Tell Us Dammit! The Consoles That Time Forgot

I heard an interesting theory lately — the console that loses the 'console wars' in each specific generation, often ends up producing the most interesting games. Think about it... the N64 with Ocarina of Time and Mario 64. The Dreamcast with Shenmue, Power Stone, and others. The Gamecube with Wind Waker and Metroid Prime. Would you agree with this? And what do you think are some of the most underrated consoles of all time?

I'd definitely make an argument for the GameCube. Towards the end of that generation I began to realise that I spent more time with my GameCube than any other console released during that period of time. Pikmin 1 and 2, Metroid Prime, Super Mario Sunshine, F-Zero GX, Wind Waker — these are classic games!

What about you guys? What are the consoles that history forgot?


    Atari Lynx kicked lots of ass. But it was pricey.

      Man, I loved my Lynx.

      I used to play it until the early hours of the morning in primary school then leave it, still on, under my pillow.

      It's a wonder I didn't burn the house down.

      Sucked batteries like nothing else I have since encountered (I'm sure there's a your mamma/cupcakes joke there somewhere). Also most games didn't have internal save memory so by the time I finally discarded mine in favour of an original gameboy the box it came in was covered with bazillions of level codes.

    I didn't think that the N64 and Gamecube were considered to be losers in the console wars. I thought that was more things like the Saturn or the Dreamcast. Consoles that almost no one owned and are rarely spoken of fondly, save for maybe one special game that's close to someones heart.

      If anything the N64 and Gamecube lost the "Hey look! We play CDs/DVDs!!" war

    I loved my Gamecube, didn't care that the PS2 was kicking ass. It had the games I loved & the controller was great. I feel that in a few years i'll be looking back at my PSVita in the same way....

    The 3do would be the exception tithe rule that thing had nothing going for it and lost bad

      No way! 3DO had the most arcade perfect version of Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo. The first, and greatest, of the "next-gen" Road Rash games. And also,the original Need for Speed (which used to actually be an awesome game!)

        Don't forget gems like FIFA, Samurai Shodown, Space Hulk, Policenauts... The 3DO was awesome!

    The Phantom!!!! It was never released but by god, following the stories of its production, the way people were ripped off, the offices never existing, the conman behind it, how it would be the first download only platform (running on dialup lolz), was just fantastic entertainment. Kotaku, can you PLEASE do a retrospective article on Infinium Labs and the whole Phantom console debacle????

    Gamecube. I had so much fun with that library of games. I still own about half of my library (traded the other half to get a Wii) and the games get fairly regular use. My one regret with that generation was not buying Metroid Prime 2 Echoes.

      I regret buying it, every time I try to play it I get a few hours in and remember why Metroid Prime was better then go play that instead. Not that it's a bad game by any stretch. The original just did everything so perfectly.

    Maybe it's because the best-selling console gets choked with shovelware?

    I only had a GameCube, which had some fantastic games, including RE4. GC exclusive, remember.

    All consoles have their flagship games. Dreamcast launched soul calibur, the Xbox had Halo, the PS2 had MGS3 and God of War among others, Wii had/has Red Steel 2, Skyward Sword and Mario Galaxy.

    Perhaps we just cherish the underdog more to make up for the percieved underappreciation.

      I think you're right. Sometimes people cherish the less successful console to such lengths that sometimes they lose perspective on why it may have failed in the first place or its faults somehow disappear.

      I find myself doing this with games sometimes. I can see the kernel of potential in a game and despite its failure the game becomes some sort of perfect mistake in my mind. I forget the drab gameplay, poor level design and dumb AI and only remember the good.

        That's an incredibly well articulated point. I find I do the same thing - I loved Red Steel and No More Heroes for what they tried to do, ignoring all the bad aspects of both (of which there were many).

      "RE4. GC exclusive" - well, until they released it on the PS2!

        And butchered the graphics.

    I disagree with that theory unfortunately. All consoles have great games but the popularity and sales numbers of a 'winning' console allow interesting gems to flourish. These game can flourish on a popular console because developers are attracted by the sales success.

    Look at the PS2 for example it was a huge sales success with some really innovative titles like R.A.D( Robot Alchemic drive), Mr. Mosquito, War of the monsters, okami, SOS: Final ecape and Psi-ops.


