Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and its true that what one person finds unattractive someone else might find quite lovely. But these 10 game systems, despite some featuring some of the best games of all time or well… ok games at best are… definitely not lookers, especially when held up to modern technological aesthetics and standards. Some were a product of their times, others let down by just plain bad choices but it’s hard to argue that these are the 10 ugliest game systems ever released.
PS: Some consoles, while looking normally just fine, have some pretty awful color choices but we decided to leave those off this list and focused on the systems that were designed to look ugly.
10 – Wii Mini
Kicking off this list is a system I completely forgot existed before I started researching for this article. The budget-conscious alternative to the Wii took what was once a sleek, sexy design and made it look like anything but a modern game console and more like one of those portable DVD players. Really the one saving grace for the Wii Mini is that it came packaged with a very sleek-looking red Wii Remote Plus and Nunchuck that (almost) make it worth owning one of these ugly paperweights.
9 – Sega Master System
Sega’s first console to hit North America may have had a couple of hits under its belt but when it came to the design of the system itself it was a pretty big flop. The system tries to be intuitive by including a setup diagram printed on the case itself but this actually just make it seem more confusing than it actually is. That couple with its dual format port for game cards and cartridges and you have a system, that unlike the minimalist look of the NES, would be hard for kids and parents to understand. And speaking of the NES…
8 – Nintendo Entertainment System (NES 101)
We once called this one of the best console redesigns of all time, mostly because it fixes many of the problems that plagued the original NES model, mostly in that it actually working when you plopped a cartridge into it. However the trade-off being that you get one of (oh there’s more on this list) the ugliest consoles never has ever released. It looked even worse when an NES cartridge is sticking out of it since it practically doubles the size of the unit. Well at least the redesigned controller is a nice improvement.
7 – Phillips CDi
Looking more like a VCR or a Betamax player than a modern, futuristic game console, the Phillips CDi is one of the easiest systems in existence to make fun of but it just makes it so darn easy. Sure the games may have been trash but if you were one of the unlucky few to have this thing under your TV instead of a SNES, Genesis or PlayStation then you might have to convince your friends that you do have a gaming system… just not one that anyone wants to play.
6 – Tiger R-Zone
The future of gaming has endless possibilities, but whoever thought it would be a good idea to create a console with the visual prowess of the Virtual Boy but contain it within a head-worn display deserves a real medal for seeing the future. Who cares if you look like a dork walking around playing this thing and that the games are practically invisible? THIS IS THE FUTURE!
5 – Nintendo 64 (Hey You! Pikachu Edition)
You know who kids love? Pikachu! So when the spinoff title Hey You! Pikachu was announced for the Nintendo 64 you just knew Nintendo was going to go all out with promoting it. And go all out they did with this abomination of a Nintendo 64 adorned with a giant, plastic Pikachu. I particularly feel bad for those collectors out there who are trying to collect every N64 model and have to add this bad boy besides the great looking see-through models.
4 – Nokia N-Gage
Of all the systems none have inspired as many memes as much as the N-Gage. The phone / game console was in practice a good idea, as seen by devices like iPhone which blew up just a few years later. But the N-Gage… was just plain poorly designed. The original model even had you hold the thing sideways to take phone calls which (to pull out an old standard) made it seem like you were holding a taco to your head.
3 – Nintendo 2DS
Let’s do a little test. What’s the first thing you see when you look at the Nintendo 2DS?
- A modern current gen game system?
- A slice of bread?
- A tombstone?
Personally – I like #2 a lot.
2 – Sega Nomad
Sega’s follow-up to the Genesis, the Nomad was a short-lived system that let you take your Sega Genesis on the go, kinda of like the Nintendo Switch if everything with the Switch went wrong. Kind of like the 2DS, the Nomad is a system that’s deceptively comfortable to hold but hideous to behold. It’s asymmetrical design makes it look like the system is always broken or that something’s wrong with the picture that was snapped to show it off.
1 – PlayStation 3 (All models)
When Sony announced the PlayStation 3, the most expensive video game console of all time, it came with the caveat that it might also be the ugliest system every produced. The original beast was a gigantic, rounded monster that some likened to a BBQ rather than a modern pieced of technology. It’s second iteration fared a lot better by basically getting rid of the glossy finish and flattening the whole console but it was still a mess when compared to the much sleeker Xbox 360 and Wii. The last model though went back to the BBQ grill motif full force, actually including a ‘grill’ pattern on the outer casing. Many of the systems that made this list were redesigns of what was a pretty solid mold but with the PS3 each and every model would have earned a spot on this list on its own and that’s why it rounds out the list at number 1.
Agree with our list? What game consoles do you find hard to look at? Let us know in the comment section below.