Visual survey of canceled products

It’s been four decades now since the first video game console, the Magnavox Odyssey, made waves in electronic entertainment. With such a long and varied history of video game systems behind us, it should be no surprise that more than a few consoles were planned but never made it to market.

With history as our guide, let’s dig through the annals of long lost hardware to find 10 such gaming machines that never graced store shelves anywhere. Their stories serve as powerful cautionary tales that, if heeded, should serve to prevent the same mistakes from being made in the future. And they’re loads of fun to gawk at, too.

In the mid-1990s, Sega’s product line suffered an extreme case of multiple personality disorder. By 1995, the company supported eight incompatible gaming platforms: Genesis, Sega CD, 32X, 32X CD, Game Gear, Pico, Saturn, and in some markets, Master System. It also sold the CDX (a combined Sega Genesis and a Sega CD unit in a semi-portable package) and the Nomad (a fully handheld Genesis console). Then, on top of all that, there was the proposed Sega Neptune.

Sega designed the Neptune as a way to simplify its product line by combining a Genesis and the 32X add-on into one unit. But as you can see by the list above, Sega definitely did not need another game product to support. Around this time, a rare modicum of sanity hit the company, and word came down from its Japanese HQ to focus only on its new flagship console, theĀ Sega SaturnĀ (1994). As a result, the Neptune (phew) never made it to market.

The VAS, designed and promoted by a small American company called Ultravision, promised to be an all-in-one answer to every video gamer’s wildest dreams. It was to integrate a 10-inch color TV set, a video game system, and a high-powered computer into one unit. In addition to the console’s own custom software, plug-in modules would be available to let users play Atari 2600 and Colecovision games on the VAS. All this sounded too good to be true, and it was: in the end, Ultravision’s promises of gaming excellence proved to be nothing more than a load of hot air.