The Big Question: Most Underrated Console

Today I thought we might pay tribute to history's most underrated consoles. Which ones do you think need the most love?

I've suggested a few and put it up for a poll below.

Feel free to argue it out in the comments below.

I'm gonna say it's the GameCube.


Comments

    Sega Dreamcast. I didn't even need to think about it.

      You should have thought about it, because then you would have realised that the correct answer is the PS Vita :-)

      I don't think it was ever underrated, in the gaming community it is highly rated....
      I think you may be confusing "rated" with "profitable"

        Nope. It was underrated by the market, hence why it 'failed' commercially.

      The poll was for "underrated", not "sold badly."

      Underrated = the opinion generally held of the console is much lower than the console deserves. The opinion held of the Dreamcast library seems to be pretty high (even though it was drastically outsold by the PS2), so I'd argue it's not underrated.

      Personally I voted for the Vita, though I considered voting for the GameCube.

        This man is technically correct; and that's the best kind of correct there is!

    Without question the Dreamcast. It was so ahead of its time :( Poor Sega.

      So ahead of its time, yet so incredibly overrated. I own one still to this day and found it to be a good console with excellent future features. But Australia got shafted with its release and I'll never be able to understand the love for it.

      Besides the spiritual successor (Xbox) was a much better system.

        I entirely agree with this.

    I'd say either Wii U or GameCube but I picked GameCube because it currently had a larger catalogue of amazing games.

      Yeah, it's close, but I give it to the gamecube because it was underrated even though it was at least as as powerful as the other two boxes.

      The Wii u is underrated in spite of its shortcomings.

      The dreamcast was to its contemporaries what the powerglove was to the wiimote; good technology, but too soon.

        It was a bump up over the PS2 and the Xbox was a bigger bump up over the GC from what I recall.

    Turbografx/PC ENGINE(although it didn't come out in Australia so i guess it doesn't count).

    Out of the above. Dreamcast.

    Last edited 12/08/15 11:24 am

    Dreamcast all the way!

    Don't know why anyone would vote anything else, such an awesome console that died too soon.

    It's a bit of a hard question. I mean most of these are either rightfully low rated or held in quite high regard. The Dreamcast for instance is more popular today than the far superior PS2. The GameCube is definitely under rated in that it wasn't popular in it's time but it's home to a bunch of classic games that aged really well, but everyone seems to recognise that. Even the Wii U gets a lot of credit post-Mario Kart 8.
    I guess I'll take the original XBOX. It's not a great console but it's under rated in that nobody really notices that it paved the way for online console gaming. It was extremely influential. Online connectivity was inevitable but without the XBOX I think this console generation would be the first to launch with anything even close to what the XBOX 360/PS3 could do. Microsoft sank a ton of money into developing it into a console-wide online service rather than just a network connection developers could take advantage of. Their motivations may not have been the most noble and there are negatives to go with the positives but I think it deserves more credit for the role it played in shaping modern gaming.

    Last edited 12/08/15 11:34 am

      Very fair point with the Xbox, I totally agree. I'd originally dismissed it's inclusion in this list until reading your comment.

      I still remember laughing my ass off when I heard Microsoft wanted to get in on console gaming. I thought there was no way in hell they'd be able to muscle in on Nintendo and Playstation. The original Xbox was amazing. Very rough in a lot of ways, but XBL really set the bar for online console gaming, and the Xbox carved it's own identity and a place in the market - and people's loungerooms in a really short span of time. Full points and kudos to MS.

      Last edited 12/08/15 12:19 pm

    I get the others in the list, but how is Gamecube an underrated system?

      I think because of it's low sales. Seems more appreciated after it's production rather than during.

        >21 million worldwide isn't exactly low sales by the standards of that generation, though.

        I think if that's the argument, then the Dreamcast is even less deserving of being in this list since if the number of people that pop out of the woodwork to talk about how great it was actually had owned one, it wouldn't have killed Sega's console business.

