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Top 10 Unreleased Consoles

Honorable Mentions

These are a few that didn’t quite make the cut, but I figured while we were on the subject they might be of some interest.

Nintendo 64DD

N64DDThe Nintendo 64DD doesn’t exactly qualify as “unreleased” since it was commercially launched in Japan, but I did want to include it in part because it’s one of the rarer items in which large enough numbers exist to be attainable for the right price.  The 64DD is an add-on that fits on to the bottom of the original N64 and allows magnetic discs to be played.  Additionally it supported some interesting Internet-type features, but unfortunately it didn’t prove popular in Japan and was subsequently canceled for North American release.  Only 9 games were developed, including several Mario Artist titles and an F-Zero game.

I’m dying to get my hands on one of these, but it’s not quite as simple as purchasing only the add-on; one needs a Japanese N64 as well.  Packages with both as well as 7 or 8 of the 9 games are routinely available on eBay, but I’ve yet to find one under $800 and most of them top out around $1,000.  Hell, one day I probably will drop that kind of change on one of these.

Sega “Pluto”

Sega Pluto“Pluto” seems to merely be the codename for this device, as it’s still branded with the Saturn logo.  With only 2 known prototypes in existence, the world may never have found out about this piece of hardware if not for an insider who came forward a few years ago.  What were Sega’s plans?  Who knows, but it’s clear that they were interested in furthering their stake in online gaming.  The “Pluto” is little more than a Saturn with the NetLink modem built in; indeed Sega’s following console would include a built-in modem as well.

So far, the “Pluto” doesn’t appear to have any further functionality beyond that of a Saturn with a NetLink attached.  It boots like any other North American Saturn, plays North American games, and includes a region lock.  Official details on the machine are scant, but this is probably one of the most valuable pieces of gaming equipment in existence right now.  One of the two owners recently listed his device for auction, reaching $7,600 on one site and a whopping $15,000 at eBay.  Apparently neither of these were good enough to match his reserve so the unit has yet to see a new home, and it now resides in a safety deposit box.  Serious business.  Hell, I’ll never own one of these.

Atari Cosmos

Atari CosmosThe Cosmos was a handheld device developed by Atari in the late 1970’s, premiering in 1981.  It used 2 layers of images superimposed over an LED display to generate 3D imagery, similar to how holographic images function.  Many novel features were promised for the time, including 2 player support.  It was soon discovered that the images didn’t influence gameplay but only served to enhance the experience.  Nine games were “supported,” but in actuality the games were built into the handheld and the cartridges merely provided the images and alerted the system to what game should be loaded.

In the face of criticism, Atari had canceled the release of the Cosmos late in 1981.  Although several thousand pre-orders were taken, as many as 200 units were built, and the boxes themselves had been manufactured, the Cosmos never surfaced.  Today there are only 5 known units in existence, 3 of which are empty shells.  One of the remaining 2 is held by the Atari History Museum.  Hell I would’ve bought one just to get a glimpse of the holographic imagery.

Konix Multisystem

The Konix Multisystem began its short life as a new peripheral, namely an advanced joystick for which Konix was known for at the time.  An early version of the system debuted at a British toy fair in 1989, boasting such features as a light gun with recoil effect and a motorized seat used to mimic the experience of playing sit-in arcade games with hydraulics.  The console would’ve been a 16-bit system and used 3.5″ floppy discs rather than ROM cartridges for games in an effort to keep costs low.  A range of other hardware innovations promised a technically superior system to other consoles of the era as well as some smaller computers such as the Atari ST and Amiga.

Konix Multisystem

Despite a slew of developers ready and waiting to churn out software for the Konix Multisystem, the release date of August 1989 came and went.  The company had run out of money and was no longer in a position to manufacture their product on a large scale.  Interestingly enough, Konix went on to begin another project known as Flare Two after plans for the Konix Multisystem (previously Flare One) fell through.  Atari later bought the Flare Two project and integrated it into the planned Panther console.  Once the Panther was scrapped, Atari continued development on Flare Two and eventually released what would be known as the Atari Jaguar.  Hell yeah, I’d be happy to buy one of these and be the guy in the chair!

Written by The Cubist

Well, that’s it for the consoles that could’ve been and never were.  It’s always fascinating to see how these companies and their products have intermingled and transmuted over the years.  Just imagine what we might know about some of today’s systems in a few years?  I hope to be the proud owner of at least some of this stuff one day, but it seems that most of it has been snatched up by richer hands than mine.  If you’re anything like me, you’re now shaking your fists in a desperate attempt to conjure a Panasonic M2 or Sega VR out of thin air!  Good luck…and let me know if it works!

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2 Comments

  1. O..M..G…I want the 64DD, I…must…have

     

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