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Vintage Video Game Consoles 1994-1995



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Sega Genesis 2 Screenshots
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Sega Genesis 2
Released February 1994
The Sega Genesis 2 Unit was released in 1994 and was nearly the same as the Sega Genesis released in 1989. The new unit was absent of a headphone jack and volume control and used a non standard RF switch and AC adapter. The pack ins were an AC adapter, RF switch, controller, and the Sonic the Hedgehog 2 game.

The failures of the Sega CD and 32X, a lack of effective advertising, and disputes between Sega of America and Sega of Japan had taken their toll on the company. By 1994, Sega's market share had dropped from 65% to 35%, and the official announcements of newer, more powerful consoles, such as the Saturn, Playstation, and N64 signaled that the 16-bit era was drawing to a close. Interest in the Genesis suffered greatly as a result, compounding its already falling sales. In 1996, less than a year after the debut of their Saturn console, Sega quickly brought their participation in the 16-bit era to an end by discontinuing production of the Genesis and its associated accessories.


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Goldstar 3DO Interactive Screenshots
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Goldstar 3DO Interactive
Released February 01, 1994 for $699.95
3DO Interactive Multiplayer is the name of a number of video game consoles released in 1993 and 1994 by Panasonic, Sanyo and Goldstar. The consoles were manufactured according to specifications created by The 3DO Company which were originally designed at the New Technology Group (which later became part of the 3DO Company) by Dave Needle and RJ Mical. After leaving EA Games, Trip Hawkins originally came up with the idea of the 3DO Multiplayer system.

The consoles had very advanced hardware features at the time: an ARM60 32-bit RISC CPU, two custom video co-processors, a custom 16-bit DSP and a custom math coprocessor. They also featured 2 megabytes of DRAM, 1 megabyte of VRAM, and a double speed CD-ROM drive for main storage, Up to 8 controllers could be daisy-chained on the system at once. In addition to special 3DO software, the system was able to play audio CDs (including support for CD+G), view Photo CDs, and Video CDs with an add-on MPEG video card (released in Japan only). However, few titles utilized the console's full potential, which, along with its high price (699.95 USD at release) and the inability of the console market to sustain multiple platforms, put it in an early grave. The final nail in the coffin was the scuttling of the project after the expensive development of the successor console, the M2.


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Sega CD for Genesis 2 Screenshots
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Sega CD for Genesis 2
Released April 1994
The Sega Mega-CD is an add-on device for the Sega Mega Drive released in Europe, Australia, and Japan. The North American version is called the Sega CD. The device allows the user to both play CD audio discs and specially designed game CDs. It can also play CD+G discs.

The development of the Sega CD was top secret; game programmers didn't know what they were designing for until the Mega-CD was finally revealed at Tokyo Toy Show in Japan. The Sega Mega-CD in Japan was designed to compete with the PC Engine, which had a separate CD-ROM drive.

In the United States, the Sega CD was considered a failure due to its high price, low sales and general confusion with the Sega 32X, another Genesis peripheral offered. Due to Sega of America's lack of support for the Sega CD and 32X, many consumers lost their trust in Sega and it can be said that Sega never recovered from this, as the Saturn sold poorly and the Dreamcast, although considered a good effort on Sega's behalf, was unable to compete effectively with the PS2.


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JVC X'EYE Screenshots
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JVC X'EYE
Released September 01, 1994 for $499.00
JVC had helped Sega by delivering the most advanced sound made by a gaming console. A wider range of sounds not only gave the CD games more of an impact, but it was better then most audio CD players at the time. In return for their work, Sega gave JVC the "OK" to create this console. This system could play both Sega Genesis carts and Sega CD games in a single unit.

At a debut price of $499, the X'EYE was a costly version of something you could buy much cheaper by getting a Genesis and Sega CD separately. JVC's higher price tag did came with some added features. Not only could you play your Sega Genesis and Sega CD games from a single unit, but you could play your games with better video and sound. JVC added audio components such as a Digital Audio Processor and bass enhancer that would improve music clarity and explosive effects on Sega's CD games. JVC also added Super VHS output (SVHS another JVC created standard) that would provide a much improved display then other standards of its time. JVC also added numerous Karaoke features (popular in Japan), and MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) output. The MIDI interface could later be used with a keyboard add-on called "Piano Player".


