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The Top 15 Vaporware Products of All Time
The tech industry has had more than its fair share of products that infamously failed to take off. Some fit
the classic definition of vaporware, and were all hype and no substance. A few were simply too far ahead
of their time, and others were merely victims of bad judgment about what users wanted. created a
list of the 15 best examples of products that never saw the light of day (at least in their originally in-
tended form). We have listed the Video Game related items below.
(Visit for the complete story)
#14—Duke Nukem Forever. Originally announced in 1997,
this game has still not been released although the publisher has
stated that it is still being worked on.
#13—Amiga Walker PC. I remember my roommate‘s delight
when he found out the Amiga was going to be resurrected from
the ashes of obscurity. Well, the company went bankrupt one
year after they announced this Amiga update.
#12—Sega VR. Before the boom, Virtual Reality was
the ―next‖ big thing. D on‘t forget to read all about the Sega VR
in this issue.
#10—Atari 2700. Someone at Atari had a great idea: take the
insanely popular Atari 2600 gaming system, put it in a new cabi-
net, add spiffy new controllers, and call it the Atari 2700.
The end result was almost a license to print money. The cabinet
designers skipped the dated 1970s look of the faux-wood panel
and went for a then-futuristic sleek, wedge-shaped design with The Atari 2700 Wireless Game System
matte and glossy black finishes, topped with a built-in storage
container for the controllers at the top.
The controllers themselves were innovative for the time, featur-
ing built-in select and reset buttons (providing even less motiva-
tion to get off the couch), a touch-sensitive fire button, and a
joystick that doubled as a rotating, 270-degree paddle. The
killer feature: the controllers were wireless.
Advertising and packaging were created, but the Atari 2700
never reached store shelves. In quality assurance testing, peo-
ple noticed that the controllers had a broadcast range of 1,000
feet. Since the controllers didn't have unique identifiers beyond
"left controller" and "right controller", playing a game would
affect any Atari 2700 unit within that radius. To top it off, the
electronics were based on garage-door openers, so interference
with other remote-control devices was a possibility. In the end,
Atari decided that redesigning the system and the controllers
would be too expensive, and it scrapped the 2700 project.
Action GameMaster Portable? Video Game System The 2700 didn't exactly vanish without a trace, however. The
cabinet design was slightly retooled for the Atari 5200, and the
5200 controllers also used elements of the 2700 controller de-
sign. The wireless functionality wound up in an Atari 2600 add-
on, which relied on essentially unusable fat-bottomed versions of
the classic 2600 joystick.
#8—Action GameMaster. Active Enterprises was a gaming
company that valued quantity over quality, releasing cartridges
for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and Sega Genesis
jammed with 52 games, each of dubious quality. The Action
GameMaster, which Active announced in 1994, was no deviation
from the philosophy. The portable game system would not only
play its own cartridges, but would also handle NES, Super NES,
and Sega Genesis games (with the help of adapters), as well as
CD-ROM games, via another adapter. Contributing to the Infinium Phantom
kitchen-sink approach was a TV tuner add-on and car, and AC
adapters. (Even with all that functionality, Active claimed that the GameMaster would have "lightweight portability".)
For a detailed history of Active Entertainment, head over to Atari HQ (
#7—Infinium Phantom. The Phantom was slated to be, in essence, a PC running the embedded version of Windows
XP, which would allow gamers to play PC games--but the primary hook was Phantom's on-demand system, where
subscribers could download any game they wanted over an Internet connection. At one stage, the company even
planned to give the console away free to anyone who subscribed to a two-year service. A revamped Phantom was on
display at the 2005 Consumer Electronics Show, but a string of missed and reset release dates eroded any goodwill
that its public appearances may have generated. Later in the year, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
gave notice that it would bring charges against former Infinium CEO Timothy Roberts.
5 | Video Game Trader Magazine | June 2008 |
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