Some consoles, though hey get hyped at game trade shows and shown off in print magazines, just never actually see the light of day. Here are just such consoles.
The Taito Wowow
Taito, the primarily arcade-game focused company that brought you Space Invaders, Bubble Bobble, Operation Wolf and Xain’d Sleena was set to release its own console in the early 90’s. It was set to compete with other systems of the early 16 bit era, mostly NEC and Hudson’s PC Engine (or TurboGrafx-16). It would have been released in partnership with a Japanese satellite TV company, and allowed arcade-perfect games to be downloaded via satellite. It was shown off at tradeshows and even made it to market-testing, but was never released.
The Phantom from Infinium Labs lived up to its name when it failed to come to market after years of development and over $70 million in funding. It was meant to be a console that allowed gamers to past, present and future PC games straight off the console, and would apparently feature on-demand streaming of games, well before the technology to do that was even available. In the end, Infinium did release a product; a wireless laptop keyboard by the name of the LapBoard.
The Action GameMaster was one of the most over-ambitious console projects in history. It was planned to be a handheld system that would be able to play NES, Genesis and Super NES cartridge games, as well as CD-ROM games from other systems – only you’d have to buy hardware adapters for each of those systems individually and would also have had its own exclusive games. It an included 3.2″ colour screen, a TV tuner, a built-in battery charger and come with a car cigarette lighter charger, which it would most certainly need – because back in 1994, this thing would have eaten batteries for breakfast.
There’s very little known about the Atari Mirai, just that it was borne out of a partnership between Atari (which by then was already a shell of its former self) and SNK, who’d recently released their own, very expensive Neo-Geo AES system. In 1991, the Neo Geo debuted at $649 – making it a wildly expensive system, and the Mirai was rumoured to be a much cheaper version of the thing, which would have made arcade perfect ports of Neo Geo games a viable thing in the home. Other rumours say it was based off Atari’s ST systems, while others insist it was a wholly new system. It was never released, nor was the Atari Panther that was set to follow it. We did, however get the Atari Jaguar. Lucky us.
SNES CD/ Play Station
This is one of the most famous unreleased systems in history. Nintendo was looking for a way to improve its 16-bit SNES console – and partnered with Sony to develop a CD-based add-on. It would have allowed that console to have more fully featured games, with FMV. Unfortunately after years of development, licencing disagreements ensued and Nintendo shocked the world by partnering with Phillips instead (resulting in some terrible Phillips CDi games based on Nintendo properties), just a day after Sony showed off its standalone SNES CD system at CES.
That prototype was called the “Play Station” which became the basis for Sony’s foray in to the world of being a console manufacturer. The rest, as they say is history.
Last Updated: November 28, 2013