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Consoles of the '90s

Console: WonderMega/X'Eye
Manufacturer: Sega/JVC
Discontinued in: ~1997

A Genesis/Sega CD combo that came bundled with a multimedia encyclopedia. Also had karaoke capabilities and lived in obscurity until right now, when you just read it ever existed at all.

Console: Pioneer LaserActive
Manufacturer: Pioneer
Discontinued in: ~1995

Remember laserdiscs? Of course not, and that's why most of you never saw or heard of this jangly weirdo that supported add-on modules for Genesis and TG-16. Everything about this monster was overpriced and outdated - but it makes a great conversation piece. "Really?" "Yes!"

Console: Jaguar
Manufacturer: Atari
Discontinued in: 1996
Yet another feline machine from Atari, this one saw limited release in '93 and then widespread in '94, though never once posed any threat to Saturn, N64 or PlayStation. Most of its library is laughably bad, and the few standouts (Tempest 2000, Alien vs Predator) have aged terribly. A surprisingly large homebrew audience has kept this system in a state of flux for years after its official end - despite a cumbersome controller that's the same size as some handhelds.

Console: 3DO
Manufacturer: Panasonic, Goldstar, Sanyo
Discontinued in: 1996

A magical dream machine that was supposed to dominate the industry with unprecedented multimedia capabilities, superior CD ports and, uh, a $700 price tag. After heavy, heavy promotion it eventually folded, even with cheaper models from Goldstar and Sanyo. It was to be followed by the M2, a console that never materialized.

Console: NES 2
Manufacturer: Nintendo
Discontinued in: 1995

With the SNES leading a successful charge into the 16-bit era and the original NES falling behind, Nintendo stripped a lot of the excess fat away and offered this slimmed-down alternative. The controller is far superior to the original (modeled after the SNES controllers) and the top-loading cart slot was better than the old NES's toaster style, but the crap RF shield, bizarre visual glitches and outdated tech meant the NES's days were over.

Console: Genesis/Mega Drive II
Manufacturer: Sega
Discontinued in: 1998

Another scaled-down re-issue of a popular machine. The Genesis was still going strong when this version hit, so it wasn't a last-ditch effort to cram a few more sales in before the next machine hit. It's a totally different size than the original Genesis, so Sega CD saw a redesign to accommodate the new system.

Console: Sega CD 2/Mega CD 2
Manufacturer: Sega
Discontinued in: ~1995

The companion console to the Genesis II, it was functionally identical to the original "tower" Sega CD. Instead of a disc tray (like the PS2 and 360) it had comparatively cheap (i.e. flimsy) compartment for CDs (like Saturn, Dreamcast the slim PS2). Neither version was all that successful, despite a few standout titles.

Console: Amiga CD32
Manufacturer: Commodore
Discontinued in: 1994

Though successful in Europe, the CD32 didn't even make a scratch in the US market. Maybe if Commodore hadn't been knee-deep in legal trouble and eventual bankruptcy its UK dominance could have spread elsewhere. Or, maybe console gamers just don't care about keyboards, floppy drives and other computer-y nonsense.