What’s Your Least-Favourite Console You’ve Ever Owned?

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What’s Your Least-Favourite Console You’ve Ever Owned?

It’s time for Ask Kotaku, the weekly feature in which Kotaku-ites deliberate on a single burning question. Then, we ask your take.

This week we Ask Kotaku: What’s your least-favourite console you’ve ever owned?

Stephen

I was going to say the Wii U, because that system and its slow, chugging menus was such a chore to use. But how can I knock a console that runs something as wonderfully ridiculous as Game & Wario? That at least tries to offer some semblance of back-catalogue support for the great Nintendo DS? That reacts to me turning it on in the first place with a crowd of Miis rushing to greet me? I cannot hate you, Wii U.

Should I go with the middle PS3? That first Slim? Which dropped PS2 backward compatibility and was kinda ugly? But Sony sent me that one. I guess I didn’t “own” it.

Hmm. Anyone else not like the Dreamcast controller and think the wire came out of the wrong end? Just me? The rest of you love the Dreamcast? Fine, fine. I only borrowed it from a friend. Didn’t own that one, either.

Can I go with the Odyssey2? It wasn’t that good compared to all the other consoles I’ve had. My gaming life got way better when the Commodore 64 showed up. But my parents bought the Odyssey for me. They meant well. Hmm. Does picking this make me an ingrate? Can I brazenly renege on my own certified vote and pick, I don’t know, the original Xbox? No. I can’t sully Ask Kotaku like that. Sorry, Mum and Dad, let’s stick with it: The Odyssey2.

These Amiibo deserved better. (Photo: Interneteable, Shutterstock) These Amiibo deserved better. (Photo: Interneteable, Shutterstock)

Ari

Easy. The Wii U. Buckle up, because I’m about to run down an exhaustive list of every game I owned for the thing:

Super Smash Bros.

Last year, I traded it in at GameStop for a $US60 ($82) store credit, which I then used to pick up Rage 2 in the same exchange.

Dramatization: One Carrion Crow for every PS4 exclusive I cared about. (Screenshot: Sony Interactive Entertainment) Dramatization: One Carrion Crow for every PS4 exclusive I cared about. (Screenshot: Sony Interactive Entertainment)

Alexandra

I’m taking a bit of a different angle. I’m a character who’s owned an Atari Jaguar, Panasonic 3DO, Sega 32X, and not one, but two Atari Lynxes. (Did you know Todd’s Adventures in Slime World had 8-player co-op?) These were all regrettable purchases that failed to supply a surplus of enjoyment. But aside from a brief burst with the Jaguar — I was so young and innocent! — they didn’t disappoint me. No, that honour goes to (gasp!) the PlayStation 4, which is why I have some unhappy feelings toward it.

The PS4 is my least-played Sony console ever, and not for lack of having one. I gave into FOMO and bought that thing on day one. When the nerd-lust cleared I quickly realised that binging on freebies Resogun and Contrast compared poorly to, for example, the legendary Dreamcast launch of Soul Calibur and Sonic Adventure. There was very, very little I wanted to play on PS4, a state which persisted for its entire lifespan. (I’m shocked every time I hear the system has, like, 3,000+ games. It doesn’t feel true at all.)

Bloodborne was great, and I still want to try a few other Sony exclusives, but my total PS4 play-time is probably less than two weeks. Part of it is that the game industry was moving away from creating the types of games that excited me, but it was also because so many games, especially indies, started being multiplatform. I had a PC on which those games were cheaper and usually ran better. Why lock them into a proprietary box that would be obsoleted in a few years? The PC made my PS4 like 80% irrelevant.

The net effect was that the PS4 felt bland, bland, bland, just another expensive game-VCR with little identity of its own to make me prefer it to any other one. Sure, I’d still choose it over Xbox One, but only because Sony had more Japanese software cred, and Xbox One was a sad, wounded animal, particularly before Game Pass. Outside of portables, it’s been a really underwhelming console generation for me.

Speaking of wounded animals, I got a Wii U at some point too, and just enough Wii U-based freelance to pay for it. Wii U has the dubious distinction of being literally the first console I’ve ever traded in. But it wasn’t as disappointing as PS4 because it didn’t have as far to fall. I hate being disappointed and uninterested, which gives PS4 a fair claim to being, not the qualitatively worst, but my least-favourite owned console.

Pick a 3DS, any 3DS. Well, not that one. Wait for a new model. (Image: Nintendo) Pick a 3DS, any 3DS. Well, not that one. Wait for a new model. (Image: Nintendo)

Ethan

I’ve only ever bought good consoles, and yes that includes the launch edition of the Xbox One (go to hell Luke) which I bought used a couple years later for super cheap and eventually grew into a very excellent Netflix box, and also ended up becoming home to the first true Netflix of games. But I digress.

The least-good console I ever bought was far and away the 3DS. I didn’t even buy it at launch when it had no games and was so busted Nintendo gave every early adopter a bunch of free stuff. I bought it several years later, once its library was decent, but was still aggressively underwhelmed. The 3D effect was nauseating when it wasn’t completely useless. The form-factor itself was cramped and hard on the hands, eyes, and my patience. Plus the clamshell hinge got loose real quick. Now I have a 2DS which is much better. I love it when Nintendo just tacitly admits that its original idea was crap, like when the Wii U bombed and so the company decided to just detach the controller and sell an upgraded version of it separately. Genius. Unlike the 3DS.

Remember 2006? (Photo: Nintendo) Remember 2006? (Photo: Nintendo)

Zack

I tend to find a lot to love about most consoles I buy. Even the PS3, a console I never really cared that much about, had some good games on it and let me play online for free back in a time when I didn’t have a debit card or money. But there is one console I’ve owned that I never ended up liking and now find disappointing: the Wii.

