RUINED SM Presents

10 Consoles That Almost RUINED Gaming

The year is 2020. Sony and Microsoft are releasing two of the most hotly anticipated consoles in recent memory, and supply simply can’t meet demand. Preorders sell out in minutes, and stores can’t keep them in stock. It’s an apocalyptic scenario–just as it played out in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s magnum opus: Jingle All The Way. 

It seems that gaming is just as popular now as it was when the NES was released nearly 40 years ago. We’re now in the ninth generation of consoles–but they haven’t all been hits. 

In fact, some have come dangerously close to ending video games for good. In today’s video, Scarlett Media presents a countdown of the top ten consoles that almost RUINED gaming. It’s a bit of a bumpy ride, but if you start to feel sick, try hitting the like and subscribe buttons. It always helps. Or hit that dislike button if you don’t like our list and don’t mind being wrong.

Number Ten: The Wii-U

After the wild success of the Wii, Nintendo needed to follow up with something just as innovative, while still competing with the very successful Xbox 360 and PS3. 

Much of the Wii-U’s problems had to do with marketing. The name itself was a big issue–many people thought it was a kind of add-on for the existing Wii, not a brand-new console. 

And though the gamepad concept was a neat idea, it didn’t play out so well in real life. Battery life was too short, and it needed to be close to the base to even work properly. 

After floundering around for a year, the PS4 and Xbox One were released, which all but cast the Wii-U into eternal obscurity. 

Though it was a massive flop that could have ruined gaming for Nintendo, they were able to fully realize the Wii-U concept in the ultra-successful Switch. It just goes to show, you can’t keep Nintendo down!

Number Nine: The Sega Dreamcast

The late 90s were a phenomenal time in the world of gaming. The Nintendo 64 and original Playstation were pumping out iconic 3D games unlike anything anyone had ever seen before. 

The Saturn had been struggling to compete with these heavy-hitters, and Sega desperately needed a win. 

In 1999, the Dreamcast was released in North America, more than a year earlier than the PS2, GameCube, and Xbox. 

The Dreamcast was a powerhouse of 3D performance and online capabilities, and it blew everything else at the time out of the water. The problem was that consumers were already wary of Sega, thanks to their poor support of previous consoles. Plus, with the most hyped console of a generation–the Playstation 2–coming soon, the Dreamcast failed to generate much buzz. 

Despite the Dreamcast’s innovations, it was canceled in 2001–only two years after its North American release. It certainly ruined gaming for Sega, who, after the Dreamcast’s failure, abandoned the console market for good. 

Number eight: The Atari Jaguar

The Atari Jaguar was released in 1993 as a direct competitor to the Sega Genesis and the Super NES, which by today’s standards, had very little in the way of graphical capabilities. 

Atari marketed the Jaguar as the first “64-bit system”–a cheaper and more powerful home console.

The problem was that the Jaguar was actually powered by two 32-bit processors, making it a 32-bit machine. This may not sound that interesting, but it caused quite the controversy at the time. 

Though it was technically more powerful than the competition, the Jaguar failed to find an audience. Two years after its release, Atari had all but given up on the system. They struggled to sell through even their existing inventory and officially canceled the Jaguar in 1996. 

The Jaguar was the final nail in Atari’s home console coffin, and they never released another. That is, until the Atari VCS was announced in 2017… though it has yet to be released. Good luck, Atari!

Number Seven: Apple Pippin

The mid-90s were an interesting time for Apple. They tried many different markets, from PDAs to digital cameras. Out of that era came the Apple Bandai Pippin, named for a type of–you guessed it–apple. 

It was released as a joint effort between Bandai, a Japanese toy company, and Apple, though Apple had very little to do with its production. The Pippin was released in 1996 and marketed as a kind of computer/gaming console hybrid for your television. 

Unfortunately, the Pippin gained virtually zero support from game developers, who were more focused on the Playstation and Saturn. And the $600 price tag was a tough pill to swallow for most. 

When Steve Jobs eventually returned to Apple in 1997, he shut down the project altogether and ended Apple’s brief foray into gaming. After only a year on the market, the Pippin was no more. 

Number Six: The Atari Lynx

The Atari Lynx was originally called the Atari Handy Game. Why they changed the name is a mystery to no one. 

The Lynx was released to North America in 1989, hoping to compete with the almighty Game Boy. Technically, it was a better handheld, featuring a color LCD screen, a backlight, and much more impressive graphics.  

There were no major issues with the Lynx; it just failed to attract attention. The Sega GameGear was released only a year later, and between that and the Game Boy, the Lynx was doomed. 

By 1993 Atari had basically given up on the Lynx, instead focusing all their attention on a new and exciting console: the Atari Jaguar. Sadly, we know how that turned out.

The Lynx was officially discontinued in 1996, and much like their home consoles, Atari never released another handheld. 