          In comparison to the ps2 which was more than 100 million by the time the gamecube ended retail availability it seems under appreciated. Hence why the original Xbox (which has a similar amount to the gamecube) is included in the list, while the ps2 isn't.
          In that respect the sale standard of both the gamecube and Xbox are quite low.

            No they're not, the PS2 was just stupidly high. It's rare for a generation to be dominated by one platform like that.

            I think we've seen a flip in appreciation levels. Gamecube was fairly well-rated at the time, but the stink left in gamers' nostrils by the Wii and Wii U has resulted in it being rated worse now than it was back then. Conversely, the Dreamcast was poorly rated outside of the handful of people that actually owned one back in the day, but the result of it being cut off well short of its prime gives it a sort of mystique, since we never got to see what it really could have been. Though personally I'd argue that it had already basically hit the ceiling and if you want to see what might have been had it been made by a company that had the money to stay in the business, just look at Xbox.

              Considering that the N64 sold 33 mil (which wasnt the best selling console of the previous generation) I think it is fair to say that the gamecube sold under 'the standards of it's generation' with its 20+ mil and can be considered 'under appreciated' based upon it's lifetime sales.

                PS1 and PS2 were sales juggernauts and nothing else comes close to the dominance they had, so by that logic every other system in those generations was 'under-appreciated' and I'm not sure that makes sense. It's not about sales, it's about perception. People buying or not buying a platform doesn't mean it's over or under-rated, in fact in a lot of cases it means it's rated about right. NeoGeo didn't sell very well because the system was a thousand dollars, the games were ridiculously expensive and the range of games was poor unless you were into SNK fighting games and Metal Slug. It sold about what you'd expect it to sell.

                I had both a Dreamcast and a Gamecube during that generation. Trust me when I say that perception of the two systems now is not what it was back when they were current. Dreamcast only gained this mystical reputation as an incredible system years after its early demise, probably from all the extremely vocal fans on the internet constantly telling everyone how much they missed out and ports / sequels to its best games turning up on more successful platforms. When it was actually being sold, Dreamcast was considered underpowered and overpriced and to have a poor games library (!). Gamecube only suddenly became an 'underrated' system years down the track. It was a very good platform at the time with solid popularity and a run of extremely good first-party games. If there was any perception problem that Gamecube had, it was that it was the system for 'kids'.

                Dreamcast can actually be argued to be underrated because it could have and should have sold far better than it did. Sega pulled the plug before it was mature. It never got the third party support it needed to make solid inroads, it was poorly marketed, and it was launched too early against the backdrop of a market that was utterly dominated by Sony, by a company that was near bankrupt already after their previous system flopped hard.

      It's kind of like a movie that gets massive critical success, but doesn't make it production costs back at the box office. So many games considered among the greatest of all time, but easily the loser of its console generation.

    If we are including handhelds, then definitely the Atari Lynx.
    I know that sucker ate batteries like chocolate coated chocolate, but man it was light years ahead of the game boy at the time.
    Playing 4 player link-up gauntlet on that thing was the bomb, and California Games, oh man, the surfing just looked incredible.
    The games were fun, there were some great titles, you could even play S.T.U.N. Runner on the damn thing at high speed.
    Most underrated hand-held ever.

      I just found out there is a replacement modern screen available for the lynx, looks incredible, also has VGA out and uses less power. Woot!

      Discovering the existance of a full-coloured back-lit handheld in 94 blew my mind at the time. I was unaware of its existence before then, that's the first time it occurred to me that Nintendo were behind the times a little.

    Sega Saturn. So many fantastic games that were ignored: Shining Force III, Burning Rangers, Panzer Dragoon Saga, Dark Saviour, Magic Knight Rayearth, Fighters Megamix, Grandia, The Story of Thor 2, Shining the Holy Ark, Sonic R, Steep Slope Sliders.

    Anyone who says Dreamcast is kidding themselves, because it has a huge fanbase, and is constantly mentioned as being a great system. It just wasn't commercially successful for whatever reason.