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Sega Genesis 32x Screenshots
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Sega Genesis 32x
Released November 1994
The 32X hit the market in North America in November 1994, during the same month the Sega Saturn was released in Japan. Many industry insiders speculated that the 32X was doomed from the beginning as the Sega Saturn hardware was widely regarded as more powerful than the 32X and had the support of many Japanese third party software developers.

The Sega 32X can only be used in conjunction with a Sega Mega Drive/Sega Genesis system; it is plugged in where the cartridge bay is. Besides playing its own cartridges, it also acted as a passthrough for Genesis games so it would be a permanent attachment. The 32X came with 10 coupons and several spacers, so it would work with all versions of the Genesis.

Since this was an expensive add-on system, Sega decided to bundle in some rebate vouchers, which were difficult to take advantage of. Orders exceeded one million, but not enough were produced, and supply shortage problems arose.


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Sega CDX Screenshots
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Sega CDX
Released November 21, 1994 for $399.00
The Multi-Mega or CDX was a 16-bit video game console released in 1994 for $399 USD, combining the Sega Mega Drive (Sega Genesis in North America) and one of its add-ons, the Sega Mega-CD (Sega CD in North America), into a single compact unit as a final attempt by Sega to encourage consumer interest in its unpopular Mega-CD format. It was released under the name Multi-Mega in Europe, Genesis CDX in North America and Multi-Mega CDX in Brazil.

Overpriced and underselling due to lack of high quality Mega-CD games, and the anticipation of the Mega Drive's successor, the Sega Saturn, it was never well-supported by Sega, and died a quiet death. Its counterpart, the combined Mega Drive/32X console, the Sega Neptune, never went beyond the prototype stage.


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SNK NEO-GEO CD Screenshots
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SNK NEO-GEO CD
Released December 1994
The Neo Geo CD is essentially the same hardware as the AES but with a CD drive instead of the cartridge slot. CD's are a lot cheaper to produce than cartridges and SNK passed this saving on to gamers with the Neo Geo CD.

Unfortunately, the CD drive is single speed and it takes a long time for games to load compared to cart based games that load instantly. The loading isn't too bad on level based games such as Metal Slug, but it can be really infuriating on fighting games when it needs to load every couple of minutes.


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Atari Jaguar CD Screenshots
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Atari Jaguar CD
Released March 1995
Late in it's life span, Atari released this long-promised CD-ROM unit. The device sat atop the Jaguar console, plugging into the cartridge slot, the physical design of the system sometimes compared to a toilet. The drive had its own cartridge slot to allow cartridge games to be played without removing the CD drive. There was a separate "Memory Track" cartridge for storing saved game position and high scores.

The Jaguar CD unit featured a double speed (2x) drive and built-in VLM (Virtual Light Machine) software. The VLM, which provided a sophisticated video light show when an audio CD was played in the machine, was as popular among buyers as the games themselves. Packaged with the drive were two games (Blue Lightning and Vid Grid), a music CD (Tempest 2000 soundtrack), and a Myst demo disc.

The drive was manufactured for Atari by Phillips in the United States. The initial shipment was 20,000 units. With the JT Storage reverse takeover looming just a few months away, it is possible that those 20,000 drives were the only units ever produced.


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Bandai Pippin Screenshots
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Bandai Pippin
Released April 1995
The Pippin, known in Japan as Pippin Atmark, and marketed as Pipp!n, is a multimedia platform designed by Apple Inc. and produced by Bandai in 1995. It was based on a 66 MHz PowerPC 603 processor, a 14.4 kbit/s modem and ran a stripped version of the System 7.5.2 operating system.

The goal was to create an inexpensive computer aimed mostly at playing CD-based multimedia titles, especially games, but also functioning as a network computer. It featured a 4x CD-ROM drive and a video output that could connect to a standard television display.

The platform was named for the Newtown Pippin, an apple cultivar, a smaller and more tart relative of the McIntosh apple (which is the namesake of the Macintosh).


