The word ‘iconic’ gets thrown around a lot in gaming – especially if you’re Ubisoft – but some things in gaming truly are iconic; Mario’s cap, the Triforce in Zelda and probably some things that non-Nintendo companies have done. And consoles are no different. Who doesn’t get tingly when you pick up a SNES controller, or hear that eerie PS2 startup noise, or just look at the original Xbox? Hell, even the fecking N-Gage is likely to inspire some feeling of nostalgia in some of you out there!
But not every console is so lucky. There’s a good chance a lot of you out there once held a Gameboy Colour or Playstation in your hands at least once, but there’s almost no way any of you had these bad boys in your possession. Here are five consoles you’ve definitely forgotten.
- The WonderSwan
A bit of a cheat here, as the WonderSwan was only released directly in Japan. Developed by Game Boy creator Gunpei Yokoi and released by Bandai, the WonderSwan was released five months after the Gameboy Colour. Boasting a cheaper price-point than its competitors, the WonderSwan (and the later WonderSwan Colour) was a moderate success, with a North American release through Mattel being agreed upon but later cancelled. The announcement of the GameBoy Advance in 2000 killed any momentum the WonderSwan had, and the WonderSwan ceased production in 2003.
- The 3DO
The Panasonic 3DO is, or at least was, the prime example for why price-point is a huge part of a successful console launch. Promoted massively at launch (even being Time Magazine’s 1993 Product of the Year somehow…), the 3DO looked to unseat the Sega Mega Drive and the Super Nintendo (among others) for console supremacy. Designed by the minds behind the Commodore Amiga and the Atari Lynx and licensed to Panasonic (and later Sanyo and GoldStar) its main claim to fame was its superior graphics at the time. However, not even the mighty Gex could stop the 3DO from ultimately failing, with most critics placing the blame on its $700 price-point.
- The N Gage
I mentioned this console above and I guarantee half of you have already forgotten it, haven’t you? The N Gage was phone giant Nokia’s attempt at stealing away customers from Nintendo, and was the first real attempt at what we now know as mobile gaming (outside of having Snake on your Blockia). The N Gage incorporated a phone as well as more advanced games, but due to the buttons being more suited to phones than gaming, as well as its taco-like shape, the N Gage was DOA when it launched in 2003. A later redesign couldn’t save the N Gage, and the line was discontinued by Nokia in late 2005.
This is a console you’ll see top a lot of these “unknown console” lists, and I can kind of see why. Unless you lived in Japan, the TurboGrafx-16 (despite being released pretty much everywhere) was a massive commercial failure. Intended to compete with the Nintendo Entertainment System (or NES), the TurboGrafx-16 ended up mainly competing with the Sega Genesis (and later the SNES) in North America. Despite selling well early on in the USA, the TurboGrafx-16 suffered from a lack of third party support, and a lack of consistent marketing. A flop in the West, it was extremely successful in Japan, outselling the Famicom (NES) there and serving as the main sales rival for the Super Famicom.
- PSP: Go
I absolutely dare anyone out there to genuinely say they owned one of these bad boys. It’s absent from a lot of these kinds of lists either because it’s very new in comparison to the other entries, or because it’s so forgettable that no one else out there actually remembers it. The PSP: Go was Sony’s attempt at reviving the PSP brand before ditching it for the Vita. The Go didn’t have a slot for UMDs (remember them?) and instead opted for a downloadable-only system. Sales meandered for a year or two when it was axed for the then-upcoming Vita.