Recent console history has been dominated by Sony, the mainstream juggernaut, Nintendo, the family-friendly and fan content-hating behemoth, and Microsoft, the company that has too much money to fail. In the meantime, we've seen others shooting their honest shot and failing, but we've also seen attempts at consoles so shady that we avoid straight-up calling them scams because we're afraid of legal action getting raided by their goons.

The Phantom

What it promised: An always-online super powerful system that could download all games (via crappy '00s Internet)


What it delivered: Just a shell that looks an awful lot like the PS5

A supposedly working prototype of the phantom

Phantom Entertainment

And it's even harder to get than the PS5 (because it doesn't exist.)

The early ‘00s was the only time in the great console war when we witnessed the big three battling it out for the very same delicious piece of the market. To give an idea of how figuratively bloody it was, Nintendo released the Gamecube in ‘01 and just a couple of years later was already slowing down and doing the tactical retreat they needed to later take over the more family-oriented slice of the market with the Wii. Looking at the multi-billion-dollar company that completely dominated the handheld market ever since they invented it losing out to somehow even bigger fish didn't deter the analyst(s?) at Infinium Labs, a small-town company from challenging the gods in their game – and via methods that we're only beginning to dominate nowadays.

In '03, the Phantom promised technical specs capable of running all games, so we're assuming those of a PC, but that's weird because what makes PC hardware so powerful is the fact that they make new graphics cards like every other week, something not too easy to have when we're talking about a closed system like a gaming console. On top of that, the Phantom also promised to do away with Disc-based media and somehow have us downloading all games via the still spider web-based Internet of the time. The phantom ended up disappearing into the ether along with over $73 million in losses after failing to meet various release dates and without ever showing what it was capable of. At least it didn't rob anyone in a dubious Kickstarter campaign – because Crowdfunding still wasn't a thing back then and they fooled investors the old way.

Ultimately, it's undeniable that the Phantom did predict the future of gaming better than even goddamn google would, but Infinium labs either bit way more than they could chew, or were never really planning on having a console. They ended up scrapping the Phantom altogether and pivoting to something called the “phantom lapboard” aka just a goddamn keyboard and mouse setup.

The phantom lapboard

Phantom Entertainment

They could have at least made a goddamn controller for a video game console.

The last known tale regarding the phantom comes from someone who happened upon an actual prototype of the console, and he claims that, well, it was just a low-end pc inside an edgy shell all along.

 

Polium One, the Web 3.0 NFT Ouroboros

What it promised: A dumber version of the Phantom, apparently


What it delivered: Exactly what it promised

 

the Polium One concept (check out the gamecube logo)

Polium One

What's the next evolutionary step in a time when we can actually download hundreds of gigs worth of games in a day and have PCs capable of running games that look better than real life? Well, we need a gaming console that's less about games and more about making use of the dying NFT market, but of course! Oh, and did we say that the Polium designers don't care about games? That was a low deception on our part. We apologize. It turns out they do, they care about games so much, in fact, that the Polium one will have ludicrously impossible specs. From its official site, we can learn that despite having no graphics card, the Polium One will have "4K Ultra HD, TouchID, 8K HDR, Ray Tracing, up to 120 frames per second.", meaning that it'll feature both 8K resolution and 4K, for some reason, as well as TouchID, a technology that belongs to Apple. Bold claims, but we're pretty sure Apple will cave as soon as the Polium people assure Apple that the Ghost of Steve Jobs has given his blessing.

What better testament to the good heart of the people behind this endeavor than the fact that just a mere day after announcing it, they had to change the console's logo because it was the Nintendo Gamecube's logo.

The company does claim they weren't copying the GameCube. Let's give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they're being honest and they were just copying pebblehost's logo. Who knows?

Ouya

What it promised: A cheap way to play all mobile games… on a tv!
What it delivered: Two gorgeous gaming-themed paperweights

the ouya

Ouya

The gaming community often claims that mobile-only gamers aren't gamers, and that's dumb. Dumber still, however, is trying to bring mobile games to our living room TVs. That's exactly what the people behind the Ouya were aiming for, and that was naturally not the only mistake they made along the way. It had such piss-poor build quality that it didn't really work for long. The controller wasn't great, but a lot of people didn't even get to learn just how bad it was because it barely ever connected. The same could be said about its wifi connection, which is kind of a problem considering how it got all of its games from the Internet. The Ouya came out in 2013 and was discontinued in 2015. It earns the dubious honor of being the only console on this list that kind of worked for a while.

Intellivision Amico

 

What it promised  Getting to play classic games (that most don't even remember) on the worst controllers imaginable
What it delivered:  A good sketch for the worst controllers imaginable

Back in 2017, Tommy Tallarico, a man known only for organizing video game-themed music concerts decided to create a video game console. He bought a stake in Intellivision, a company responsible for a console that was popular in the ‘80s and announced he’d bring it back. Now, we know we're a comedy website, but we're just gonna have to ask our readers to go through the effort of gazing upon whatever the hell this is:

a render of the intellivision Amico

Intellivision

Maybe it's also a musical instrument?

People immediately criticized it because sometimes making fun of looks is the correct thing to do. Tallarico showed how much of a level-headed business leader he was by calling his critics mentally unstable “gaming racists”. This must have been really awkward for everyone who knows him because we're talking about one of the very few occasions in the history of gaming where a fan controversy had absolutely nothing to do with racism and mental instability. Someone later found out that the console was basically just an android phone from 2016, one that somehow had trouble running any of its intended games. Tallarico wanted to release it two years after its announcement, but that obviously never happened – and will never happen. In July of 2022, we learned that the Amico trademark has been dropped, so we can finally sleep at night knowing It will never come back to do whatever its designers fooled their investors into believing it could do.

Top Image: Phantom Entertainment

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