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Harrison
28th August 2007, 16:20
I've just been thinking about the afterlife of many games systems and it seems they are following a similar path to that of films. Films we now know as "cult classics" were usually panned and slated on release, and this seems to be very true of games systems too.

Look at the Dreamcast. Those of us who actually bought into the system knew how great it was at the time, but the press panned it and warned people not to buy one (mainly after the complete failure of the Saturn!). But now the system is long dead it is starting to see a revival and an ever increasing fan base.

This is being bolstered now by an emulator that can actually run game images perfectly so that new users can experience the best games from old systems without even owning them (although the experience isn't as good without the controllers), and emulation is the key aspect responsible for the recent popularity and interest in many originally less successful systems. But equally I think fast internet connections and torrent technology has a big part to play too.

The Atari Jaguar, 3D0 and Philips CDi are all systems that failed badly, but they now seem to have big followings among emulation and retro gaming fans.

Any other systems you can think of that failed badly in the marketplace, but are now seeing a revival in their afterlife thanks to emulation and collectors?

One other I can think of that is now more popular than ever, and yet wasn't at the time was the CD32!

toomanymikes
28th August 2007, 17:57
The other ones I can think of are:
neo geo - too expensive, and that was just the games. Have you ever played one of these? Its amazing - arcade perfect cos it basically is an arcade board.
Sega Mega CD - I remember this being super expensive to buy at the time of its release. It did quite well but never replaced the megadrive or challenged the snes in any meaningful way. Probably because it was one of the first real mainstream cd based consoles and they all seemed to have a really hard time getting support.
PC engine - about as rare as chickens teeth so what was the chances of it succeeding?
I also think that the gamecube would have ended up in this category too if the wii had not been (and still is) the commercial success that nintendo hoped for.

Harrison
28th August 2007, 18:04
Not sure about the Gamecube. It did quite well and had a lot of exclusive titles that were popular. It definitely did better than the N64!

Was the PC Engine actually released officially outside of Japan? I read recently that it did quite well there and was very popular, even though it was expensive.

And I have actually played a real Neo Geo a couple of years ago and it was hard to believe the quality of the games considering when it was released. But that was why it was so expansive, and real systems still sell for a lot on ebay these days. Just glad we can emulate it. :)

Sharingan
28th August 2007, 21:05
The PC Engine has always been somewhat of a mystery to me. I remember seeing reviews for its games in C+VG, and being quite impressed with the screenshots, but shops 'round here only carried Sega and Nintendo consoles.

According to Wikipedia, the PC Engine was released in North America officially, and unofficially in Europe (as the Turbografx ... daft name).

As for the Neo Geo, it isn't a surprise it didn't sell well, seeing how much its games cost. That's relatively speaking, though, since it offered arcade-quality games, and we all know how much a real arcade cabinet can cost.

Fun fact is that up until the end of this month, SNK still officially offered repairs to Neo Geo home consoles, while repairs to arcade hardware will still be carried out in the future. That's dedication for ya. I mean, it's been nearly 18 years ago already since the console hit the streets.

toomanymikes
28th August 2007, 21:32
That is impressive - i suppose they could subcontract it out to any old dude that fixes cabs as its essentially the same. Either that or they have superb confidence in its build. On that I heard that the gamecube was basically indestructable compared to the ps3 and xbox. I went through 2 ps3's and I hardly played it as much as my gamecube - the little square beast never let me down. I was kinda sad wheni relegated it to the loft when i got my wii...:rolleyes:


Not sure about the Gamecube. It did quite well and had a lot of exclusive titles that were popular. It definitely did better than the N64!

Was the PC Engine actually released officially outside of Japan? I read recently that it did quite well there and was very popular, even though it was expensive.

And I have actually played a real Neo Geo a couple of years ago and it was hard to believe the quality of the games considering when it was released. But that was why it was so expansive, and real systems still sell for a lot on ebay these days. Just glad we can emulate it. :)

Thats true about the gamecube, but it hacked me off that things like viewtiful joe and RE4 got ported to the ps2 after 6 months with more content because sony offered capcom a bag of cash. I think that consoles live in their exclusives and the gamecube had a fair few quality titles such as metroid prime. It did die commercially towards the end of the millenium gen consoles life tho - trying to get RE4 was like trying to find a 4 leaf clover. :(

I never actually played or even saw a pc engine in britain but i did see a few games released for it - I remember seeing Robokid in Boots! Your certainly right about its popularity in japan - I heard that it was more popular than the megadrive!

