Welcome back to thaddius’ Console Roast 2014 Edition. For those of you who are not aware this is a poll where you, the GBATemp user, get to vote on what GBATemp thinks is the worst console ever is. For more information check out the Rules section below. Recap: The Fourth Generation of consoles was, to no one’s surprise, a complete and utter defeat for: The Phillips CD-i! Congratulations Phillips! You will be venerated in the only way GBATemp knows how: useless polls. It’s no wonder with its poor, rushed-into-market quality and its terrible excuse for licensed Nintendo games. Despite some minor intimations to the contrary, the Phillips CD-i was clearly the stand-out this generation and deserved this ‘win’. Some deranged individuals actually voted for the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis/Megadrive on this one. I’m going to chalk that up to them having never played them, which is an absolute shame. ~90% of pollers knew what was what though and voted for the only console that it made sense to call the ‘worst of the fourth generation’. If you’d like to know more about how the voting went check out last week’s thread here. Intro: I saw the best handhelds of the Fifth Generation destroyed by madness, starving, hysterical. Another week, another poll. And this week we bring you the very bloated Fifth Generation of Handhelds. Here we have a transition period who’s contributions span a large part of the 90s. We will see Nintendo’s first large video game failure and some new Nintendo competitors, some of whom fared surprisingly well, others who failed just as badly as the Virtual Boy. A little bit of an explanation though: I’m leaving a lot of things out in this poll. We’re not going to focus too much on the Game Boy Pocket, the Game Boy Light, the Neo Geo Pocket Color, or the WonderSwan Color. For the Game Boys they are either not much of an upgrade or obscure, and the rest already have another iteration of the system in this poll. Normally none of this would stop me, but it's bad enough that we have 7 options already and it would get VERY confusing if we had 10. Bear with me though - I’ve tried to focus on a good concentration of systems. Hopefully people actually read this… I’m sure it will still be controversial. Anyway, I predict that Nintendo will both win and lose this poll with their two contributions this week, even if there are more deserving candidates. *COUGHTIGERCOUGH* But before we get into that, let’s recap the rules no one ever reads, shall we? Rules: Warning: Spoilers inside! There can only be one! Each week I pit each console generation against itself to determine what the worst console of that generation was. Updates will hopefully be up every Thursday from now till the end. We’re going to work our way up through consoles and handhelds until we reach the current generation. Once that’s all done, we’ll determine the worst console and the worst handheld. From there we choose the definitive GBATemp-approved WORST CONSOLE EVER. Your only job, Mr. or Ms. GBATemper, is to cast your vote for what you think the worst of the generation is. Please try to do some research, watch some videos, maybe play a few of these games on a (completely legitimate) emulator, and you just might learn a little about the weird amorphous blob that is video game history. But I can't (and won't) keep you from just shooting from the uninformed hip. You're also encouraged to explain your choice in the form of a response to this topic. In the event of a tie, I (Sir thaddius prigg) will cast the deciding vote. It is my Roast after all... The Generations are taken from Wikipedia as I've deemed that to be an appropriate neutral third party. I understand if you might have some concerns that I've put things in the wrong generation in your opinion, but I'm not too concerned about that. Generations are murky constructs at best and are based on arbitrary distinctions made by outsiders as post hoc rationalizations that don't mean anything to anyone anyway. Don't take any of this too seriously. I'm not going to change the polls based on your opinion of them. Aggressive discussion is allowed, but please try to keep within the rules of the forums. Just try to have fun and don’t be a jerk, k? Enough of that crap, time to get started! This Week's Challengers: The Tiger R-Zone I strongly considered removing this one as it doesn't seem that notable in a bloated poll. But reason lost out as I just want to see how this one fares. Tiger Electronics, known mostly for their one-off LCD handhelds, decided it was time to break out into the wonderful world of carriage based handhelds! In their infinite wisdom they opted for a headset as the primary console in an effort to capitalize on Nintendo’s new system: the ill fated Virtual Boy. They would go on to release two more major