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Sega Master System II Screenshots
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Sega Master System II
Released January 1990
In 1990, Sega was having success with its Sega Mega Drive/Sega Genesis and as a result took back the rights from Tonka for the SMS. They designed the Sega Master System II, a newer console which was smaller and sleeker but which, to keep production costs low, lacked the reset button and card slot of the original. Sega did everything in its power to market the system, but nothing came out of it.

By 1992, the Master System's sales were virtually nonexistent in North America and production ceased. Sales were poor in Japan as well, due to the dominance of the main competitor from Nintendo, the Nintendo Family Computer.

The Sega Master System is still being produced in Brazil. The latest version is the "Master System III Collection". It uses the same design as the North American Master System II (Master System III in Brazil), but is white and comes in two versions: one with 74 games built-in and another with 105 games built-in on an internal ROM. But in Brazil it's hard to find the 3D Goggles, the Light Phaser Pistol and even the cartridge, leaving Brazilians only with the built-in games.


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SNK NEO-GEO (AES) Screenshots
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SNK NEO-GEO (AES)
Released April 01, 1990 for $650.00
Shin Nihon Kikaku (SNK) first ventured into the arcade market in 1989 and was successful with its unique 2D arcade machine, which was powered by an impressive custom graphics processor, 68000 and Z80 CPUs and offered 330Mbit ROM storage space. This arcade version was known as MVS, or Multi-Video Output and allowed 1 of 6 games to be loaded at any time. The Neo Geo AES (Advanced Entertainment System) was a home version of the Neo Geo MVS and played the exact same games as the ones in the arcades. In fact, even memory cards could be switched between the two, allowing players to save their progress on one machine and load it on the other.

The major weakness of the Neo Geo AES was the high price tag on the cartridges. Most games sold for about $200! The console itself was also fairly expensive, retailing at $650. Its arcade-style joystick and excellent arcade ports made it a very attractive console. A Multi-Link cable was released for the Neo Geo AES that allowed two Neo Geos to be connected together and be played on two separate televisions.


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NEC TurboGrafx 16 CD Screenshots
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NEC TurboGrafx 16 CD
Released August 01, 1990 for $399.99
The TurboGrafx-CD debuted on Aug. 1, 1990 at a prohibitive $399.99 (and did not include a pack-in game). Monster Lair (Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair) and Fighting Street (Street Fighter) were the initial TurboGrafx-CD titles. Ys Book I & II soon followed. However, the TurboGrafx-CD catalog grew at a very slow rate compared to the library of TurboChip (HuCard) titles.

The TurboGrafx-CD came packaged in a very large box, 85% of which was filled with protective styrofoam inserts. By some accounts, no other video game console (or peripheral) has been packaged in such an overkill manner. The TurboGrafx-CD did however come with a large plastic "carrying case" that could comfortably hold the TurboGrafx-16 base system, TurboGrafx-CD, all AC adapters, 2 – 3 controllers, and a few games.

Although the TurboGrafx-CD library was relatively small, American gamers could draw from a wide range of Japanese software since there was no region protection on TG-CD / PC Engine CD-ROM software. Many mail order (and some brick-and-mortar) import stores advertised Japanese PCE CD and HuCard titles in the video game publications of the era.


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Commodore 64 Games System Screenshots
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Commodore 64 Games System
Released December 1990
The Commodore 64 Games System (often abbreviated C64GS) was the cartridge-based game console version of the popular Commodore 64 home computer. It was released by Commodore in December 1990 as a competitor in the booming console market. It was only ever released in Europe and was a considerable commercial failure.

During its short life, the C64GS came bundled with a cartridge with four games: Fiendish Freddy's Big Top O'Fun, International Soccer, Flimbo's Quest and Klax.

The C64GS was not Commodore's first gaming system based on the C64 hardware. However, unlike the 1982 MAX Machine (a game-oriented computer based on a very cut-down version of the same hardware family), the C64GS was internally very similar to the "proper" C64 with which it was compatible.


