Wednesday 5 November 2008

The Consoles That Time Forgot

Rob Wade can bang on about how awesome his Wii and his 360 are all he wants. The fact is that a good percentage of consoles have ended up on the junk pile of history. Here are just a few of them:

The Magnavox Odyssey

Most will say that the Atari 2600 was the first ever games console. Some smart arses would probably say that the Pong plug-and-play game was the first. The fact is that they are just plain wrong. History establishes The Magnavox Odyssey as the first ever console, way back in May of 1972. Why have most people forgotten about it? Purely for its retarded nature.

Firstly, the system was run off of batteries, the concept of a power supply seeming to have completely escaped the team of developers. Secondly, there was no sound. At all. Whilst Pong was several years off, you would have thought that a simple blipping would have been considered.

The fact that the console was monochrome was at first not that big of a deal. If it had just been black and white, I think that everyone would have been fine with that. Maganvox’s solution was simple, but fell into what is known as the "Giant Robot Crab Trap". If something is average, don't draw attention to it, because the explanation can be shittier than the actual problem.

Their solution? The console came packaged with colourful acetate sheets that could be taped into position over the screen, to simulate colour gameplay in a looking-thorough-Quality-Street-wrappers kind-of way. Of course, if your TV didn’t fit one of the two sizes supplied, you were fucked anyway.

The saddest moment: realising that your new console came packaged with dice, poker chips and pads for keeping score.

Apparently a light-gun was developed, also the first of its type, but it was ditched after realising that you could score a perfect hit by just firing the thing at a light bulb.

The Nintendo Color TV Game 6

Did you know that Nintendo had a system before the NES? They did, they just don’t want you to know about it.

The Color TV 6 console decided against the idea of cartrides, and opted to simply allow you to play the six games built into the console. If this doesn’t sound too bad at first, prepare for confusion when you find out that all six games are tennis games.

Futhermore, prepare for some pulled muscles, pained backs and new relationships! Why? Because the control pads are fused to the console! And I don’t mean that they’re permanently attached by wires. By that, I mean that they are ON THE CONSOLE!

The Emerson Radio Corp Arcadia 2001

The Arcadia 2001, technology wise, wasn’t a bad system. It was the first console that was designed to be portable so that you could take it on holiday, or even run it off of a car cigarette lighter socket if you wanted. You still needed a TV, and portable TVs were hard to find in 1982 (especially ones that ran from a car cigarette lighter), but it was the thought that counted.

The Arcadia 2001 was actually, hardware-wise, a reasonable system. It was colour, had sound, and two controllers with twelve buttons apiece. It even had top games like Pacman, Galaxian and Defender. So what was so bad?

The problem was that Atari owned exclusive-rights agreements for top games Pacman, Galaxian and Defender. On its release, Atari grabbed The Emerson Radio Corp by the ear and proceeded to fuck it in the butt all the way to the courthouse, leaving them with thousands in debt, thousands in legal fees and thousands of cartridges that they couldn’t legally sell.

The Amstrad GX4000

It’s hard to be able to use the phrase “dead in the water” to describe any console other than the Arcadia 2001, but the Amstrad GX4000 was dead in the water the day it was released.

Released in 1990, the GX4000 harnessed 8-bit gaming power like no other system. The problem was that in 1990 the Sega Mega-Drive and Nintendo SNES were already harnessing 16-bit gaming power, leaving the GX4000 very much on the special bus.

To make matters worse, most of the games that were released were simply ports of Amstrad CPC games copied from tape to cartridge. That’s like if today a company brought out a console to fight the 360 and the PS3 (it’s a two horse race, and you know it) that had the processing power of the Sega Saturn. Owners had the choice of paying £3.99 for a CPC cassette, or £25 for exactly the same game on cartridge.

The Casio Loopy

It was a console aimed entirely at girls. This concept failed, as video gamers tend to think that girls are "yukky".

There was a game for it released called Anime Land. I don’t what it was like, or what the concept was, but I do know that someone, somewhere is jerking off to it right now.

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