Harrison
28th August 2007, 22:46
I've just thought of another very rare Japanese system that is now gaining popularity in the west thanks to emulation. The FT Towns! That is a system I didn't even hear of when it was being sold commercially. It is only more recently that I've come to know it. And it's popularity now is partly down to the best versions of my adventure games, normally sporting 256 colour graphics and full speech.

A sequel called the FM Towns Marty was later released on Japan in 1991, and was actually the first 32-bit home console with a CD drive. Not the CD32 as Commodore claimed. The Marty was also backwardly compatible with older FM Towns software.

Shame that never took off in the west.

J T
28th August 2007, 23:30
Every so often the N64 gets dug out for some 4 player Goldeneye, Perfect Dark or Mariokart 64. It's still going strong despite being a party based machine that has had some rough treatment at times, and has been slung in boxes, lofts and under beds loads.

It wasn't massively successful in the UK (probably in europe) in terms of sales and shelf space, and yet there is a massive disparity with sooooooo many people absolutely loving - possibly a bit of nostalgia kicking in and colouring judgement - Mario 64, Zeldas, Goldeneyes still feature highly on peoples all time fave games lists.

The wonderswan and GP32 are names I often see mentioned on boards, but have never seen one and know very little about them.

Harrison
29th August 2007, 00:54
I was curious about the Wonderswan a while back after reading about it somewhere and during a search I discovered a site with a load of games for download (this was before torrents). I also found an emulator that worked. Sadly as the system was only released in Japan most of the games were in Japanese, and there are a lot more games made for the original b/w version, rather than the later colour. I did however discover a very good version of Puzzle Bobble, and for the colour too. Some of the early Final Fantasy series was also ported to the system.

The Wonderswan was an odd handheld system with two sets of directional controls so it could be played left or right handed by turning it around 180 degrees. Some games also played vertically.

Here's another system I bet some of you haven't heard of. The Neo Geo Pocket Color. And that was actually officially released in Europe and the US. I personally don't remember seeing any for sale in the UK in the 90's though.

Demon Cleaner
29th August 2007, 14:05
What about the Nintendo Virtual Boy.

Harrison
29th August 2007, 14:33
I've never seen a real virtual boy, but have always wanted to get the chance to play one. It was a great idea to use the stereoscopic 3D effect for a gaming system, but it was definitely way ahead of its time with this type of 3D being B/W (well Red and White in the virtual boys case) and if Nintendo had trouble getting third party developers to make games for their normal consoles imagine the trouble they must of had getting them to for this.

J T
29th August 2007, 14:39
Wasn't the Virtual Boy also terribly migraine-inducing?

The Atari Lynx wasn't massively popular was it? I had a go on one once, it was OK but the game (Todd in Slime World) was pretty shitty IIRC.

Harrison
29th August 2007, 14:53
It can't be good having intense LED generated stereoscopic graphics projected directly into your eyes, as it's not just the images your brain has to interpret, but also the combining of the two images into 3D. Today's method of actually creating a 3D world inside a motion tracking helmet is a much better solution.

I nearly bought an Atari Lynx once. I had been tempted by the system for some time, Technically superior to the B/W gameboy by a long way, and with better specs than the Sega Gamegear. I even had the cash in my pocket when I went into the video game store to buy one, but they were out of stock. I'm so glad I never got one now as it would have been a big mistake. Hardly any games released for the system and it drained AA batteries very quickly.

Shame really as the system was technically ahead of any other hand-held at the time. It just wasn't designed too well. It was too chunky and heavy and had the battery issues.. It did have a great colour display for the time though.

Atari kept making mistakes like that throughout their console making years. Look at the Jaguar. Again a great technical idea, but just not right for the market at the time. And all their 8-bit home computers just confused me. I wasn't sure what was what with that lot. At least with the Atari ST it was a bit easier to work out, although even that evolved quite a lot when you compare the very first ST released with the later STE. The first one didn't even come with a built in floppy disk drive for example, then one a single sided drive, then double sided, then an enhanced less compatible system. So in the ST was a bit of a mess too in a way with most developers just sticking with the STFM spec to guarantee maximum compatibility.

