The Most Notable Electrical Computer Entertainment Failures

by | Feb 23, 2023 | Blog | 0 comments

One category of product that is often neglected when it comes to electrical testing is electronic entertainment products, even though they often can require the same levels of PAT testing as more business-orientated devices.

This can cause some devices that were made to make people happy and provide joy to only generate frustration and misery, and here are some of the most notable examples.

Amstrad GX4000

In the early 1990s, Alan Sugar’s company decided to try for the increasingly lucrative games console market with a console version of its CPC Plus computers, entitled the GX4000.

It was, for many reasons, a disaster. Whilst priced at just £99, it was released in 1990, around the same time as the Sega Mega Drive and Super Nintendo, was priced the same as a Sega Master System with fewer games available and most people had by that point moved onto computers like the Commodore Amiga.

What made it far worse was a small game library filled with games that were available for a tenth of the cost on other computers and a power supply that was poorly made and prone to exploding.

A related failure was the Commodore 64 GS (Games System), which failed for very similar reasons.

Xbox 360 First Generation

Whilst far from a commercial failure, Microsoft’s second console’s legacy has been tainted by four words: Red Ring Of Death.

Due to an intense manufacturing push and various issues with the console’s sweeping curved design, the console had a ton of manufacturing issues and heat dissipation issues, typically resulting in three red lights appearing near the power button, symbolising a general hardware issue.

As well as this, there was an issue where the disc drive would sometimes create perfect circular scratches on game discs, making them unreadable.

The console sold tons and became the second most successful console of its era behind the Nintendo Wii, but ultimately cost Microsoft over a billion dollars in recalls and warranty replacements, with nearly every first-generation Xbox 360 expected to break at some point.

Atari Jaguar

The first major games company ever, Atari has managed to financially collapse on no less than three separate occasions.

The first time nearly took the entire video game market with it, and the third incarnation was largely a rename of the French company Infogrames.

The second collapse, however, was a result of one of the most unreliable and poorly realised major consoles ever made in the form of the Atari Jaguar.

It was the third attempt at a games console by UK-based Flare Technology, with the previous Konix Multisystem and Atari Panther systems ultimately winding up unreleased.

However, whilst the console was quite powerful when used to its full potential, and games such as Tempest 2000 and Alien Vs Predator looked impressive for the time, the console had some critical flaws in its electronic architecture that made it exceptionally hard to make games for.

As a result of this and an infamously poor, ugly and unreliable CD-ROM add-on, the Jaguar would sell under 150,000 units compared to the millions of its competitors, and Atari would be sold off a few more times after this.

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