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Philips CD-I Screenshots
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Philips CD-I
Released April 1991
CD-i, or Compact Disc Interactive, is the name of an interactive multimedia CD player developed and marketed by Royal Philips Electronics N.V. CD-i also refers to the multimedia Compact Disc standard used by the CD-i console, also known as Green Book, which was developed by Philips and Sony. Work on the CD-i began in 1984 and it was first publicly announced in 1986. The first Philips CD-i player, released in 1991 and initially priced around USD $700, is capable of playing interactive CD-i discs, Audio CDs, CD+G (CD+Graphics), Karaoke CDs, and Video CDs (VCDs), though the last requires an optional "Digital Video Card" to provide MPEG-1 decoding.

The CD-i proved to be a commercial failure in that market segment and some of its games have been known to be among the worst games ever made. Philips ceased publishing video games for the platform in 1998.


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Super Nintendo Entertainment System Screenshots
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Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Released August 23, 1991 for $200.00
The Super Nintendo Entertainment System was Nintendo's second home console, following the Nintendo Entertainment System (often abbreviated to NES, released as the Famicom in Japan). Whereas the earlier system had struggled in Europe and large parts of Asia the SNES proved to be a global success, albeit one that could not match its predecessor's popularity in South East Asia and North America - due in part to increased competition from Sega's Mega Drive console (released in North America as the Genesis). Despite its relatively late start, the SNES became the best selling console of the 16-bit era but only after its competitor Sega had pulled out of the 16-bit market to focus on its 32-bit next generation console.

Nintendo released the Super Nintendo Entertainment System which initially sold for a price of $200. The North American package included the game Super Mario World. The SNES was released in the United Kingdom and Ireland in April 1992 for £150, with a German release following a few weeks later. The PAL versions of the console looked identical to the Japanese Super Famicom, except for labelling.


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NEC TurboDuo Screenshots
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NEC TurboDuo
Released October 1992
In 1992 TTi (Turbo Technologies Inc.) released the TurboDuo, the North American version of the Japanese Duo. The system combined the TurboGrafx-16 and an enhanced version of the CD-ROM drive (the "Super CD-ROM²") into a single unit. The system could play audio CDs, CD+Gs, CD-ROM2 and Super CD games as well as standard HuCards. The Super System Card required for some games when using the original CD add-on as well as some of the Japanese variants of the TurboGrafx was built in to the Duo rather than requiring the card to be inserted at all times when playing CD games. The original pack-in for the Turbo Duo included the system, one control pad, an AC adapter, RCA cables, Ys book I & II a CD-ROM2 title, a Super CD disc including Bonk's Adventure, Bonk's Revenge, Gates of Thunder and a secret version of Bomberman accessible via an easter egg. The system was also packaged with one random HuCard game which varied from system to system (note: Actually, Dungeon Explorer was the original HuCard pack-in for TurboDuo, although many titles were eventually used, such as IREM's Ninja Spirit and NAMCO's Final Lap Twin and then eventually a random pick).

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Sega CD for Genesis Screenshots
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Sega CD for Genesis
Released December 1992
The Sega CD had been announced at the Chicago CES on November 1992. Early reports had suggested that hardware in the system would allow it to display more on screen colors (from a larger palette) than the Sega Genesis or the Super Nintendo, which was an important technical concern for consumers.

In the end, the Sega CD failed to convince North American gamers, mostly due to the cost of the console, and the lack of any hardware advancements. There just was not enough value for the price. Moreover, the game experience was little improved.

The single speed CD drive added load times to all games, and the 64-color graphics and underpowered processor (for video rendering) made full-motion games look terrible. One particularly infamous example of this came in the form of the Mortal Kombat CD, which was widely criticized due to certain moves, particularly the games popular "fatalities", that would not perform until after a notable lag between the execution of the move and its actual on screen animation.


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Nintendo Entertainment System Model 2 Screenshots
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Nintendo Entertainment System Model 2
Released February 01, 1993 for $45.00
In 1993, Nintendo released a top loading NES model 2. This newer model was scaled down to nearly half the size of the original. The case was a sleeker design (Like a smoother Famicom). The cartridge port was more stable, and used eject & power buttons similar to it's successor the SuperNES. Even the controller had the "bone-like" shape of the SuperNES. This new model sold for $45. The cheaper price came at the loss of the original model's interface and A/V output ports. Nintendo dropped support for this new model a year later. Today, it's a collectors item.

Nintendo's success introduced some of the most interesting accessories and conversions. Who could forget the "Power Glove", and "Rob the Robot". Nintendo slapped "NES-like" hardware into an Arcade cabinet and released Nintendo Playchoice to arcades everywhere. In Japan they released a disk drive accessory that allowed gamers to download games from vending machines onto a disk.


