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10 Failed Consoles You’ve Probably Never Heard Of!



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Funtech Super A’Can

As far as failures go this has to be one of the biggest but also one of the least documented. The story goes that manufacturer Funtech lost over 6 million US dollars before they pulled this console from the market only a year after its launch.

The Super A’Can was based around the popular Motorola 68000 chip seen in systems like the Atari ST, Amiga, Sega Mega Drive and SNK Neo Geo. A good start you might think, the problem was that in 1995, when it arrived on the market, we had already moved into the next generation of systems with the Sony PlayStation, Sega Saturn, 3DO and Atari Jaguar on the shelves. A 16-bit cartridge based console just wasn’t going to cut it against that kind of competition. People now wanted proper 3D graphics with polygons, something the poor old Super A’Can couldn’t offer.

A grand total of 12 games were released for the system, with its most famous games being a version of popular RPG Dragon Force and the Taiwanese Street Fighter 2 rip-off Sango Fighter. The Super A’Can is now considered to be extremely rare and highly sought after by hardcore collectors.

Epoch Cassette Vision

Epoch’s Cassette Vision console is particularly interesting in that it was one of the very first home consoles to be designed and manufactured in Japan, well before the success of Sega and Nintendo.

It was released in 1981 to compete with the popular Atari 2600 VCS, which had just been launched there, but lacked big name titles of it’s American rival with most of its 11 game library being made up of clones of popular arcade games. The Cassette Vision was also interesting in that it featured no external controllers, all the buttons were on the actual console itself making it very awkward to play anything, especially with a second player!

Despite the failure of the Cassette Vision to capture the market, Epoch were not put off and released the Super Casette Vision 3 years later in 1984. This had moderate success in Japan and was also sold in some parts of Europe. The SCV upped the ante in the games stakes with over 30 cartridges being released including hugely popular titles such as Boulder Dash, Miner 2049’er, Doraemon, Mappy and Pole Position II.

Bandai Playdia

Another company to appear on this list more than once is the hugely successful Japanese toy company Bandai, who ended up merging with Namco some years later.

In 1994 they announced they were entering the home console market with a new CD-ROM based console called the BA-X. This name was changed to the more friendly Playdia before launch and the machine boasted an infrared controller and a host of exciting games based on popular Japanese franchises such as Hello Kitty, Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon and Ultraman. Like many other CD based machines of the time, such as the 3DO and Philips CD-i, it was marketed as a multimedia system rather than just a straight forward games console.

Unfortunately the Playdia was incredibly under powered, especially when compared to its rivals, and failed to impress even its home audience. Bandai plugged away for 2 years with the console, releasing over 30 games, before pulling the plug midway through 1996 leaving a host of previously announced titles unreleased and unmissed.

VTech Creativision

In 1981 Hong Kong based electronic games and toys manufacturer VTech attempted to join the rising home video game market by engineering an original system capable of competing against the hugely popular Atari 2600 VCS and Mattel Intellivision.

Using a 2 Mhz 6502 CPU like the NES, Atari 7800 and Commodore 64, the same video chip as the MSX and a sound chip that was later seen in the Sega Master System it had impressive specs for the time. Despite being released worldwide, the system only achieved moderate success in a few regions. Most notably in Australia and New Zealand, where it was most amusingly re-named the Dick Smith Wizzard, and also in Italy where it was marketed by well-known washing machine manufacturer Zanussi.

Around a year or later a computer version of the machine was also released, called the VTech Laser 2001, as well as a kit to turn your CreatiVision into a fully-fledged computer. The console was finally discontinued in 1986 with only 15 games ever released for it.

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