    Last edited 12/08/15 11:37 am

      Saturn was amazing. i have one, but is broken. i spent many hours glued to my saturn.
      Panza Dragoon, Virtual On, Virtual Cop 1 & 2, Fighters Megamix, Fighting Vipers, Virtua Fighter 1 and 2, Sega Rally, Daytona, Nights, 3 Dirty Dwarves (which is where my name on these sites hails from), Guardian Heroes, Shining Force 3, Die Hard Arcade, Saturn Bomberman, Various Streetfighter games (saturn 6 face button controller was perfect for fighters), Hose of the Dead, Darkstalkers, Steep Slope Sliders, Grandia (although i played it on PS1).
      ah man, so many good memories.

      i wish sega would do a re-release of saturn games across all the platforms. that would scratch such a big itch.

      Last edited 12/08/15 1:17 pm

      I hope you're joking about Sonic R XD

        No way, Sonic R was great. The characters were actually unique (Tails could fly, Amy could drive over water), rather than just being faster or having better turning. It had weather, multiple paths, collectibles, hidden bosses, and great vocal tracks.

          Are you kidding me? Allow me to list some of the things wrong with that game:

          -Terrible graphics, even for the time
          -Godawful music
          -Lack of content generally (5 courses and 9 racers)
          -Terrible courses
          -Terrible controls
          -Shitty A.I.
          -The Chaos emerald Troll
          -The game isn't finished
          -Did I mention that the music will make your ears bleed?

          People can harp on about how much Sonic Boom and Sonic '06 suck but, while those are both crap games, Sonic R tops them all. Thank god it wasn't a Sonic Team game...they were busy making Sonic Adventure, which is actually my third favorite game in thee franchise.

            And that's the internet hyperbole for you. Sonic R was praised for it's graphics at the time. The music is love it or loathe it. I love it. And this crap about the controls being terrible. They're not. If you give it more than the 5 mins it takes to for most games these days, you'll quickly get into the groove of it. It's more akin to a Wipeout game, with using the L+R triggers to help you around corners. Once you get over the fact the characters handle less like they're running, and more like a vehicle, it becomes really fun. Opinions are opinions, but faaaaaark...

    Sega Saturn for myself, it was shamefully dismissed in the 32/64-bit era due to it's struggles with 3D games, yet on the 2D side of thing's that system was a beast.

    I voted for the Dreamcast but i think the Saturn and the Wii U could all vie for that title and have a good argument.

    I know i spent hours at Myer in Launceston as a kid playing the Dreamcast and wanting one more than anything else.

      I know i spent hours at Myer in Launceston as a kid playing the Dreamcast and wanting one more than anything else.

      I think not being able to get a Dreamcast when they were new is where a lot of the modern Dreamcast love comes from. They were amazing to look at and play demos on, and the VMU felt like it had limitless potential to be awesome, but they weren't particularly fun consoles to own. The games were generally short, flawed and super pretty. Design wise the games were in this strange middle ground between N64/PS1 and GameCube/PS2. The controller was flashy looking but in terms of functionality it wasn't even good for it's time the way the N64 controller was. There were plenty of great games for it by the end and I still like it today but it was weird owning one in it's prime.

      I remember Dreamcasts used to get handed around my high school constantly. There were only about three but they were being re-sold or traded every other month. There never seemed to be a shortage of people who were super excited to get their hands on one but I think I was the only one who held onto a Dreamcast for more than three months.

      Last edited 12/08/15 12:05 pm

        I remember knowing someone with one but never actually getting my hands on it. I had a mate who wanted to buy one instead of a PS2 and i told him no due to lack of games at the time (this was at least 2002-2003.

        Wouldn't mind trying to track one down actually to see what they were like.

          If you can get one I recommend checking it out. It's fun to play around with now since there's enough games and everyone knows which ones were gems and which ones sucked, but you made the right call telling your friend to go with the PS2. As a primary/only console the PS2 had pretty much everything covered.

