THE VIDEO GAME INDUSTRY is massively huge, a multi-billion dollar a year behemoth that makes a lot of money for a lot of people.
But not every new system takes off. Not every game sells. Some products are rushed to market, others are poorly designed, and tons are totally ill-conceived.
For every spectacular success there are spectacular failures, like these ones:
1. RCA Studio II
One of the earliest entrants in the home console market, the RCA Studio II, was also one of the emerging market’s first commercial failures.
One of the biggest problems facing the Studio II was the competition, specifically the Fairchild Channel F which came with equipped with two joysticks—the Studio II had two ten-button keyboards built into the console leaving players fight for elbow room—was launched first, rendering the Studio II obsolete before release.
The death blow came 10 months later with Atari released its 2600 and took the gaming world by storm, establishing the home console market we know today and ending production on the Studio II.
2. Nokia N-Gage
You can see how this product came about — couple guys sitting around in Finland one day at the Nokia factory in the early 2000s playing a handheld video game device suddenly think, “Why the hell don’t we make a phone that is also a portable console?”
Unfortunately, Nokia failed to make a product that could perform either function well. The thing looked like a taco, had to be held sideways to work as a phone and failed to meet the standards set by its competition in the portable video game console world. The N-Gage was a smashing failure, selling less than 3 million units in three years after anticipating they’d move 2-3 million in the first year.
Nokia scrapped the N-Gage in 2007 and has stuck to making phones and steadily losing its market share ever since.
3. Nintendo Power Glove
The Power Glove is most likely a victim of being rushed to market to correspond with the movie The Wizard—which fans will recall also launched Super Mario Bros. 3—and technology not having caught up with its designers’ imagination.
The idea was that you could drive cars or fly planes or punch bad guys with the glove, but the reality was that you basically just had a controller strapped to one wrist and were now forced to play one handed. Great idea, horrible execution.
The Power Glove was basically supposed to offer all the free-flowing control that the Wii finally allowed, some 15 years later—so at least Nintendo got it right eventually.
4. Duke Nukem Forever
It certainly took “forever” to create!
This beauty was 15 years in the making, and the game delivered on none of its promises. Duke Nukem was the follow-up to a successful series that changed hands and engines and designers so many times over the course of its development its difficult to know whose responsible for what, or who lost money and how much.
What is certain is that the wait was not worth it. The game topped many “most disappointing game of the year” lists back in 2011. And if you didn’t even realize it had been released in 2011, well you certainly weren’t alone — hardly anyone bought this thing.
Seems like most people gave up on this game at least a decade before it was released, except the developers and they’re the ones still paying the price for it.
When a game producer decides that the ad campaign for the game should use his name instead of the name of the game, you know that ego might be an issue. And when said producer makes a threat/promise to gamers, he better deliver or they’ll make him their bitch! And make him their bitch they did!
The only thing people liked about this game was the poster and only after the game turned out to be garbage and they could turn on Romero.
Not surprisingly production ran into trouble, there were numerous delays and rampant over-spending and in the end. An inferior product that was couldn’t hold a candle to Doom and was most definitely failed to live up to the hype as the next big thing in first-person shooters.