There have been many failed consoles. There have been many overpriced consoles. There have been many failed, overpriced consoles. But unless you are in the tiny niche of interactive movie freaks, it is hard to imagine a system with a worse bang for the buck than Pioneer's short-lived LaserActive.

By itself, it is just a LaserDisc movie player (and a very barebones one, not even S-Video output). But with the help of optional modules, it would run Mega Drive, Mega-CD, TurboGrafx-16 and TurboGrafx CD games, as well as karaoke LDs. Why even count it as a separate console, then? Because the same modules also allowed it to run LD-based games, mostly straight ports of interactive movie arcades like Time Gal and Road Avenger, with much better video quality than their CD-based ports.

There was a major downside to it, though: the core unit alone cost $970, the game modules went for $600 each, and the karaoke one was $350. Now do the math, account for inflation, and imagine yourself paying $4000 for a game console... which, surprisingly, still does not make this the most expensive console ever, that'd be the Halcyon.

The listEdit

  • Did anyone really have that thing?