Demon Cleaner
29th August 2007, 15:05
Wasn't the Virtual Boy also terribly migraine-inducing?
I don't know, but I have an Olympus EyeTrek (http://images.google.lu/imgres?imgurl=http://www.cnn.com/TECH/computing/9911/18/comdex.eyetrek.idg/eyetrek.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.cnn.com/TECH/computing/9911/18/comdex.eyetrek.idg/index.html&h=168&w=220&sz=9&hl=de&start=2&um=1&tbnid=dj6KF-PaDHwQjM:&tbnh=82&tbnw=107&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dolympus%2Beyetrek%26svnum%3D10%26um%3D1%26hl%3Dde%26sa%3DN) headset, and you feel quite dizzy in the beginning when watching a movie for 20 minutes.

Harrison
29th August 2007, 15:31
Was that EyeTrek expensive? And what is the image quality like?

Does it actually look like you are watching something displayed in front of you? or more like you are actually watching something projected directly into your eyes?

I did get to try out a more recent similar product not so long ago and it actually looked like you were watching a large TV screen about 10 feet away, plus the glasses were clear so you could still see everything else going on around you and watch the image at the same time. I forget the name of it but is was very clear and worked well. Way too expensive though.

J T
29th August 2007, 15:32
Wasn't the Virtual Boy also terribly migraine-inducing?
I don't know, but I have an Olympus EyeTrek (http://images.google.lu/imgres?imgurl=http://www.cnn.com/TECH/computing/9911/18/comdex.eyetrek.idg/eyetrek.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.cnn.com/TECH/computing/9911/18/comdex.eyetrek.idg/index.html&h=168&w=220&sz=9&hl=de&start=2&um=1&tbnid=dj6KF-PaDHwQjM:&tbnh=82&tbnw=107&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dolympus%2Beyetrek%26svnum%3D10%26um%3D1%26hl%3Dde%26sa%3DN) headset, and you feel quite dizzy in the beginning when watching a movie for 20 minutes.

I remember reading about those! What are they like (apart from the initial giddiness)?


equivalent to a 62-inch wide-screen TV when viewed at a distance of 6 1/2 feet

:o

That's about as close as I can sit to my 37 inch (for playing wii), really wouldn't want to go much closer, let alone with a bigger screen!


priced at $899

Please tell me you got them 2nd hand or mega-cut price....

Demon Cleaner
29th August 2007, 18:28
Does it actually look like you are watching something displayed in front of you? or more like you are actually watching something projected directly into your eyes?That's difficult to say, as your eyes have to acclimate, the first time it's quite exceptional, it seems that you are looking at a very big screen or a canvas. But after some time, your eyes will hurt, as you don't have the habit. And I would also say that watching it for more than 2 hours is impossible. It's more like a toy for us big kiddies, that was also the reason I bought it ;)

I got mine for 300$ at eBay, did not buy it new of course. My model was priced at 2000$ when it came out, there are different models existing of the EyeTrek.

Harrison
30th August 2007, 01:36
$300 is still quite expensive. Especially for something you probably hardly use. Although for collecting it's quite a cool piece of hardware.

v85rawdeal
30th August 2007, 17:22
I would still have loved to get my hands on a full Konix system (with chair)

Now that looked like a cool piece of kit, with a whopping 25 channels of sound(!) and a flippy dosk as well.

And it was, if I remember correctly, Welsh!!!

Harrison
30th August 2007, 18:26
The Welsh haven't been too successful over the years regarding computer hardware have there. Remember the Sam Coupe?

AlexJ
30th August 2007, 18:36
The Dragon 32 Computer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon_computer) was another commercial failure from Wales.

J T
30th August 2007, 20:46
Over on the WoS boards (http://invisionfree.com/forums/worldofstuart/index.php?showforum=1) boards, I've seen quite a bit of love for the Vectrex (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vectrex). Anyone here ever seen one, or even better tried one?

Harrison
30th August 2007, 23:12
The Dragon 32 Computer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon_computer) was another commercial failure from Wales.

I remember the Dragon. A friend of mine had one and it wasn't a bad computer, just not supported by any well known software developers, so it had next to no software. If I remember rightly it has a more advanced CPU than any other 8-bit system at the time and even have some 16-bit abilities. And it was compatible with a lot of TRS-80 software.

Harrison
30th August 2007, 23:13
Over on the WoS boards (http://invisionfree.com/forums/worldofstuart/index.php?showforum=1) boards, I've seen quite a bit of love for the Vectrex (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vectrex). Anyone here ever seen one, or even better tried one?

I've only ever seen a Vectrex in books and magazines. A vector based console would be really cool.