15 Classic Game Console Design Mistakes

August 11th, 2009 by Benj Edwards

Game Console Mistakes on TechnologizerUp now on Technologizer is my latest VC&G-related freelance work: 15 Classic Game Console Design Mistakes, a non-exhaustive analysis of various hardware and design goofs in video game consoles. In it, I discuss the Intellivision, Sega Saturn, NES, Atari Jaguar, and more.

This latest article is a follow-up of an earlier Technologizer piece I wrote back in June: 15 Classic PC Design Mistakes.

Interestingly, this latest piece is proving to be far more controversial. I suspect it’s because people have had more up-close experiences with video game systems than with semi-obscure computers, and because game consoles inspire quite a bit of unflinching loyalty in the general populace.

I came up with many more flaws than I listed, but I couldn’t keep writing forever. So feel free to share your ideas for game console design flaws either here or over at Technologizer.

5 Responses to “15 Classic Game Console Design Mistakes”

  1. Zoyous Says:

    I always wondered about “the Duke” — the large original Xbox controller. I remembered reading an article from a Microsoft PR person who insisted that they’d received extremely positive feedback from playtesters during development, and I thought that perhaps these were people who were secretly trying to sabotage Microsoft.

    Then again, it had the giant, nonfunctional Xbox logo circle in the center, which I wondered if, at one point early in development, it might have been intended to be a small display of some sort, kind of like the Dreamcast VMU.

  2. JackSoar Says:

    Another good article.

    What I like about your articles, Benj, is that even when I am well familiar with the subject matter, your excellent research unveils some nice tidbits of information of which I was not previously aware, such as some of the intricacies of the Virtual Boy’s development.

  3. Geoff V. Says:

    I’ve always wondered why “the video games” manufacturers have not made at least 2 sizes of controlers. The demographics range from pint size kids to ham-fisted adults(like myself).

    Third-party controllers sometimes come in different sizes, but quaility is questionable at best.

  4. guy Says:

    @Geoff: because making 2 different sizes of controllers means you have to order twice as many of certain parts. Also, one of the two designs will inevitably prove more popular than the other, which means that the manufacturer will probably sit on piles of controllers that aren’t wanted, or have to sell them at discount. Finally, if someone buys a console, and they have a choice between a big and small controller, they will probably just get the one kind and make everyone else use it anyway.

  5. Jason Says:

    My friends and I always referred to the original Xbox controller as “the potato”.

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