designs, and an ‘organizer’ styled one (I believe), but none of them sold well at all. The games were of the quality seen in the one-off LCD games of yore which did not bode well for the console. And the headset design was just dumb. I know that no one could predict that Nintendo’s newest hardware would flop so I don’t blame them for trying to copy it, but if the Virtual Boy was bad the R-Zone was worse for copying it. I don't really know what kind of scope Tiger was looking for - if they were deluded enough to think it could even compete with the Game Boy et al - but I have yet to meet anyone who owns one. The R-Zone quickly faded into obscurity to little complaint. The Sega Nomad Sega had already released a product called the Sega Mega Jet that was a portable Genesis/Mega Drive made for use on planes. Sega decided one day to adapt the Mega Jet for a larger market and released it as the Nomad. The Nomad, just like the Game Gear, was simply a portable version of their current console. This time though it actually played the home consoles cartridges out-of-the-box. It made a lot of sense: a portable Genesis. Who wouldn't want to play their favourite games on the go? Sega obviously didn’t learn much else from the Game Gear though because the Nomad was just as bad on batteries (6AA batteries for 3-5 hours of gameplay). And it is said that compatibility was not as good as it also suffered a similar problem to the TurboExpress in that it had some trouble displaying readable text. And it was obviously not so compatible with the 32X and Sega/Mega CD add-ons. The Nintendo Virtual Boy Ugh. Where does this thing belong? It’s not really a console, not really a handheld - someone will complain no matter where I put this thing. But because it was a system that didn’t hook up to a TV, was mostly only battery operated, and was capable of being taken on road trips (I’ve at least done so) I’m tossing it in with the ‘handhelds’. In order to keep the price low Nintendo opted for a monochromatic screen with red on black in hopes that the contrast would be less of a strain on eyes. Despite these considerations the system would immediately be branded as a headache inducing nightmare that burned the colour red so deeply into your retinas that you would long for the sweet embrace of death to save you from the horror of it all. In addition to those complaints the Virtual Boy was difficult to use as playing it in unrecommended ways could give you neck strain. While the first party games released for the system were rather high quality (Virtual Boy Wario Land is still considered by some to be the best in the series) its rapid abandonment by the market and Nintendo themselves would leave the system with a pitiful library of 19 games in Japan and only 14 in North America. The internet isn’t even certain if it was even released in Europe as there are some reports it had a (very limited) release in the UK. The Virtual Boy, a pet project of Gunpei Yokoi and a wet dream for the living legend that is Shigeru Miyamoto, would be the first indication that the Japanese monolith was capable of doing wrong. To spell it out for you folks: The Virtual Boy was released in July of 95 in Japan and August of 95 in North America. It would be discontinued by December of the very same year in Japan and in March of 96 in North America. That’s five months in Japan and seven in North America. How does the company that made the Super Nintendo make that kind of an error? The Tiger Game.com After surviving the R-Zone debacle somehow Tiger went on to make a handheld that sounded really promising: Touch screen controls, dual cartridge slots, PDA capabilities, internet connectivity… too bad it sucked. Pronounced 'GameCom', this system's screen refresh rate was about as bad as the original Game Boy’s, even though there were released almost 10 years apart, the touch screen was spotty, the second cartridge slot is a strange idea, the PDA functionally was lame (just like actual PDAs), and while you could upload highscores to online leaderboards there wasn’t much else you could do and the external modem for the system was a bulky and expensive add-on. Tiger had a history of attracting some major names for their one-off LCD games, like Batman and Sonic, and just like the R-Zone the Game.com had games licensed by companies like Sega and Capcom. But they sucked. Sonic Jam was very difficult to play with the horrendous refresh rate of the screen combined with the fast paced action. And Resident Evil 2, a 2D implementation of Capcom’s notoriously difficult-to-control classic, was atrocious. Tiger would later release a second model with single cartage slot and nicer form factor that was frontlit, and later a similar model in different colours with no light. Neither would sell well and Tiger would later abandon the