    The DS. With games like picross 3D, Ghost trick, the world ends with you and kirby mass attack.

    To answer the question, I think, ironically, the most underrated console is this generations most successful one, the Wii. In many hardcore circles the Wii is brushed off as a kids machine or a useless console, when there are a bunch of really good games on the system.
    Games like Deadly creatures, Zack and Wiki, Lit(wii ware), Kirby's epic yarn, a boy and his blob, silent hill:shattered memories are innovative and they use the machine in interesting ways.

    NeoGeo and any version there of.
    Such an awesome system, but who the hell would pay $250+ for a single game...

    The Sega Master System.

    People were all NES this and Mario that, but screw those guys because I was busy playing Wonder Boy and Alex Kidd.

      Funny thing was that I never really played a NES till my 20s, because ALL of my friends had Master Systems growing up!

        I second that, EVERYONE I knew had a master system except my next door neighbours, who had a NES and were in their late 20's. They let me drop by and play mario, awesome people :D

          We had an original Sega Master System (I'm talking off the original design with the Card reader)
          Our neighbours (at the time) had an NES

          Needless to say, we always back and forward between houses :)...the best of both worlds :)

            the reason for this - master system did much better in australia and europe than in america. I too had a master system. Apparently in america they missed out on some of the systems bests games like pyscho fox.

      Yeah, the Master System ruled. Shinobi was great.

      Amen to that! Couldn't stand those darn Nintendo Players ;)

    Hmm. The problem with that idea is that there's a lot of also-rans in each console generation up until the current one where no one else has tried to compete.

    1st Generation 'loser': Magnavox Odyssey. Nope, not really.
    2nd Gen: Fairchild Channel F is the lowest one I can actually find sales data on, it had basically nothing.
    3rd Gen: Probably the Casio PV-1000 but in terms of systems people actually owned, Atari 7800 didn't really have anything worth talking about
    4th Gen: NeoGeo had some great games but I don't know if it had the most interesting of them. It was so expensive that it never actually sold enough for developers other than SNK to be able to commit.
    5th Gen: Man, that 3DO sure had amazing games. The Pippin had Marathon...
    6th Gen: Dreamcast. Yep.
    7th Gen: Currently worldwide sales would say the PS3 is 'losing' but I disagree that any of the current platforms are in any way a failure. On strength of exclusive games only PS3 probably nudges slightly ahead of 360 so I guess the trend fits? Sort of at least.

    I friggin LOVED my gamecube. There were some truly amazing games on it, ones that were extremely memorable. But wanting Ninja Gaiden and Kotor, I was forced to by an xbox. However, Gamecube definitely spoilt me and a lot of xbox games that were hailed (looking at you, Halo), felt under-polished and over-hyped.

    Nokia N-Gage.... I'm sorry... Stop hitting me!

    I quite enjoyed my Dreamcast, it was pretty awes. Shenmue, now that was an amazing game that had some of the worst voice acting I can ever remember hearing in a game though! When playing it I always wished it had an option to go with the original voices and subtitles cause the American dub was so amazingly shocking. It's really not a stretch to say I could voice act better than that, even bad voice acting would've been a cut above it! o.0

    I remember finishing it and playing a bunch of the sequel. Dunno if a 3rd game ever came out though? Certainly an epic trilogy that wasn't helped along by having its first chapter on a Console that lost out quite majorly.

      Shenmue was good.
      Shenmue II was Awesome :)

      I always felt Shenmue II delivered what Shenmue promised...Shenmue was AM2 figuring it all out...Shenmue II was AM2 fine tuning it and making it a better game on the whole :)

      I love the Shenmue series but yeah I always thought the second game was far and away better then the was the promise of the first game delivered

      God I'm still holding out hope for Shenmue III...that cliff hanger of Shenmue II still leaves me craving for a fitting conclusion

    The ColecoVision ( system from back in 1982. That was my first taste of console gaming. I cherished that system. With games like Space Fury, Cosmic Avenger, Zaxxon, Donkey Kong....Man, fond memories.

      The Colecovision had such awful controllers! And that awful Smurfs game where you could be killed by a blade of grass..

      I had that one, Mousetrap got played a bit as well as Donkey Kong. There was a side scrolling space game as well where each new level saw the gap between sky and ground got smaller and it scrolled faster (was that Zaxxon???)