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Sega Saturn Screenshots
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Sega Saturn
Released May 11, 1995 for $399.00
Sega's Away Team worked for an entire two years exclusively to make certain that the Sega Saturn was launched with some of the world's best hardware and software. The 27-member Away Team comprises Sega employees from every aspect of hardware engineering, product development, and marketing. Their sole mission was to ensure that Sega Saturn's hardware and design met the precise needs of both the U.S. and Japanese markets.

In May 1995, Sega launched the Saturn in the USA, a full four months ahead of schedule. This was announced at that year's E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) where Sega representatives were engaged in a public relations battle with Sony. This surprise move resulted in very few sales, however. This was due largely to the $399 USD price of the system and the lack of available software at time of launch. Also, Sega chose to ship Saturn units only to four select retailers. This caused a great deal of animosity toward Sega from unselected companies, including Wal-Mart and KB Toys.


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Nintendo Virtual Boy Screenshots
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Nintendo Virtual Boy
Released August 1995
The Virtual Boy is a video game console developed and manufactured by Nintendo. It was the first video game console capable of displaying "true 3D graphics" out of the box. Whereas most video games use monocular cues to achieve the illusion of three dimensions on a two-dimensional screen, the Virtual Boy creates an illusion of depth through the effect known as parallax. In a manner similar to using a head-mounted display, the user looks into an eyepiece made of neoprene on the front of the machine, and then an eyeglass-style projector allows viewing of the monochromatic (in this case, red) image.

It was released on July 21, 1995 in Japan and August 14, 1995 in North America at a price of around US$180. Hype surrounding the device included public musings by Nintendo that the device might resemble a gun, projecting a 3D image in the air. The actual device was considered a disappointment. The commercial demise of the Virtual Boy was considered to be the catalyst that led to the designer, Yokoi being driven from Nintendo, yet it was maintained that Yokoi kept a close relationship with Nintendo despite Yokoi having later created a rival handheld system for Bandai. According to Game Over, the company laid the blame for the machine's faults directly on the creator. The Virtual Boy was discontinued in late 1995 in Japan and in early 1996 in North America. In 2007, the system was listed as number five in PC World's "The Ugliest Products in Tech History" list. TIME Magazine's website listed the Virtual Boy as one of the worst inventions of all time.


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Panasonic 3DO FZ-10 Screenshots
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Panasonic 3DO FZ-10
Released September 1995
The 3DO sported some very innovative features. The fact that it is a CD-based system gave developers nearly limitless space to store their games and programs, something cartridge-based systems lack. There was only one controller port. However, this wasn't a problem since extra controllers (up to 8) could be easily daisy-chained as each controller has its own controller port. The original Panasonic controllers have a built-in stereo headphone jack along with a volume control dial. The system has its own internal memory to save games and other information. It has 2 expansion ports which were to be used for future upgrades such as memory cards, modems, digital video cartridges and the M2 system upgrade.

There were many accessories for the 3DO, some of them standard (like game pads, wireless controllers and a light gun). Then there were more unique items like the mouse, steering wheel, flight stick and the Super Nintendo controller adapters which allowed the cheaper Super NES controllers to be used on the 3DO. However, there were even more impressive items available that truly allowed the 3DO to stand alone.


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Sony PlayStation Screenshots
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Sony PlayStation
Released September 1995
Nintendo asked Sony to develop a CD-ROM add-on called "PlayStation" for the SNES. Because Sony wanted 25% of all profits Nintendo earned from sales of this PlayStation and all PlayStation games, after Sony revealed that they were developing it, Nintendo instead went to Philips. This caused Sony to consider abandoning their research, however instead they used what they had developed so far and made it into a full blown console. This led to Nintendo filing a lawsuit claiming breach of contract and attempted, in U.S. federal court, to obtain an injunction against the release of the PlayStation, on the grounds that Nintendo owned the name. The federal judge presiding over the case denied the injunction.

The PlayStation was launched in Japan on December 3, 1994, the USA on September 9, 1995 and Europe on September 29, 1995. In America, Sony enjoyed a very successful launch with titles of almost every genre including Toshinden, Twisted Metal, Warhawk, and Ridge Racer. Almost all of Sony's and Namco's launch titles went on to produce numerous sequels.


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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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