Is it a simple case of greed or an inherent need to complete stuff that drives me to want to own every video game console and handheld? That’s a question that I can’t answer without a full psychological examination and doing so would cost money. Money that I would rather spend on buying consoles or handhelds that I don’t yet own.
I’ve been on this retro gaming journey for 20 years now, back when the systems I was buying up in the early 2000s, such as the Jaguar, the Intellivision, the Turbografx-16, were barely even considered retro. But there are still systems, for whatever reason, that I still have not added to my collection. Typically they either didn’t interest me enough to seek them out when I was adding to my console/system collection in the beginning or they were difficult to find and therefore more expensive than I wanted. I’ll break down the North American released consoles I don’t yet own into the decades they were released.
Magnavox Odyssey – The O.G. of gaming. It intrigues me as a collector’s piece as part of history. I would have almost no inclination to actually play it.
Atari Pong – I could never justify buying these consoles that could only play variations of the same game I already had on my Atari 2600. I still do not own a single Pong system and I feel dirty because of it.
Coleco Telstar – Same justification as the Atari Pong systems, although the Telstar at least has a few different cartridges that can be inserted to make it feel more “console-like”.
Bally Astrocade – This is the console from the 70s that I want the most and will likely be one of the next ones I get. They are sold every so often on eBay but the price is fairly steep for what it is. Definitely not one of the more common systems from the era but the one that has the most appeal to me personally.
APF-MP1000 – I didn’t even know this existed until recently. I’ve been researching video game consoles for two decades now and this one has somehow escaped my awareness. I guess I need it for my collection, right? Ugh….
Atari XEGS – I always thought this was just an Atari computer that used cartridges instead of floppy disks. Am I right? Is that what this is? Do I need it in order to own all North American consoles or is this a fucking computer? Who can answer me?!?!
AdventureVision – I guess this is some sort of tabletop handheld that played monochrome carts. Not super high on my must own list.
General note, there are other consoles that utilized VHS tapes and VCRs to play games that I don’t include on this list because I don’t want to have to own a VCR just to use it. If I was inclined to own them just to have them in my collection, those systems would be the Action Max, the Sega Video Driver and the View Master Interactive.
Neo Geo AES – These Neo Geo consoles were out of my price range 20 years ago, I can’t imagine what they are going for these days but maybe they aren’t too absurdly priced. Even if I did find an AES or CD console with a price-tag I could live with, then I need to buy games for it and from what I understand, those bastards are what drive Neo Geo owners to bankruptcy.
Neo Geo CD – See Neo Geo AES above.
Tandy VIS – Multimedia and educational games primarily make up the library of this “console”. Doesn’t have a lot of appeal besides it being rare and obscure.
Sega Pico – I might have to make an exception to my collectors rule of thumb and NEVER own this crummy “console” for kids. I would never play it so I would have it just to have it and that doesn’t sound like a real reason to own anything.
Pioneer Laseractive – Not real keen on adding this to my collection either, so this thing might ultimately get a pass from me.
Nintendo VirtualBoy – The idea of this thing was always so unappealing that I never bought one. The idea of this thing is still so unappealing that I don’t own it but since it’s Nintendo, I suppose I should.
R-Zone – I have to be pretty desperate to add this weird little handheld to my collection. It’s a pretty intriguing concept though. Cartridges with LCD screens that you can play with the use of a headset. I wonder how many working units there are out there.
Game.com – Monochrome gaming in the late 90s? I wonder why this thing didn’t take off…
Neo Geo Pocket Color – The most likely handheld to get added to my collection in the near future. The NGPC actually had decent sales so they aren’t super hard to find, which is helpful, and as I understand it, there are good games worth playing. I just need to pull the trigger and buy one finally.
None of these systems are really considered retro so I’m not actively looking to buy any of them, with the exception of a PS3 so I can finally have a Blueray DVD player in my house. I just wanted to clarify which console or system from the 2000s I did not own in case I wanted a quick reference.
So there you have it. A semi-comprehensive list of North American consoles and systems that I still do not own. I’m sure there are some that I missed and some others that I didn’t include if they were just hand-held versions of an existing console. For example, I don’t own a Sega Nomad but since it doesn’t do anything different besides simply playing Genesis cartridges, then I don’t feel its a must own from a completist stand point. Maybe next year at this time I’ll be able to knock a few of these off my list like I did with the RCA Studio II, Fairchild Channel F and Phillips CD-I in 2018.