When we think about the last 20 years of video gaming and gaming systems our minds always revert back to Atari 2600, Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Sony PlayStation, Sega etc... But since the mid 80's there have been many video game systems that have tried for their piece of the video game pie. Too bad, that they just didn't make it though... Here are 5 video game systems that you may have forgotten existed in the '80s and '90s...
Desperate to re-vitalize their brand in the sonic boom of the Nintendo system coming to the US market in the mid '80s, Atari re-designed their original 2600 system and came out with a 15-20 new titles that included Pole Position II
and One on One: Dr. J vs. Larry Bird
. Hell, Atari 7800 even licensed and released their own version of Super Mario Bros.
for the inferior system. The Atari 7800 sold modestly from 1986 until 1991 before discontinued and along the way many that bought it had expressed numerous complaints about the lackluster graphics and poor sound. However, one upside to the Atari 7800 system was that it would also afford its owner the ability to play their own 2600 gaming cartridges on it--being, quite possibly, the first video game system ever made outside of the home PC to allow multi-system interchange.
Anyone remember Bonk? While Bonk might be one of the most common games from the 80's available through a hodge-podge of emulators today, the TurboGrafx-16 Super System did not fare well on the market in the era of Nintendo either. However, it did have the edge of Nintendo's 8-bit gaming with its wonderful 16-bit graphics, but the downfall of TurboGrafx-16 was the fact that NEC and Hudson Soft, the makers of the system, never developed enough games up against the advanced graphics to keep consumers satisfied. TurboGrafx-16 hit the US market in 1989, and it didn't look before it was discontinued due to the overwhelming sales of Nintendo and Sega. And the fact that TurboGrafx-16 had horrible support and assistance from various software developers didn't help it out either.
The Amiga CD32 system was the first 32-bit CD-ROM console released in the United States. It hit the shelves in 1993 and it was made by Commodore--no stranger to the game system. It was designed to work like a computer, and it was possible to upgrade the system, making it into what would effectively in 1993 become the home desktop computer. It was supposed to be the wave of the future in gaming when it hit the shelves, in fact, the system was even installed in cars as an extra feature to entice buyers into the most recent vehicles available, but these never came up for sale to consumes themselves. The system came along in a time when the "first-person shooter" game was just starting to gain popularity in popular culture, and the Amiga CD32, being more computer-like was unable to handle the processing requirements for such games like Doom and Virtual Fighter. Also, the system had terrible sales when it hit the market, and within seven months of its unveiling, Commodore filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Designed by Electronic Arts and released in the US in 1994, the highly-promoted 3DO Interactive Multiplayer system hit the market and disappeared in late 1996. What made it a cool console was that it was a sort of PlayStation before the PlayStation. The problem? When it was first released in the United States it was $700.00. As one of the first CD-ROM systems, it capitalized on games that cartridge systems could not play like Alone in the Dark
and Star Control II
. And many of the faithful 3DO fans around today still insist that it is Street Fighter II Turbo
game was the best ever released.
The Halycon game console was released in 1985 and at a whopping price of $2500 dollars per console. These 30 years later, no-one is certain exactly how many of the Halycon units were actually sold and shipped, but it's suggested today by game historians that fewer than a dozen consoles are known to exist in the United States. The Halycon system was made up of a laserdisc player which was attached to a home computer system, and it was the size of mid-'80s VCR unit. There were only ever two games ever made for the Halycon system: Thayer's Quest and L.A. Raiders vs. San Diego Chargers, an NFL Football game. While the system was too pricey for most homes, elements of the technology from the Halycon system found it's way into arcade machines. Most famously, Space Ace and Dragon's Lair were two games that used the laserdisc video gaming technology. Everyone remembers those two games, even if you've never heard of the Halycon console.