10 million in the hole.

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15 comments

  • Predreus - December 29, 2012 5:31 p.m.

    Oh man, I was at E3 in 2004 and walked into the Phantom booth just in time to see one blue screen while someone was playing Madden. It was just a modified Windows box is all.
  • Zetabyte - April 6, 2011 5:32 a.m.

    Wha!?? No Bandai/Apple Pippin? Amiga CD32!? NO NINTEDO DD64!?!?!? No Worries, i'll just assume those would have been 8,9, and 10.
  • thefreakysurgeon - March 7, 2011 12:54 a.m.

    i always find the whole deal with Nintendo and Sony and the SNES CD to be very interesting and i always love reading about it.
  • talkraider - December 29, 2010 4:17 a.m.

    Sorry phantom, onlive beat you to the punch
  • fartinapot - July 23, 2010 5:48 p.m.

    that sucks. it looks like the phantom could have been a big hit. I wonder how popular the phantom would've been if it was released?
  • Strangleme - May 11, 2010 9:04 p.m.

    Amazing article!! I never knew the whole story behind the Nintendo/Playstation drama.
  • AFilthyIbis - October 24, 2008 8:44 a.m.

    Nope. We shant be having thatbehaviour here. Away with you hail56790 and your "first". "reported"
  • wiigamer024 - June 23, 2009 1:39 p.m.

    Nintendo, and Sony worked TOGETHER?!? Holy shiz! were was I, under a rock? I'm glad THAT was never relesed.
  • Hypershadic - May 17, 2009 1:16 a.m.

    You know a few of these could possibly have made it but you know what I don't really know that much so hell thats it....
  • AA95mp - January 3, 2009 8:10 p.m.

    it's a pity about a lot of these consoles they might of actually done well (but probaly not.)
  • d3athcr4ft - September 6, 2009 2:18 a.m.

    The Phantom sounds pretty much like the new OnLive system that is scheduled for release later this year. It remains to be seen if OnLive will actually hit the market, although it does seem to be much further along than the Phantom ever was.
  • scatterlaser - June 26, 2009 10:26 p.m.

    The phantom had potential but if it was released eventually or a consel based on the same idea it would have serious competition with xbox live and the more established download services e.g. steam,wii shopping channel,psn.
  • kurkosdr - January 7, 2009 8:56 p.m.

    @AA95mp EXCUSE ME?? Specifically WHAT on these list could have done well?? -->All of the systems on this list were a prime example of 1)Overpricing 2)Incompetence 3)Useless features 4)Shitty games 5)Inability to understand the market and what customers want. -The Gizmondo2 would never stand a chance next to the PSP, even with it's (lets call it a) camera. - The ProjectX... not a console, a useless feature tucked in overpriced DVD players. Answer to your self: Can the dedicated hardware of a standaalone DVD player run proper games? -The Indrema L600. An attempt to make a product (and games), out of the work that hobbist no-pay programmers did during their free time. Which, by the way, should have to compete with consoles designed by a thousand of paid engineeres. And games made by big-ass companies, which can afford to pay an army of programmers, artists and graphics designers. Does tux racer count as a game? Probably. As a competent racing game? No effing way! Sorry open source fans, this works only on OSes, browsers and media players -Neptune: Another effort from SEGA to tranform their 16-bit fossil into a modern console. Or in other words "our accounting department said that making a new console would be too expensive, so lets try to upgrade the stuff we already have". Losers! Answer to your self: Can you turn a 16bit system into a modern powerhouse, without making the programming process for it a pain in the ass? Impossible. Good for SEGA to aknowlegde their mistake. It saved them years of life. -M2: When you have made a console that will cost as much as a professional multimedia platform, you know you 've gone the wrong way. Look what happened to Sony and their PS3 powerhouse. Look how successfull the underpowered (but cheap and full of games), the SNES and PSOne were. Period. -Super Nintendo CD: For those who didn't get it the first time... you can't upgrade a fossil. -Phantom: Eh... Hem... can't an average user do the exactly same by assembling a media center PC??? In case you didn't noticed, this was exactly what the phantom would have been. A media center PC with a fancy video card. The idea of downloadable games (the ancestor of Steam) was a good idea, but I doubt if infinium could have pulled this out. Too much aggreements with too much game companies, by a small company. Impossible
  • kurkosdr - January 1, 2009 1:27 p.m.

    Altough it's not exactly a console... Any post-G350 video card from Matrox capable of running games even from it's era fast.

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