Skip to main content

Consoles of the '90s

Console: CDX / Multi Mega
Manufacturer: Sega
Discontinued in: ~1998

Yet another Genesis/CD combo, this time for the "no way in hell are your parents buying that" price of $400. You could also plug it full of batteries and literally watch money drain away. Apparently making a crappy system smaller doesn't reduce the crap-ness at all.

Console: 32X
Manufacturer: Sega
Discontinued in: 1996

A total failure in every respect. It was meant to juice-up the Genesis but instead confused buyers and split Sega's market in two - those who bought a 32X and attempted to figure out how to get it to work with their model I or model II Genesis, and those who simply waited for Saturn, released mere months later. Adding a 32X to your model I Sega CD does produce a nice Sega Tower of Obsolescence, though.

Console: Pico
Manufacturer: Sega
Discontinued in: 1997

Want more Sega machines? You got 'em! This one's meant for the knee-high lot and focused on learning games based around licensed characters (mostly Disney). It had a touch pad, pen pad and cyanide pill. Somehow managed to stay alive in Japan for years, even into 2003. Thanks for vidgame.netfor the pic.

Console: Mega Jet
Manufacturer: Sega
Discontinued in: 1998
The most exciting thing about this airline-only Genesis/Mega Drive oddity is a Wikipedia line explaining how some people may have secured copies: "The July 2006 issue of the British publication Retro Gamer stated that the majority of Mega Jets that are owned by private collectors come from an initial shipment hijacked by Indonesian sea-pirates." If that's true... go Mega Jet!

Console: Aiwa Mega CD
Manufacturer: Sega/Aiwa
Discontinued in: 1998

Yes, this actually happened, a CD-player/Mega Drive hybrid that shipped with a custom blue controller. It was clumsy to use (requiring docking stations and hookups in the back) and never made it out of Japan. If you have one, or have seen one, never let it get away for less than a million dollars and free refills for life.

Console: Saturn
Manufacturer: Sega
Discontinued in: 2000

Sega's 32-bit machine was designed to be the ultimate 2D powerhouse. Too bad Sony and Nintendo were both ushering in 3D games at the same time. This, among other issues, led to a surprise May '95 launch in the US with few games and a $400 tag. If you want an amazing conversion of X-Men vs. Street Fighter, this is your machine. If you wanted a new Sonic, sorry, you'll have to keep waiting. Japanese support continued for a great while, and a new analog controller tried to save the day in 1996, but nothing Sega did could save Saturn from falling under PlayStation's heel.

Console: Pods
Manufacturer: Sega
Discontinued in: 1994

Enough with the machines, Sega! Though not really a console, it's worth bringing up to show how many things Sega put out in 1994. You'd move your hands over these sensor thingies and stuff would happen, basically a $50 version of Simon. Watch Nintendo repackage this soon and it'll sell a frillion copies. The image is from Handheld Museum, because apparently no one else took a photo of the damn thing.

Console: Virtual Boy
Manufacturer: Nintendo
Discontinued in: 1996

Ugly, heavy and painful to play, no one in their right mind was going to shell out $180 bucks for this galactic-sized flop. It threatened gamers with one color (red) and the concept of 3D gameplay via goggles, two things that play as horrible as they sound. Yes, there was depth to the strange crimson worlds of Mario Clash and Teleroboxer, but after 10 minutes of play you wanted to die. Let's just call it Nintendo's 32X, ignore the 1995 US release and be on our way. Oh, it allegedly sold more than the Jaguar, and that's just plain depressing.

Console: PC-FX
Manufacturer: NEC
Discontinued in: 1998
Another casualty from NEC that only saw Japanese release. It's said to have superior FMV/cutscene quality than the PlayStation, but forgive us if we were too busy playing FFVII, Symphony of the Night and Metal Gear Solid to care. Technically obsolete the moment it hit shelves, with no 3D capabilities to speak of, in an age dominated by the N64 and PSone.

Console: NeoGeo CD
Manufacturer: SNK
Discontinued in: ~1996
A failed CD replacement to the original NeoGeo console. It mercifully reduced game cost from $250 to $50, but crippling load times and lack of notable games kept everyone away. A slightly altered version called the CDZ hit Japan in '96. Guess how much everyone cared.

Console: Playdia
Manufacturer: Bandai
Discontinued in: 1996

A Japan-only machine seemingly invented just for Ultraman and Dragon Ball Z games, the Playdia had zero hope of competing against the PlayStation, N64 or the ill-fated Saturn, even as a kids-only console.