product. The Nintendo Game Boy Color After releasing the barely-an-upgrade Game Boy Pocket and later the Japan-only Game Goy Light, Nintendo decided to finally release an entry to the Game Boy line that had colour (and not just the dumb 'Play It Loud' ploy for the GB that actually worked). To that end the Game Boy Color [sic] was released in 1998. It’s lifespan would be too short for your humble OP's liking. Lasting from its release to its discontinue date in 2003 would leave the GBC with a comparatively tiny library to the GB and GBA. The GBC's success could be attributed to a number of things, including the quality of games, the rather substantial back catalogue of GB games, but they all pale in comparison to one simple point: Pokemon. I wonder how things would have turned out for Nintendo if they didn't have Pokemon to lean on. We’re kind of babied by backlit screens these days, but the GBC didn’t have one and it made it difficult to play the system in most lighting conditions. It was, however, a step up from the GB and GB Pocket so people may not have noticed. Or they just went out and bought a worm light like everyone else. But just like the Super Nintendo there is nothing else I can say to bash the system. It took two AA batteries and they lasted forever, it played old GB games and attempted to overlay some colour onto them, and the form factor was a lot more agreeable than the original GB. The SNK Neo Geo Pocket The last time we heard from these guys they had made a ridiculously expensive console that let you play arcade games at home. As if somehow learning a very expensive lesson, SNK returned with the reasonably priced Neo Geo Pocket; a little handheld who’s strong first and third party support managed to keep it afloat a lot longer than people expected it would against Nintendo. The console is actually quite impressive, for what it's worth, and is apparently more powerful than the GBC (although we hear the words 'more powerful than Nintendo' all the time...). I still play Metal Slug 1st & 2nd Mission, Puzzle Bobble Mini, Dark Arms: Beast Busters, and others diligently on my Neo Geo Pocket. What absolutely astounds me about this console though, is the fact that it was forwards compatible. Unlike the original Game Boy with Game Boy Color cartridges, the Neo Geo Pocket was capable of playing the later released Neo Geo Pocket Color games. Games that required colour, like Puzzle Bobble Mini, would switch over to colour blind mode where the colours would be replaced with shapes to help you discern them. My only concern is that it would devalue the merits of the NGPC. Strangely it also had GBA-to-GC-like connectivity with Sega's Dreamcast, although it was with very few games and was considered kind of redundant in light of the Dreamcast's VMU. The console also came with rinky dink PDA-like functionality (what was the deal with people wanting PDA stuff?) that told you your horoscope and could act as an alarm. Also, possibly because it was Japanese, there was a inordinate number of Casino games for the system, the majority of which were slot machine games. I haven’t met too many people in North America who know about the system, but those who do know it remember it fondly. The Bandai WonderSwan After the monumental failure that was the Virtual Boy, disgraced creator of the Game & Watch, Game Boy, and Game Boy Pocket, Gunpei Yokoi left Nintendo to pursue his dreams elsewhere. Just prior to his untimely (and apparently controversial) death Yokoi created the Bandai Wonderswan; a system that is strikingly similar to the Game Boy in its use of ‘withered technology’ as it appeared to be a modern application of older tech. Bandai would later release a color version of the system, much in the same way Nintnedo and SNK did with their systems. Despite its ungainly name the WonderSwan sold quite well in Japan where it was released. Strong first and third party support with titles like Digimon and Final Fantasy helped push sales. It even had an impressive 30+ hours of gameplay on a single AA battery. What else can I say? It wasn’t a bad system, if not a little anachronistic. It’s only drawbacks were its Game Boy-like out-of-datedness (it was released in ’99), and the fact that its name sounds silly to us Western anglophones. Outro: And there you have it LadyGBAs and GentleTemps, the fifth generation of handhelds. Again, I predict Nintendo will win and lose this poll, while Tiger will get off scot free (prove me wrong!). Writing this week’s entry has reminded me of all the good games that came out of this era, including Pokemon which helped rejuvenate the Game Boy and make the link cable relevant again. For that reason I’m going to go play some NGPC and GBC games now. Don’t forget to vote! See you guys next week. Current Standings: Warning: Spoilers inside!