          Extremely noisy. That's the biggest thing about the hardware. The read head on the GD-ROM would move around a lot and the motor moving it was very loud.

          The other thing that will immediately strike you is the shrill BEEEP when you turn it on, which is your VMU going "oh god my batteries". That thing took 3 of the little round batteries and it'd chow down on them even while not in use, so you'd get maybe 2-3 weeks if you replaced them and never used the VMU's actual functionality, just used it as a memory card. It was a cool idea that was way too early for the tech.

          Controller is like the original Xbox 'Duke' controller without the ergonomics. Horrible giant thing, but also extremely light and flimsy-feeling until you stuck a VMU in there. Also only one analogue stick.

          It was very easy to pirate games for it. Some genius at Sega decided that all you needed for a disc to be seen as 'genuine' was certain boot loaders, presumably to allow developers to run games on retail hardware for testing. So a lot of stuff that fit into a 700mb CD would get pirated and have a boot loader added and you could just download an ISO and burn it straight to a CD with consumer hardware and it'd run as if it were an original game. Was the only way to get hold of some games too. The Japanese edition of Dead or Alive 2, for example.

          Selection of games was interesting. Some strong stuff that was hugely innovative. The built-in modem and ability to play Phantasy Star Online over the internet and everything was pretty revolutionary. But it was also dialup. I had cable internet by that point. I think there was an ethernet adapter later on but I never got one, as by that point Xbox was looming as a replacement. My Dreamcast was my primary system for a few years, displacing my PS1, and in that regard it was a big step up, but the Xbox I picked up after it almost completely displaced it, I don't think I bought another new Dreamcast game. Xbox was very much Dreamcast 2.0. I feel like the modern perception of the Dreamcast is at least partially pulled up as a result of the success of the Xbox & X360.

            so you'd get maybe 2-3 weeks if you replaced them and never used the VMU's actual functionality, just used it as a memory card. It was a cool idea that was way too early for the tech.

            Heh, the VMU seemed so awesome. It was like a mini-GameBoy that worked with all the Dreamcast games I was going to buy. Then I tried to use it and came to the very disappointing realisation that even the few games that did something with it didn't actually do anything with it. For the record I later fell for the same thing with the GameCube's GBA Link Cable. At least I got a Pokemon and a few Metroid Prime unlocks from that one.

              It really took until Sony with the Vita and Remote Play and Nintendo with the Wii U before the potential of the idea was properly realized. One of the many times Sega was way out ahead of what the technology could actually do.

        That's right. The Dreamcast was not well regarded until several years after Sega pulled the plug on it. At the time it was not popular. Getting games for it in Australia was an absolute chore because the local distributor was a pack of assholes. I remember being told that for example only something like 100 units of Skies of Arcadia were initially brought into the country so many retailers had to grey-import stock from the UK. I ended up buying most of my DC games online because no stores even stocked them, or if they do it was umpteen million copies of Blue Stinger and not the games that were actually good.

        I loved that system but it was not the immaculately-formed wonderbox delivered from upon high by a pair of angels while a choir sang hymns of joy like modern perception of it seems to be. It was a good system, but it wasn't well received and it basically was sent to market to die, all Sony had to do was say "yeah, nah, PlayStation 2 guys" and it was sunk.

    Dreamcast is such an obvious choice that it's hard to call it underrated anymore lol. During its time it was, now everyone wants it back.

    I voted PS Vita, most people still think it's rubbish but I play it occasionally. It's never going to be what it could've been but it's still great for indie games and remote play.

    I think this would work better if it was a per generation poll

    The PS Vita. I haven't ever noticed anyone saying anything bad about the console. It's always 'the Vita's a superb piece of hardware, but it lacks games'. I therefore see it as the Denzel Washington of consoles (great actor, mostly shitty films).

      The vita is the only console I've bought that I wish I hadn't. Like you said great hardware but not enough for me to play on it and the lack of second shoulder buttons makes a cheap gaming android better for playing psone games.

