At the bottom of this list sparks only more of the worst, not the most disgusting of the crop. This landfill in Nevada is the only equal opportunity graveyard for technology on the whole of Earth. After all, Apple still hasn’t crushed the market of other music players or tablet salesmen, even when their creations are so below par. The plastic-laden bottom of this ditch will be filled before long, so I’d best take my survey and go; who knows what kind of horrors would arise from being buried with such filth of circuitry and wire. Let’s make this quick.
Ahh, the age of live-action video games known as FMVs. This is what the Phillips CDi was known for post-mortem in 1991 and continued through its run seven years later with a surprising abundance of edutainment and had its crowning achievement as being another console that could play Myst….and it actually worked? What a shock! Because everyone loved the idea of Voyeur, why shouldn’t there be two systems with the same control problems you’d never personally experience if you held a telescope? You’re not entirely working the best economic designs when your first launch title is a rehashed Sega CD title about aliens lasering up the garbage drop of Starship Troopers and a double feature with a western thrown straight into landfill in the desert. Just saying
CDi had a deal with Nintendo, and drove it straight into the ground with insulting first-party titles like Link: Faces of Evil. It also sparked the end of the adventure game at large until independent companies brought them back in a big way. The Phillips CD-i was different from the other systems on this list; they stepped on others toes and still came out with a product I’d rather use as the set-piece of my living room table. .
For all the companies represented on this list, Nintendo appears to have their hand in most of these pies. That is because of their incredible prevalence in gaming culture, but it is also because Nintendo were the innovators of the gaming world until just recently. Back in the eighties and nineties, Nintendo did whatever it could to innovate and expand their own marketshare with interesting and new-fangled technology. That would include disc drives in time with the CD-I, but before that there was television-based gimmicks using a prototypical Internet to play Zelda.
Seriously, that was Satellaview’s biggest achievement. When it was released in 1995, there were a number of broadcasted games which featured time limits and special events. The first of a couple examples of this kind of on-the-spot gameplay was during a transmission for the NES Zelda with graphical enhancements and a game using the same map and gameplay as Link to the Past. Even then, the original games were lackluster or based entirely off Nintendo franchises…but only part of them. Square got themselves involved with this technology, and what did they get? Just the bike racing from Chrono Trigger and a visual novel. Even then, the system was incredibly laggy and buggy since it spread over the whole of Japan. Can you imagine what a modem connection in the nineties would have been like when everyone was hogging it? Thank the heavens for fiber optics. And to think that something like this could work even more incredibly nowadays. After all, this was the prototypical inspiration for DLC. Except it wasn’t large, time-consuming, or as expensive as the original game.
This was at the top of this heap, actually. The hole was dug up, and someone discarded this trash down here with barely a thought. A single discarded white frame from 2004′s Electronic Entertainment Expo, the Phantom had so many high hopes dashed by the workings of well-founded digital distribution hubs like Steam and Gamersgate. A console dedicated to digital distribution which could be played straight from the television, it claimed the ability to play PC games as well and would include a massive library of titles old and new. And this was not a small undertaking; there were over two-hundred guys on this project who wasted their time on keyboards and mice and streaming software. The founder of DirectX was behind this. You know, the single most important program to PC gaming that will never let you forget it with constant updates? Yeah, that guy was involved.
Problem is, people flew too close to the sun. There were so many good ideas that they drowned themselves in the pressure and couldn’t bring themselves to continue. It was too ambitious for a newly grown company. Still, it’s not like their ideas are completely lost. Well-made wireless keyboards are now their forte, and many more gamers need good controls than good systems as several of the consoles on this list have shown. For now, I’m gonna seal up this hole and take a cold shower. I feel like I’ve fallen from grace.