Out of all the game systems that are classed as Epic Failures, this has to be the most epic.

.KKliker's picture

It's the RCA Studio II.

...And it's really bad.

Those games from RCA are-okay, no more lame pop culture satire.

This is the worst game system ever made, and I mean it.

SpindleyQ's picture

It's actually kind of an

It's actually kind of an interesting machine from a technical point of view. For one, though it has a processor in it (unlike, say, the Magnavox Odyssey), its games were written in a "pseudo-machine language" interpreted by some built-in software. This language was similar to CHIP-8, which, if you've ever had a calculator that could play games, you probably had an interpreter for.

When your only precedents in the marketplace are home pong machines and this monstrosity (look at the joystick!), I'm willing to cut you a little more slack than, say, the Watara Supervision trying to compete directly with the Game Boy by leveraging the incredible game design talents of Taiwanese pirate dev teams making shitty Breakout clones.

Anyway, clearly the most epic failure in game system history was the Virtual Boy. I mean, it failed so badly it killed a man.

Strong's picture

I'd have to agree with the

I'd have to agree with the Virtual Boy, although if the Action Gamemaster ever existed it'd get top honors as well.

kirkjerk's picture

I kind of like that the

I kind of like that the Fairchild controller could be kind of a paddle as well as a joystick. We still don't have that mainstream, really.

Pizza Time's picture

The Phantom failed so hard

The Phantom failed so hard it was never released. As far as epic failures go that's pretty grand, especially after the hype it received from the company that "made" it. That even beats the Virtual Boy in terms of failures and that managed to kill its creator, The Phantom didn't even do anything which is far worse.

qrleon's picture

Konix Multisystem

Vapourware, but the video promo is hilarious.

It's a car. It's a plane. It's a bike.

dessgeega's picture

things aren't actually bad

things aren't actually bad because people on youtube don't understand them.

Strong's picture

I'm impressed that we're

I'm impressed that we're this many posts in and the CD-i hasn't even been mentioned it. Good job, everyone.

SpindleyQ's picture

Well, crazy as it seems

Well, crazy as it seems today, the CD-i wasn't really even meant to be a game machine.


There was a mercifully brief period in the 90s, between the invention of the CD-ROM and the popularization of the internet, when the technology industry was completely convinced that CD-ROMs were a completely new media that would replace books and movies. Why, you could store entire encyclopedias on a CD-ROM! And not only would it be easily searchable, but you could have MOVIES and MUSIC play alongside the articles! You could play Hollywood movies, but instead of just watching the action, you could DIRECT IT! INTERACTIVE MULTIMEDIA! IT'S THE FUTURE!

Seriously, Microsoft dumped billions of dollars into the idea of turning books into CD-ROMs.

Naturally, everybody involved was a visionary who didn't have time for old ideas; especially ones coming from people who made videogames. Games are for kids! INTERACTIVE MULTIMEDIA, now that's the future! Thus lots of terrible FMV-based videogames were made, by people who thought the word "game" was beneath them.

The CD-i was completely and totally a product of this delusional line of reasoning. Not everybody would want a whole expensive computer to enjoy their CD-ROM-based multimedia -- not when they could buy a $700 box that hooked up to their blurry television, so that come dinnertime they could stroll into the den and choose from tens of thousands of searchable multimedia recipes!

Of course, it turned out that videogames were pretty much the only thing on CD-ROM making any money, so it'd be only natural that anyone desperate to recoup their investment would turn to videogames as their saviour. And so, thanks to Nintendo thinking CD-ROMs were a fad* and backing out of a contract to make a CD-ROM drive for the SNES, Philips just happened to have the rights to make games starring the most popular videogame characters around, and thus Mario went toaster-crazy.


* Now that I lay the history out like this, I'd hardly be surprised if Nintendo looked at the legions of crazy people pumping money into a totally doomed idea and said, you know, if we stick to cartridges, we won't get people trying to publish animated dictionaries on our system.

kirkjerk's picture

It's weird how early CD-ROM

It's weird how early CD-ROM was getting done, too... Programmers at Work talks about some people doing that stuff, and it was like 1986.

The connection in time to early home computers makes me think that, wow, CD-ROMs really were just fancy cassette tapes

Pizza Time's picture

CDs are the rich man's eight

CDs are the rich man's eight track tape.

agj's picture

That's interesting. Back

That's interesting. Back then we didn't even have an audio CD player.