I poke fun at the Virtual Boy as much as the next guy, but does it belong on the same list as Coke Zero, Clippy the helpful paper clip, the Segway and Agent Orange?
Time's list of the 50 Worst Inventions isn't so much a list of failed inventions as it is a list of things a lot of people wish were never invented, with a few failures thrown in for good measure. The Nintendo Virtual Boy is definitely in the latter category.
The Virtual Boy will go down as Nintendo's most short-lived system, staying on the market for just six months in 1995 before being mercy-killed. The system consisted of bulky, bright red headgear that completely obscured a gamer's vision as he tries to play games rendered in rudimentary 3D graphics. It was expensive (retailing at $US180) and came with a limited slate of games (only 14 were ever available in the U.S.) Nintendo decided to focus its efforts on the (far more successful and traditional) Nintendo 64 system, relegating Virtual Boy to the recycling bin.
What other gaming-related inventions made the list? Many Kotaku readers might agree with the inclusion of Zynga's Farmville.
Blast you, Farmville. The most addicting of Facebook games is hardly even a game - it's more a series of mindless chores on a digital farm, requiring the endless clicking of a mouse to plant and harvest crops. And yet Zynga, evil geniuses behind this bizarre digital addiction, say more than 10 percent of Americans have logged in to create their online homestead. How many hours of lost productivity does that translate into? Tough to guess. But for me, personally, at least dozens. Sorry, TIME.
And the last is a product that led to a game franchise, the loveable Tamagotchi.
When a child asks a parent for its first pet, the defence platform is a given. Are you going to feed it? Are you going to keep it clean? With Bandai toys, late 1990s children finally got their way past those basic questions with a pet that fit in their pocket. Via different combinations of buttons A, B and C, Tamagotchis could be fed, changed and entertained. But just like an actual pet with a pulse, the egg-shaped device required consistent care. If not, it could be dead - in less than a day.
Check out the rest of Time's 50 Worst Inventions to see the kind of company these three are keeping, from hydrogen blimps to good old anal-leakage inspiring Olestra.
The 50 Worst Inventions [Time]