The 10 worst consoles ever

Home videogame consoles have been around for well over 30 years now, and in an industry that moves this fast, that means a lot of wreckage left smoldering by the side of the road. A lot. Those of us who follow the console-gaming industry tend to view the last three decades as a race between companies like Atari, Nintendo, Sega, Sony and Microsoft, but in fact they've just been the last ones left standing - for every one of their successes, there's about five or six other consoles and companies that were almost immediately abandoned and forgotten.

Some of those were just unlucky, but most of them flat-out suck. Whether they were cynical attempts to cash in on a perceived trend,misguided turd-missilesdesigned by companies that knew nothing about games or just plain bad, they were all quickly rejected by gamers and failed in short order. Over the next few pages, we'll take a look at the most thorough failures - the ones whose crappy hardware, games and managementdoomed them from the start - while counting down to what is genuinely the most awful and unappealing game console of all time. Brace for horror.

10. Virtual Boy

Year: 1995

Culprit: Nintendo

US launch price: $179.99

What it would cost today (based on inflation): $249.29

Sucks because: The Virtual Boy may be the easy target that everyone picks on, but it's for excellent reasons: Its promise of "virtual reality" amounted to little more than 3D-ified Game Boy graphics, which were presented in eye-straining black-and-red. Its failure at market meant that only a handful of titles were even made for it. Prolonged use usually meant everything would look reddish for several minutes after you put it aside, and there was really only one comfortable way to play it: lying on your back, with the bipod resting on your chest and the goggles squishing your nose.

Factor in the relatively high price tag, competition from the then-new PlayStation and Saturn (along with anticipation for Nintendo's own N64) and the fact that most of its titles were really just 2D games with 3D visual effects, and it's no wonder the thing flopped. It's also frequently blamed for indirectly causing the death of one of the game industry's greatest inventors, Gunpei Yokoi, who died in a car accident a few years after his red-and-black monster's failure at market compelled him to leave Nintendo.


Yes, the Virtual Boy had a few great games. But so do all terrible consoles, as you'll see in a moment.

Best game: Virtual Boy Wario Land

Mikel Reparaz
After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.