10 Consoles that time forgot
23rd Apr 2012 | 12:40
The misjudged, mistimed, and downright silly
The ZX Spectrum created by English entrepreneur Clive Sinclair helped pioneer the home computer way back in 1982 and delivered us such gaming classics as R-Type and Chuckie Egg.
As Google treats the ZX Spectrum to the Doodle treatment we take a look back at some of the less celebrated consoles, that are often overlooked but nontheless should never be forgotten.
Atari 5200, 1982
After hitting paydirt with the 2600, Atari hit only dirt with this more powerful replacement. It was introduced at same time as the Atari 400 and 800 home computers. Alas, Atari's resources couldn't stretch to support them all.
Units sold: 1 million, Top game: Centipede
Bandai WonderSwan, 1999
Boasting the second worst bird-themed name for any console ever (keep reading), this Game Boy rival could be played horizontally or vertically. With some high-profile titles and a whopping 12 buttons it was a hit in Japan - an updated model lands there this summer - but not elsewhere.
Units sold: unknown, Top game: Final Fantasy
Coleco ColecoVision, 1982
This launched with 12 very impressive arcade ports and some bizarre-looking peripherals but was then hit hard by the gaming crash. It went under just 18 months after launch.
Units sold: 2 million, Top game: Donkey Kong
Fairchild VES/Channel F, 1976
The Fairchild VES's cartridge-swallowing innards were designed by Intel founder Robert Noyce. Its success influenced the Atari VCS - so much so that Fairchild later changed the name to the Channel F to avoid any misunderstanding.
Units sold: unknown, Top game: Tennis
Mattel Intellivision, 1980
Advertised as "the closest thing to the real thing" by US sports writer George Plimpton, the Intellivision was Mattel's response to the Atari 2600's huge success. A total of 125 games graced its cartridge slot, but increasing competition and the great gaming crash of 1983 sealed its fate.
Units sold: 3 million, Top game: Tron
NEC TurboGrafx-16, 1987
At 14cm square, this is still the smallest home console ever sold and produced mock 16-bit graphics from an eight-bit CPU. Alas, Nintendo and Sega were already controlling the market.
Units sold: 10 million, Top game: Blazing Lazers
Nintendo Virtual Boy, 1995
The most notorious gaming flop since ET on the Atari 2600, this 32-bit handheld invited gamers to view monochromatic 3D graphics through an eyepiece. Migraine and financial misfortune soon followed for user and seller respectively.
Units sold: 770,000, Top game: Mario's Tennis
Panasonic 3D0, 1993
Panasonic's dream was to lease its CD gaming format to all and sundry, simultaneously ending proprietary cartridges and earning a tidy buck. The 32-bit machine had some top class arcade ports but drowned in the PlayStation's wake.
Units sold: 2 million, Top Game: Road Rash
Sega Saturn, 1994
Sega's four-month headstart on the original Sony PlayStation was squandered by a dearth of launch titles, poor support from third-party developers and a too-high asking price.
Units sold: 9.5 million, Top game: Virtua Fighter 2
Timelex Mega Duck WG-108, 1993
Sold in the US under the equally ill-conceived name "Cougar Boy", this budget handheld was a joint venture between several small companies. It rocked a 2.7-inch LCD display that produced eye-bleedingly rich, five-colour graphics but only ever had 37 games to show off on it.
Units sold: unknown, Top game: Snake Roy