7 Beloved Video Game Consoles That Were Almost Completely Different

The Dreamcast didn't have to die.

Xbox Dreamcast

Designing a successful video game console is hard - just ask the teams that created the Philips CD-i, the Nokia N-Gage or the Atari... Anything After The Mid-80s.

Most systems go through a ton of revisions before anybody in the public gets to see them. These changes can run the gamut from minor to major - the Xbox One team probably went through a thousand focus groups before settling on a shade of red for the B button, while somewhere out there is a designer whose resumé includes "reduced the number of hands required to hold an N64 controller from five to three."

But there are some consoles that went through changes during development so significant, they didn't just affect that product, but the video game industry as a whole.

Sometimes it's a groundbreaking feature that was cut at the last minute, teasing us with endless "what if?" scenarios, others a serendipitous change forced onto the developers by circumstances beyond their control, or it's a company making a desperate choice that paid off in unpredicted ways.

And sometimes, it's just video game companies making really stupid decisions...

7. The American NES Was Going To Be A Personal Computer

Xbox Dreamcast

The Nintendo Entertainment System was as revolutionary as it was insane. It allowed gamers to do things previously limited to crazy people - like shooting a dog because it was laughing at you, or being anywhere near Mike Tyson.

In fact, between the Ninja Turtles games and the Super Mario series, a disturbing number of NES titles were just about watching turtles die. But all of that 8-bit psychopathy was originally going to come in a much more mundane package: a home computer.

As they were localizing their Japanese Famicom console for an American release, Nintendo developed a retooled prototype called the Advanced Video System. The AVS was designed as a personal computer with a heavy gaming slant, similar to the Commodore 64. It would have supported wireless peripherals common to home computers at the time such as a QWERTY keyboard and tape deck.

An AVS prototype was shown at the 1985 Consumer Electronics Show, but it had some problems. The infrared wireless controllers were extremely unresponsive, and the whole system seemed too much like all the other game console/computer hybrids available at the time. As a result, Nintendo redesigned the system into the turtle murder box we all love today.

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Jeff Silvers is a freelance comedy writer and recipient of several prestigious participation certificates.