Stop! Before you leave an angry comment or tweet, let me say three things: Super Mario Galaxy is fantastic. Boom Blox ruled. And WiiSports is still a genuine classic that deserves to be remembered.

With that out of the way, the console was a mess. Yes, some amazing games were released on it. But it also became a dumping ground for uninspired, terrible shovelware. And it quickly got left behind, missing out on a whole bunch of great third-party games because it lacked the power necessary to run them. Not to mention games never looked great on it. I remember trying and failing to make it look nice on my HDTV. Switching between it and my Xbox 360 made it hard to go back to the Wii’s blurry, low-res visuals. The motion controls were fine in very specific games, but felt too inaccurate or unreliable to use in numerous others.

But you know, it did give us two of the best video game songs ever recorded. I’ll never say anything bad about Mii Creator music or the Wii Shop Channel theme. In fact, these songs are so good maybe I shouldn’t consider the Wii my most disappointing console…I’ll pick the PSP instead!

A puzzling lapse in Nintendo's industrial design. (Image: Nintendo) A puzzling lapse in Nintendo's industrial design. (Image: Nintendo)

Fahey

I have loved every video game console I’ve ever purchased, save one. While every other electronic gaming device acquisition was followed by days of excitement, there was one I was done with within hours of bringing it home. I’m talking about the chonky, oddly-angled, not-closing-securely original Nintendo DS.

For one, I never got this design. I’d call it retro-futurist, but that seems a lofty term for something that looks like it was cobbled together as a prop for a ‘90s low-budget science fiction film. Why the weird dips where the controls are? Why the curves? Why did it not close flat? Basically, why was it not the Nintendo DS Lite, which showed up two years later in 2006 to right the wrongs of its predecessor?

For two, I may have picked the wrong launch games. Madden NFL 2005 for the DS was not great. Super Mario 64 DS was a good port of a game I did not like. Remember Sega girlfriend simulator Feel the Magic: XY/XX? I mean, now you might, but before that. No.

Subsequent versions of the DS — the Lite, the XL, the 3DS — went on to become some of my favourite gaming devices of all time. It was just a really, really rough start.

How About You?

Kotaku’s weighed in, but what’s your take? Has a console purchase ever left you with buyer’s remorse? Or maybe not. Have your say! We’ll be back next Monday to deliberate and debate on another nerdy issue. See you in the comments!

Comments

  • Maybe the GameCube. The only games that need to be ported or remastered are Twin Snakes and FZeroGX. I just never played the console. The Wii-U still sits under my TV for Xeno Chronicles X, but that’s a close second.
    Skies of Arcadia needs a Dreamcast rerelease also.

  • The original XBox.

    – That unwieldy ridiculous controller
    – So many of the games were PC ports that were much better on their original platform
    – It’s lack of popularity in Japan mean it was bereft of JRPGs amongst other franchises
    – I never understood the appeal of the original Halo. That controller for an FPS? Ugh. At least the sequel had co-op.

    Wouldn’t say it wasn’t used though. It did make a good media centre box once modded. Actually was the only reason I bought the one I did, secondhand from a work colleague.

  • I sold off my PS2 and a handful of great games to get an XBox after playing it at a friend’s house and it instantly killed my interest in console gaming for years. It was around fours years later when the PS2 slim had that Christmas value pack, that came with two controllers, a few games and a memory pack that I started getting back into games again.

    Nothing I played on the system ever clicked, I hate the physics of Halo (the inly Halo game I enjoy playing is ODST), Fable felt unfocused and pointless, even the wrestling games that I liked at the time felt really bad in comparison to the ones I could play on PS2. A big part of it was hating the feel of the controller I think.

  • Probably the PSP. I think we own one game for that, Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep, and we actually own that on PS4 now, so the PSP doesn’t get used at all. But also, the controls on it were kinda awful. The thumbstick was all kinds of pain, digging into your thumb. ergh.

    But also maybe the WiiU. We only have half a dozen games for that, and while some of them are excellent games, it feels like a waste of money to have spent so much on a console for just 6 games.

    • This one. I genuinely regret the PSP. I gifted mine to my brother who used it exclusively as a Dissidia/Dynasty Warriors machine. I bought movies for this thing, more out of a desperation to invent a justification for owning the thing than any desire to watch overpriced low-rez movies on a tiny screen in any brief spurts of time that I was unable to use a bigger, better screen to play them. And yes, that thumbstick was the absolute worst. Endless pushing forward on Dynasty Warriors had my thumb screaming at me to stop, every session.

  • The Wii U actually had a fantastic library of exclusive games.

    I don’t think I’ve ever really hated a console I’ve owned, I’ve always owned games and played them a lot.

  • The Switch, easily.

    Quite simply, the build quality is terrible for the price, particularly for a company that was renowned for rock-solid build quality and lifetime warranties in the past.

    Dock died within only a few months, joycon drift started just outside of the warranty period, and I’ve now had to repair joycons three times. And the joycons had a sloppy fit in the console within only a few months of having the console.

    Extremely disappointing.

  • Going to have to go with the launch PS3 which cost a fortune, broke 13 months after I got it, weighed a tonne, had BC for PS2 games which I never played (as well as memory sticks cause… why?). Love the PS3 as a whole, but I went through 2 more slim PS3s which both died and still have the crappy super slim PS3 that seemingly never breaks. Never made sense cause they were all ventilated with an open cabinet (front and back) and I’ve used it for the launch PS4 which is still going ok

    Compared to the ‘notoriously unreliable X360’ which only my launch console red ringed and the replacement with the Jasper board is STILL going strong and I think I was lucky with MS and unlucky with Sony.

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