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Commodore Amiga CD32 Screenshots
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Commodore Amiga CD32
Released July 1993
The CD32 was released in Canada and was planned for release in the United States. However, a deadline was reached for Commodore to pay a patent royalty to Cad Track for their use of their XOR patent. A federal judge ordered an injunction against Commodore preventing them from importing anything into the United States. Commodore had built up CD32 inventory in their Philippine manufacturing facility for the United States launch, but, being unable to sell the consoles, they remained in the Philippines until the debts owed to the owners of the facility were settled. Commodore declared bankruptcy shortly afterwards, and the CD32 was never officially sold in the United States. However, imported models did come over the border from Canada, and many stores in the United States (primarily mail-order stores) imported units for domestic sale. During the long bankruptcy proceedings, Commodore UK also provided some hardware components and software for the American market, including production of the MPEG Video Module that was not officially released by Commodore International.

On its release, the CD32 was marketed by Commodore as 'the world's first 32-bit CD games console'. Although it was indeed the first such machine released in Europe and North America, the FM Towns Marty, a console released exclusively in Japan, beat it to market by seven months. However, the CD32's 68EC020 processor had a 32-bit data bus both internally and externally, while the 386SX in the FM Towns Marty has a 16-bit data bus externally.


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Pioneer LaserActive Screenshots
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Pioneer LaserActive
Released September 13, 1993 for $970.00
The Pioneer LaserActive was a short-lived Laserdisc-based game console released by Pioneer in 1993. In addition to LaserActive games, separately sold add-on modules (referred to as "PAC" by Pioneer) expanded the hardware to include compatibility with the Sega Mega Drive/Sega Genesis and PC Engine/TurboGrafx 16 game cartridges and HuCards and CDs. It ended up being a commercial failure.

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Panasonic 3DO Interactive Screenshots
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Panasonic 3DO Interactive
Released October 04, 1993 for $700.00
The 3DO was a concept. "Create the blueprints for a next-generation, 32-bit, do-it-all, set-top system that is fully upgradeable and license the actual hardware manufacturing to some of the world's largest electronics manufacturers." That's the 3DO. Trip Hawkins, founder of the 3DO company, joined forces with RJ Mical and Dave Needle to create the most innovative system of the '90s. The 3DO was originally designed to be the next step in home entertainment: Audi-o, vide-o, 3D-O. The creators hoped it would become as common as the VCR and as fun and entertaining as a TV, VCR, CD player, video game system and computer combined. The idea was sound. Unfortunately, the execution of the idea was not.

Many companies obtained licenses to produce 3DO systems, including Goldstar, Sanyo, Samsung, AT&T, Creative Labs and the world's largest electronics company, Matsushita/Panasonic. With the idea that the 3DO was to become a multi functional part of everyone's home entertainment centers, the unit was released in 1993 with an MSRP of $700.


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Atari Jaguar Screenshots
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Atari Jaguar
Released November 1993
Competing with Sega and Nintendo's 16-bit consoles, the Jaguar was said to be 64-bit. Back then, bit width was a big deal in the gaming industry, just as polygon-pushing power is today. The Jaguar did not work off of a solitary 64-bit processor, but instead it had a collection of processors with bus widths ranging from 16 to 64 bits. The bit width of the Jaguar is still a source of considerable debate today, but consensus exists among those who are familiar with the system hardware that, because Jaguar's main data bus and some of the processors are 64-bit, the entire system can be considered 64 bit. It would otherwise be considered a 32-bit console.

Nonetheless, it was technically superior to the leading 16-bit consoles at the time. Unfortunately, this last ditch effort by Atari to find room in the console market failed. A relatively small number of games were developed for the system, but Atari pulled the plug altogether in 1996.


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GameConsoles
1970s Video Game Consoles | 1980s Video Game Consoles | 1990s Video Game Consoles | 2000 and Beyond
GameConsoles
Top 10 Game Consoles of All Time | 10 Game Consoles That Didn't Catch On | Game Console Clones
GameConsoles
Top Brands:Magnavox | Atari | Coleco | Mattel | Nintendo | Sega | Sony | Microsoft
GameConsoles



GameConsoles

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