The Top 7... failed futures of gaming

1. Virtual Reality

The promise

The future of video games, a technological quantum shift for industry, design, architecture and medical training, and basically the evolution of the whole human experience. Via a few simple headsets and some magical robo-gloves, we would be able to jack straight into realistic digital worlds, exploring, manipulating and even feeling them in first-person as if we were really there. Spurred on (if not wholly inspired by) the Cyberpunk movement of '90s science fiction, Virtual Reality was going to make sure our lives were never the same again.

The crushing reality


Above: The Lawnmower Man lied! 

Everyone got so drunk with excitement over this brave new world that they stumbled, tripped over the facts, and smashed their faces straight into the hard brick wall of actual reality, quickly landing in a big pile of blood and vomit.

The brickwork that made up that wall o' truth? The fact that VR as we envisioned it would require prohibitively expensive technology a hundred years in advance of our own, infinitely big living rooms filled with very soft furnishings, and the existential degradation of the human soul. The  substance of the vomit? The only 'virtual reality' console to ever make it to market, Nintendo's retina-burning Virtual Boy. Evolution of human existence? No. It was a 3D Gameboy with red graphics. Yum.

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Top 7


  • scorcher64 - February 21, 2013 4:13 p.m.

    I can see a spot reserved on this list for 3D/Steroscopic games, glasses, TVs, etc. we have now.
  • TheBoz - March 15, 2010 9 p.m.

    Here is a notion. In the news today was an article about a blind soldier that attached a piece of equipment connected to a pair of glasses with cameras to his toungue, this in turn sent information through his senses to the brain enabling him to see. Could THIS be the way forward in Virtual reality? It is an interesting piece of technology and a very interesting concept.
  • Fiirestorm21 - February 13, 2010 10:07 a.m.

    To say Telltale is the only developer so far who has done episodic gaming well is a fair argument, but the nonsense about the HL2 episodes being a failed experiment need to stop. The whole point from the beginning was that they'd be shorter but cheaper and take less time to come out. Shorter? Yep, though still ironically about as long as most mainstream shooters these days. Cheaper? You betcha. And the last time I checked, three episodes are coming out in the same amount of time it took Valve do a full-scale single entry in the series. So, last time I checked, that would mean that they are being released more frequently. Not to mention that saying it's taken 3-4 years for Episode Three since Episode One completely skips over that little game in there called Episode Two. Come on, people, basic math isn't all that hard. Though, granted, like I said at the top, I agree Telltale is the only company to do episodic gaming well in the way gamers envisioned it. @drawed - Considering the success of Steam in addition to the successes of Xbox Live Arcade and the PSN store (both of which you mentioned but seemed to undercut substantially), I wouldn't say digital distribution is a failed future. Simply that we're not completely where we want to be doesn't mean that it's a failed future. That would be like saying our trip to Kansas failed because we're still in Kansas. Doesn't exactly make much sense.
  • Romination - February 11, 2010 3:51 a.m.

    I'm calling it, the fiber diet metaphor made my fucking DAY
  • Yeager1122 - February 10, 2010 4:23 p.m.

    haha love the virtual reality one.
  • Duckmaster - February 10, 2010 7:03 a.m.

    I never played it when it first came out, but my mom got me a Virtual Boy a few years ago and I love it! It's graphics may not be the best, but the red and black coloring of every game is interesting and for some games, it has great 3D for when it was released.
  • mentalityljs - February 10, 2010 1:40 a.m.

    Goodness, the only thing keeping Sega CD alive in my head is Eternal Champions. That shit kicked ASS! I think I've only known one person my entire life who's ever owned a 3DO. And Virtual Boy, LMAO. I remember playing it and burning my eyes out at Blockbuster when it first came out. They had the right idea, just WAY too ahead of it's time.
  • upUPandAWAY - February 9, 2010 6:49 p.m.

    hahaha! 3DO. I had the first version with the flip top not the auto sliding disc loader thingy. That system was so far advanced compared to the others out at that time. Road Rash was the whole reason I bought it. Does anybody remember "R.I.S.E. of Robots"? For anyone who doesn't remember that game, just think of a fighting game with only 6 battles and no music. It did however have exceptional graphics (at the time) and full motion video for the characters.
  • 8bitBaby - February 9, 2010 5:49 p.m.

    daawww... the future is fail.
  • AuthorityFigure - February 9, 2010 12:07 p.m.

    My advice to you, fellow gamers, is not to wait for any Half-Life 2: Episode Anything. Valve seem very arrogant to me.
  • GameManiac - February 9, 2010 3:51 a.m.

    I can only imagine the money that eye doctors have made with Virtual Boy reladed cases...
  • RebornKusabi - February 9, 2010 1:23 a.m.

    Ah my childhood! How many useless abandonware was released during that period lol
  • robotechandnarutosucks - February 9, 2010 12:46 a.m.

    LOL at the last pic.
  • MaynardJ - February 8, 2010 11:56 p.m.

    Sega CD, 32X, 3DO, Virtua Boy... I remember all of these. Damn, the 90s were exciting! Thankfully the Activator never made it to Europe, this is the first time I read about it. Thank heaven for the choices my brother and I made back then; SNES and Megadrive (European name for Genesis), after that PC and Playstation. We're both still gaming omnivores. Episodic gaming still looks interesting, at least the way Telltale does it. I just finished a free episode of Sam & Max and I'm interested in more of it, but I'd still like it on a disk. I do want all three HL2 episodes, but once the third is complete they'll probably release a new Orange Box and I'll buy that. Which means I still haven't played the main game... life's not fair.
  • Cyberninja - February 8, 2010 11:28 p.m.

    as long as the new sonic episodes are good it will be fine by me
  • WonsAuto - February 8, 2010 10:04 p.m.

    Holy crap, that picture of the fat guy with Short Round is gold!
  • farsided - February 8, 2010 8:36 p.m.

    um...let's see. Motion control is booming, and eventually it will be able to capture small hand gestures (aka Minority Report). So that hasn't failed. Episodic content works for the most part (Sam and Max anyone?), but citing valve taking forever to release Episode 3 does not cement your argument. Virtual Reality is in essence dealing with 3D, and while the stupid little helmets didn't work (come on, it was too far ahead of it's time) CES'09 or whatev basically proved how into 3D and immersion people are. So while VR basically hit a 10 year road bump, it didn't fail, it just had to wait for the technology to catch up with the concept. So only 4 of the 7 were spot on. WEAK.
  • Madserj - February 8, 2010 8:33 p.m.

    To be fair, the Sega thing looked ok, but I bet that 1-800 number was in meltdown on the first week. That has to be the most complicated controller ever.
  • OberKommando44 - February 8, 2010 8:29 p.m.

    Ugh Virtual reality, another 60 bucks down the drain :(
  • twewy13 - February 8, 2010 8:20 p.m.

    hah, virtual reality, super fail...

Showing 1-20 of 32 comments

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