      I strangely have found no issue with the Vita's library. I find most people with that opinion spouting it because it's basically a meme these days, the same way 'PS3 has no games', etc. That or, they're for some reason expecting it to host massive AAA titles.

      It's got an utterly amazing indie library, and a plethora of some amazing localised Japanese titles as well - amongst other things. It's growing into a true successor to the PSP in terms of it's software library and legacy. The trick is to realise just because it doesn't have games you want, does not mean it has no games at all.

      Last edited 12/08/15 12:07 pm

        I understand people who complain about the Vita's library to be people who have no interest in Japanese games and no interest in indies. When you take those two 'genres' away, you really have very little left. Fortunately for me, I love Japanese games and kind of like indies as well :-)

          That plus Remote Play cements it for me. Being able to flake out on my couch with FFXIV via remote play for menial tasks like gathering/farming makes it awesome. Sometimes I don't want to commit to sitting in front of my PC.

            And Nintendo says that the Wii U game pad has been the only innovation this console generation! And before people claim that Remote Play was a response to the Wii U, Sony has said that the Vita was designed with Remote Play in mind. It was released before the Wii U and also while the PS4 was nearing the final stages of development. Even if Nintendo was talking about last gen (PS360 gen) the PSP and Vita were used (in a very limited way, to be fair) as second screen gaming devices on the PS3.

              Yeah, Remote play on PS3 and PSP was a thing right from the beginning. Nowhere near as complete or realised as PS4/Vita Remote Play, though.

          Exactly. It's a great bit of hardware and it should be praised for Cross-Buy alone, but as someone who doesn't care for indy games and flips back and forth on Japanese games it doesn't have much to offer me. I really do like the Vita but I can't think of a single Vita game I would regret not playing. Maybe Persona? I could play it elsewhere but I think playing on the Vita was a perfect match for it.

            Please experience P4G. It's quite Japanese but the interactions between the characters, the art style and gameplay make it stand out head and shoulders above almost any other modern JRPG. You will also agree after playing it that Rise is the best girl.

            :-P

        I like unique games. But I'm not dropping $200 on a system that I will likely never use just for those titles. Both Microsoft and Sony have f***ed up by pretending that their consoles are PCs and iPhones, rather than dedicated gaming machines.

      I hope you're including 'Training Day' in the non-shitty film category Zambayoshi...? *loosens neck and knuckles*

        That movie was so. Bad.

        *tilts head side to side to pop neck stifness, rolls shoulders*

          Bad is in Michael Jackson Bad or Batman Arkham Knight PC Launch Bad?

            Bad as in, 'Play with your phone for the first half hour until you can't take it and demand the other person you're watching with pick something else' bad.

            LET'S DO THIS

              Holy shit we are going to fight. Surely the whole movie (whether you like it or not) is redeemed by THAT monologue?

                Unfortunately I have no memory of what that monologue might be. Something more interesting must've been taking place... like a really satisfying fart.

                BRING IT

                (Seriously though, I didn't mind it that much, but was kinda bored. I'll have to look that monologue up.)

                  For context, Alonso (Densel Washington) is back in the hood after ratting out his boy Jay (Ethan Hawke) to some Mexican gang bangers. Jay finds out and keeps the money that he needs to pay off a debt he has with some of Putin's finest: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6KrNpxODiDA

                  JAY

    Has to be DC! It was WAY ahead of it's time.

    First ever console to support 480p + VGA box
    Had 60hz option for SLOW people from PAL region
    Had modem/eth port options
    A memory card(VMU) where you can play games in it !
    Voice activated game like Seaman!
    Dreameye for webcam'ing!
    Fishing rod/arcade stick/KB-M - it had every type of "controller"
    Seganet/PSO

    The gfx still look pretty good in 2015....and very playable.

    @markserrels: no PSP option?

    Last edited 12/08/15 11:53 am

      I was just about to comment the PSP would be my most underrated system. Handheld or otherwise. Got a lot of love in Japan though, but in the west it never really took off, did it? It just has the most incredible library.

