Games are great, but some of the systems used to play them find themselves technically incapable of counting to ten, much less stringing together a platformer. A system-contrary to the gamers who hurt themselves by burning their eyes out or ringing out their ears through poor sound quality meant to make colored blocks your main characters in the 20th century. Sprites were the way to go and textures and shoddy glitches during gameplay were unacceptable when your minds didn’t have to imagine anymore. I have eight systems which only make me cringe and wallow in the past of our great community and the designs and technology that make it up. My question throughout this whole article will be simple and straight-forward: What were they thinking when they made this drivel of wires and circuitry that rival the worst designs of Hewlett-Packard? Let’s find out.
This handheld ran upon an operating system made by Motorola.The fate of its own cellphones were proof enough that failure was in their blood, yet they had to make a system with Sega that had a great premise, but incredibly poor function. Sure, the games are lovely. Cartridge games that could be played from the original Genesis and Game Gear. Two problems, though: The screen is not enough to carry a single game’s true graphical capabilities making it look like really bright vomit, and it had the battery life of a nineteenth-century flashlight. Also, the system never released any original content, so we have a full-on clusterfuck of bad ideas and even worse design decisions. For the handheld version of the Genesis, it never had a chance with no real content.
Let’s get one of the bigger stinkers out-of-the-way. The Virtual Boy was released in July of 1995 and only lasted for five months. A most unusual console, the virtual boy emphasized the use of gaming by binoculars while kneeling into an uncomfortable position against the smallest tripod known to man. Many people even considered a wireless headset made for sitting down using Velcro straps, duct-tape and the hopes and prayers of your next of kin as the red-lined 3D analog caused pain to your retinas.
The games weren’t even that bad until the end; Wario Land had premise as did the appeal of Mario Tennis. There was even a Gundam game in Japan! Giant robots controlled by an admittedly well designed controller, how fun does that sound? The problem was that it actually started hurting retinas because you were staring at unshielded redline graphics and with no shading. Playing for six hours? Take care of that beautiful, beautiful eye strain with the soft, burning singe straight into your retina.
The Apple Pippin was to be the match of the 3DO in terms of processing speed and capability at releasing the newest 3D games. Not that it was much competition to begin with, the Pippin teamed up with Bandai to make a system work and provide strong third-party support for Japan. What was released were a number of edutainment games which saw its player-base as barely functional. Oh, but its all good, you see! They also released a game known for being the predecessor to Halo! Super Marathon added all those new levels and stories for a first-person shooter that tried to pass itself off as a survival horror. That totally makes everything better, right?
Yeah, that wouldn’t come about until the next console era. On the Pippin, Super Marathon had more levels and a greater quality than the PC version….but at the expense of an extremely slow processor and even slower framing mechanic to visualize all the alien shooting in the choppiest, slowest-moving picture show of all time. Though next time, we plan on going deeper into the dregs of the past, calling forth the oldest and most distressing of all crappy game systems. And when we dig deeper, we might find ourselves staring into the abyss…only for it to stare back.