What Were They Thinking??
Author :        Date : 19-Apr-09

Throughout the years I have been amazed by the technological leaps and developments in the video game industry.  By the same token, some of the gaffes that have been made by the developers and manufactures have stunned me as well.  Here are a few of my favorites…

Atari 5200 AV/Power Switchbox
Now this picture does not truly give this dog its proper justice.  This was the proprietary AV/Power adapter with the first run of the Atari 5200 systems.  It was huge, cumbersome and is very expensive to replace (if going for the original model).  I can understand, to a certain degree, Atari taking this protective measure after their recent litigious bouts with Coleco (among others) concerning copyright violations.  Still, I hate this thing with a passion and the think tank at Atari should not have levied part of their reaction on us gamers with this monstrosity.  That point being aside, this thing is prone to failure as well.
Nintendo’s Game Packaging
For all of their successes, Nintendo just could just never get their game packaging right until the release of the Game Cube.  I can understand the NES boxes – they basically followed Atari’s lead.  However, why continue on the same failed path when Sega showed you how to do it right with those sturdy, plastic Sega Master System game cases?  I know cost is a big issue in this, but this bothersome trend continued well into the 1990s.  If I am going to shell out $59.95 for a game at least give me a box that won’t get smashed and flattened at the lightest touch.  Panasonic – you should have known better has well (3DO).
Philips CD-i Infomercials
Being the old school gamer that I am, I remember watching these brutal offerings as a young adult.  I have to admit I was intrigued at the time, but these infomercials had nothing to do with my interest level for this system – it had the complete opposite effect.  I wanted a gaming experience – not a multimedia device that would serve all of my needs.  This was the way of the 1990s though, with many companies offering similar products (3DO, LaserActive, etc.).  I can only imagine what Philips invested into these lame infomercial offerings.
Console Design of the NEC PC-FX
Now I rather like the design of the PC-FX.  It is definitely different than the standard thoroughfare of the day.  Resembling a mini tower PC, this system did indeed have expansion port capabilities.  The bad thing about this system – where are you supposed to put it?  It is too tall to fit under 99.9% of the entertainment centers in 1994.  To top this off, the CD-Rom drive is located on top of the unit – requiring another 5-6 inches of required vertical clearance.  Nice console design, just not well thought out in my humble opinion.
Atari Jaguar Controller
I have to honestly admit that I have never heard one person talk favorably about the Atari Jaguar controller.  Released in 1993. this pig had only three (3) controller buttons when everyone else was sporting six (6) button models along with trigger/shoulder buttons on some.  They couldn’t even get the labeling right (buttons labeled C-A-B for some unknown reason).  This thing was huge, hard to grip and only a few games utilized the numeric keypad.  Don’t bother trying to use the D-Pad and the keypad at the same time – it is a waste of time.
Gakken Compact Vision – Everything!!
The picture says it all.  The main controller was built directly into the system (right hand throttle- looking appendage) and this system required you to grip the ‘telephone anchor’ with your left hand to prevent the light-weight, miniscule console was moving all over creation.  I have tested out this console a few times and it grows more and more frustrating every time.  I’d like to think I am not the pessimistic type, but in all honesty I can not say one good thing about this loser.  Thank goodness Gakken eventually went back to handhelds.

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