      I also had the Atari 2600 adaptor and could play all the Atari games on it. They were cheap as in BIG W towards the end

        whoops, reply was for HotDamn!.

        Maniacal - That was one was Cosmic Avenger.

        opoponax - the controller was ridiculous, right. It may as well been a telephone too. I had that Smurf game too. My sisters loved it. I did not. That damn bat(?)..every time.

    I had a chinese knock off of the NES that was pretty sweet - 99 games on one cart! The PC Engine had some great games too but for sheer hardware weirdness you can't go past the Vectrex...

    Best thing about the GC IMO was its controller, always looked awkward but felt really good in the hand.

    I thought the PSP was always underrated and sometimes overlooked

    I know the DS won...but I actually spent more time on my PSP in the last few years. I spent 150 hours in Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker. I loved Patapon 2 (another I spent close to 100 hours in). I liked the GTA games. I liked Resistance Retribution...and I loved Final Fantasy Dissidia and Monster Hunter...not to mention there were dozens of JRPGs on the system.

    I always thought the PSP got a lot of undeserved was a damn fine little handheld for its time...

    And then there are the obvious ones...Dreamcast was awesome, I still love it to this day and still think it was just completely ahead of its time.

    I don't think there's much truth to the theory that the console that loses produces the most interesting games. Almost EVERY console (except those that die very early) has some interesting games. But I'd look at the PS2's catalogue of titles like Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, Katamari Damacy, MGS 2 & 3 etc and easily rate its lineup of "interesting" games the equal of the DC, GC or XBox, despite the fact that it "won" that generation.

    In fact I'd say that the mind-bogglingly massive number of PS2's sold contributed to it getting MORE interesting games by sheer weight of numbers. Simply because you could make a game that only appealed to a tiny portion of the user base, but when that user base is 100-150 million strong you could sell to a very small percentage of users and still have that translate to a large number of copies sold, which allowed developers/publishers to take a few more risks.

    I agree with Braains on this one, regarding the sheer amount of installed users meaning more risks can be taken.
    However, on the personal note I also firmly believe the 'cube was the best console of the last generation; and around the time the argument was relevant, it was difficult to argue this point with people I'd meet through work, who all just had Xbox's and PS2's. Seeing that they had massive racks of games and 'cube had one bay to itself didn't help perceptions - if people think a console is unsuccessful they won't give it a try, despite them being $100 and the games an absolute steal towards the end of it's console cycle.
    To me, it's the classic Nintendo home-run - because the controllers were so damn unique, the games were designed specifically with those unique features in mind. From using the "click" on the triggers to swap between enemies on Eternal Darkness, to using it to shoot in MGS:Twin Snakes (rather than shoot being activated by letting go of the square button on PS2), to Metroid's nice big 'A' button being your primary weapon with secondary fires assigned to Y, it seems that their unique designs force developers to think outside the box and make their games feel unique.
    That's what differentiated it the most, in my mind, and made it better. On the flipside, games like Tony Hawk were a nightmare on 'cube for this exact reason. But the thread's not really asking us to think about mainstream games so the point, in this context, is moot.

    I'd agree with the Gamecube. Had the best exclusives of last generation IMO, including Metroid Prime 1 and 2. Had had more games for my Gamecube than the other consoles combined.

    I also thought the Dreamcast was an awesome system, so disappointed that it tanked and Sega decided to abandon it. The Saturn really, really hurt them.

    Atari Lynx was full of awesome. So was the Atari 7800.

    Nintendo was in all your console suggestions, Mark. There's your answer.

    Nintendo's market share was still huge and the profits generated by system sales in the N64/GCN era were pretty enviable. They weren't even playing the same game Sony and Microsoft were, considering that Microsoft wasn't even trying to remain profitable.

    My Sega Saturn's cd drive died last week, just after I'd paid for the memory cartridge.

    That is all.

    My friend in primary school (early 80's) had a ColecoVision console. Apart from Atari it was the only console I played until the NES came out - and it played all the Atari games anyway!

    ColecoVision also had a steering wheel and accelerator for some driving games too. I was always pretty shit at it but it was soooo much fun! Just like playing the games at the local roller-rink (or fish'n'chip shop), only without having to ask Mum for more 20c coins!

    In my mind it seems so ahead of it's time. Not sure if that's quite true though.

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