Number Five: The TurboGrafx 16

These days, NEC Home Electronics isn’t exactly a household name. But back in the late 80s, they were kind of a big deal for game consoles–though, mainly in Japan. They released a console called the PC Engine there, and it did very well. 

Given its success in Japan, it was a logical step to bring the PC Engine to the rest of the world. But when it was released in North America in 1989, rebranded as the TurboGrafx 16, it simply couldn’t compete with the Genesis and the NES. 

There has been a lot of speculation as to why the TurboGrafx 16 failed in North America. Some blame the marketing–the box art for games was lackluster, and there were some confusing add-ons released. 

NEC eventually released an updated model hoping to stimulate sales, but it was far too late; the TurboGrafx signaled the beginning of the end for NEC’s gaming division. NEC’s subsequent consoles were released only in Japan, where they also failed commercially. 

Number four: The Nokia N-Gage

Way back in 2003, the idea of combining a handheld game console with a cell phone was truly revolutionary. And no one was better suited to create it than cellular titan Nokia. 

Enter the Nokia N-Gage, the cell phone gaming device that could have taken the world by storm. That is, if it weren’t for the awkward design and tiny screen.

The design was similar to the competing Game Boy Advance, but since it was also a phone, the button layout proved difficult to use. 

Despite some great games, like Tomb Raider and Call of Duty, the N-Gage simply couldn’t hold a candle to the GBA, nor the PSP and DS that were released halfway through its lifespan. 

The N-Gage was Nokia’s first and last attempt at a game console, and effectively ruined their chances of entering the gaming market. Good try, though!

Number three: Nintendo Virtual Boy

Long before Oculus came along, Nintendo pioneered virtual reality with the fantastic and well-received Virtual Boy. I am, of course, being sarcastic. 

The Virtual Boy is an interesting case study for many reasons. It was a virtual reality headset that couldn’t be worn. It presented games in an eerie red glow that made people’s heads hurt. 

It was released in 1995, just ahead of the Nintendo 64, which meant it was rushed and brought to market unfinished. Features like local multiplayer were advertised, but the required accessories were never released. 

The Virtual Boy ended production after just one year, and with a library of only 22 games. 

Though it was the opposite of a success and basically ruined virtual reality for 20 years, Nintendo can never be accused of not trying new things. Fortunately for them, their gambles mostly pay off. Mostly. 

Number two: The Philips CD-i

As a company, Philips invented or coinvented the cassette tape, the CD, and the DVD. They knew how to revolutionize an industry. 

In 1990, they introduced a new format designed for interactivity: the CD-i. To play this new format, they released CD-i players–the ultimate home entertainment systems. 

As it turned out, though, the market heavily preferred regular old computers to these new-fangled gadgets, and the CD-i struggled to catch on. Philips eventually began to market the CD-i solely as a gaming console and even partnered with Nintendo to release exclusive Mario and Zelda games. 

Unfortunately, these licensed games were panned by critics and consumers alike for their bizarre animation and boring gameplay. 

By 1996, Philips was ready to take the hint. They discontinued the CD-i and its players entirely, and never tried their hand at a gaming console again. Fortunately for us, not even the CD-i era could ruin the Mario and Zelda franchises–though it came close. 

Before we coast into the number one spot, be sure to hit the like button, and if we missed any consoles, be sure to let us know in the comments!

Number one: Ouya

If you ever want to know how NOT to make a game system, look no further than the infamous Ouya. 

The Ouya first appeared on Kickstarter in 2012, and far exceeded its funding goal in a matter of days. The hype was real. It was an Android-based microconsole that promised a huge library of free-to-try games, multimedia support, and completely innovative features. 

It began shipping in 2013, and, well… things went downhill from there. The controller’s build quality was awful, it was laggy, and the games were lackluster, to say the least. And with zero developer support, it was clear that this was not the revolutionary device the creators envisioned. 

Ouya floundered for a while and was eventually bought by Razer, who then discontinued the project in 2015. Did Ouya ruin gaming? Not quite, but for anyone who invested, it certainly didn’t help. 

And so our list of failed gaming consoles sputters to a stop. Are there any consoles you think we should have covered? Maybe some that you disagree with? Let us know in the comments! And as always, thanks for watching. 

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Credits:
Writer: Grant Herbel
Editor: AB Scarlett
Voice: Scott Tunnix
Video: @_FearOK

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Scarlett.Media productions are for commentary, criticism and parody. All media samples are for transformative and fair use. Full source list can be found here. https://scarlett.media/10-consoles-that-almost-ruined-gaming

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See Hosseinzadeh v. Klein, 276 F.Supp.3d 34 (S.D.N.Y. 2017); Equals Three, LLC v. Jukin Media, Inc., 139 F. Supp. 3d 1094 (C.D. Cal. 2015).

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