Nintendo Switch Joy-Con Grip
The innovative design of the Nintendo Switch is something to be celebratedNintendo

Part of the reason we love the Nintendo Switch so much is because of its uniqueness. The Switch's modular design is a refreshing change from the traditional aesthetics of home consoles which, when you think about it, haven't really changed much in some 30 years.

The Switch isn't the first attempt by Nintendo to break the console mould, nor is Nintendo the only manufacturer to have tried to put something a little bit different into the hands of gamers. History is riddled with quirky systems that bent the rule book of console design, some more successful than others.

Here's a look back on five of the most memorable, or in some cases least memorable, out-there games consoles.


Sega 32X (1994)

Sega 32X
Sega 32XEvan Amos/ Wikimedia Commons

Not really a console per se, the Sega 32X was more an add-on for the Sega Mega Drive that was an attempt to keep the system relevant at the dawn of the 32-bit era. The Sega 32X brought more processing power to the console and allowed it to run 3D games, which Sega hoped would help it fend off the Sony PlayStation and Nintendo 64 in the interim before it released the ill-fated Sega Saturn.


Nintendo Wii (2006)

Nintendo Wii
Nintendo WiiNintendo

The Nintendo Wii was so successful because of its mass appeal, which seemed to transcend the generational divide and attract old and young, gamers and non-gamers. It was the first home console to do motion control properly and make it a core part of the experience, which made the Wii accessible, even to people who had never picked up a controller before.


Nokia N-Gage (2003)

Nokia N-Gage
Nokia N-GageReuters

The Nokia N-Gage was a weird game console / mobile phone hybrid that could play full-length games as well as make calls. While it served fairly well as a handheld console, its use as a mobile phone was more unconventional due to the placement of the speaker along the top of the device, forcing users to hold it sideways while making calls and thus immortalising the N-Gage as the 'Taco phone'.


Nintendo Virtual Boy (1995)

Virtual Boy Nintendo Emulator
Nintendo Virtual BoyNintendo

Before the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive, there was the Nintendo Virtual Boy, which was such a colossal failure that it nearly doomed virtual reality forever. Instead of giving it head straps, Nintendo deemed it more sensible to attach the Virtual Boy to a sort of kickstand that gamers had to lean into. Things didn't look much better from the inside either: due to the cost of full colour graphics at the time, all the games for the Virtual boy were displayed in a monochromatic red and black.


Apple Pippin (1996)

Apple Pippin
Apple PippinEvan Amos/ Wikimedia Commons

Apple's first attempt at a home console was made by Bandai. The Pippin was intended as an open platform for games companies to develop capabilities for, but it didn't gain the traction Apple hoped, largely because it had the well-established PlayStation and Nintendo 64 to compete with. Perhaps the weirdest thing about the Pippin was the 'Applejack' controller, which was shaped like a boomerang and had both button-based controls and a mouse-like trackball.


Panasonic Q (2001)

Panasonic Q GameCube
Panasonic QEvan Amos/ Wikimedia Commons

Possibly the most obscure console on our list is the Panasonic Q, which was essentially a Nintendo GameCube with a DVD player built into it. The rare version on Nintendo's 2001 home console was only available in Japan, and had a different design to the original GameCube that included Panasonic branding, an LED back-lit display and in-line buttons. The Panasonic Q didn't last long on shelves and was pulled just two years after its release due to miserable sales.

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