        It had a fantastic lineup, even more so if you count the Japanese library. And yeah, didn't do well in the west at all.

          I gave the PSP a go in early days - right on launch - and tried out Dynasty Warriors, Lumines, and some lame attempt at a first-person shooter before writing it off as a lost cause. Actually gave it away.

            You're a monster.

              The library was non-existent, the discs were a joke, the charge hardly lasted any time at all, the thumb-stick was painful and ineffective, and the cat-and-mouse dickery around firmware updates to combat jailbreaking was frustrating.

              My brother later got a white Japanese version which seemed to be greatly improved on my dodgy launch model.

                Yeah but having a crap software lineup at launch is hardly uncommon.

                  Well. Australian launch. I think it had already been out in Japan for like... nearly a bloody YEAR, and had a very decent line-up of games there. Which you could probably play if you researched it before installing the Australian(European)-specific anti-jailbreak firmware which was designed to stop you from doing just that. I think the launch title disillusionment was a significant part, "Oh. That's how it's going to be, huh? Fine. Right back atcha, assholes."

                  Last edited 14/08/15 8:36 am

                  Maybe my memory is wrong. I just remember that there was noise about not being able to get the imports working thanks to the launch update to firmware.

    I voted master system, I preferred it to the NES

    Sometimes I feel the Dreamcast's legend has totally overblown in the past few years. Sure it was misunderstood and largely underrated, but the way people talk about it, you'd think it was the perfect console, but for some reason no one noticed.

      It seems that people can only ever see it as this bastion of lost potential, forgetting that most things fail to deliver on the hype. The Dreamcast didn't give anyone an opportunity to disappoint them, so they can only remember it as this could-have-been.

        I liken it to Firefly - which was a fantastic show, but at this point I honestly think it's more famous because it got cancelled. It never got a chance for it's potential to be realised. Or not, whatever the case would've been.

          "You either die the hero, or live long enough to become the villain".

          I almost agree, except that Firefly was UNQUESTIONABLY PERFECT and could never have gone wrong ever. Even if Serenity was a secret disappointment in places, which will probably cost me my coat.

    Why can't I see the poll?

    Virtual Boy. For real.

    Also a tough call between Wii U and GameCube, since it feels like the Cube gets more recognition these days than it used to.

    I always say Dreamcast.

    Best console. Best design. Awesome games.
    Clearly the best name

    Extra nostalgia for being Sega's last one.

    Dreamcast/Gamecube.
    Sega's last hurrah in the home console market, and Nintendo didn't do too well with the GC but I loved mine. Still have a pretty large library of GC titles that get a run on the Wii occassionally.

    I voted the GameCube. I nearly picked the Dreamcast, but then thought about it.
    The Dreamcast wasn't really underrated was it? It just sold poorly, but was actually well thought of. The GameCube was sort of bagged on in its time.

    Thoughts?

      My thoughts exactly and why I voted the same. The Dreamcast didn't fail just because of consumer opinion, it failed due to rampant piracy a few months into its western release. The few people I know that had one all said it was a great system. Almost all of those same people admitted to pirating the games because it was so easy.
      The Gamecube on the other hand, failed due to consumer opinion. I still remember all the articles and comments about how stupid and "kiddy" the purple box was compared to the sleek PS2 and aggressive XBox. People are only now getting to play the amazing Resident Evil Remake and soon Resident Evil Zero. Tales of Symphonia - one of the best-selling (non-Square) JRPGS - ended up ported to the PS2 to see the sales figures it deserved.

    Neo Geo, amazing system for the time, shame about the price (same is still true today... i should know i have quite a big collection lol)...

    more mainstream underrated though is definitely dreamcast closely followed by the gamecube as many have said already

    i'd also like to give a shout to the saturn... for 2d games... its actually a pretty amazing console, i never had one when they were new but i have 3 now and they're awesome.. everyone was just wowed by the playstation and its 3d capabilities... which hasn't aged well i might add...

    Last edited 12/08/15 1:06 pm

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