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10 Failed Consoles You’ve Probably Never Heard Of!



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By Kieren Hawken

We all know about the Sega Mega Drive, Super Nintendo, Atari 2600, Sony PlayStation, Xbox and many other popular consoles that have appeared in the last 40 odd years of video gaming. But as with any lucrative industry, there’s always somebody else who wants a piece of the profit pie. For every great console out there there’s another one that failed miserably and so I thought it would be great to have a look at some of the most obscure examples.

Most surprisingly this list actually contains machines by huge tech companies such as Bandai, Casio, Apple and Bally/Midway alongside many less famous hopefuls showing that making a great console isn’t just about name renegotiation or the size of your bank balance. You need plenty of great games too and that was something that most of these consoles were definitely lacking.

I hope that this list teaches you something new, offers up a few surprises and it might even make some of you collectors out there want to open your vast wallets and hunt them down for yourself!

Casio PV-1000

Kings of the cheap digital watch Casio made several attempts to get into the lucrative video games industry during the eighties. While getting on board with the MSX was their biggest success, the PV-100 is without doubt their most notable failure.

Released in 1983 to go head-to-head with the newly released Sega SG-1000 and all conquering Nintendo Famicom (known to us as the NES in the west), on paper they got several things right. It had a fast Z80 processor (same as the Sega console), 8 colours with a resolution of 256×192 and some hot arcade ports from the likes of Namco and Konami including Dig Dug, Super Cobra, Space Panic and Galaga. They also released a technically enhanced computer alongside it known as the PV-2000.

It’s rumoured that the console sold so badly that Casio pulled it from the shelves just weeks after its full release and this was the main reason behind their decision to make computers based on the hugely popular Japanese MSX standard instead (which, rather confusingly, also used the PV prefix). Because of this gigantic failure these machines are now very rare and highly sought after by collectors everywhere.

View-Master Interactive Vision

Released in 1988 by the Ideal Group, who are still going today and specialise in toys for disabled children, the View-Master was one of several failed consoles (like the notorious Action Max) to use VHS tapes as a storage medium.

The console was sold using the slogan “The Two-Way Television System that makes you a part of the show!” and was very much aimed at younger children. Ideal used their many connections within the toy market to get licenses for games based on The Muppets, Sesame Street and a number of different Disney characters too. In fact the unit itself came bundled with a title called Disney’s Cartoon Arcade as well as one joystick style controller and all the usual hook-ups. Despite the high spend on obtaining these popular characters and marketing the console almost nobody bought one, much preferring to stick to more mainstream cartridge based machines.

It wasn’t long before long Ideal went back to what they were good at, making toys, and there is no mention of this abject failure on their official company website (surprise, surprise!).

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