GRADED: The Worst ’10 Worst Consoles’ List of All Time

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report

We wish we could have left it well enough alone. Certainly, in the Journalistic Special Olympics of blogging, criticizing another web writer’s wordsmithing is a slippery slope ending in a pit full of our own weasel words, forced metaphors, slapdash punctuation and dangling participles.

But there was something wonderful about Ryan Ash’s recent list for Gearfuse: The 10 Worst Video Game Consoles Of All Time. Something sublime. Something that nuzzled itself in the hollow of our bile duct and wouldn’t stop roiling. In only two thousand words, Ash had perfectly measured the space between the nadir of prosaic achievement and the barrier of entry to Digg-bait style list compiling. Its diameter? A single neutrino.

Who were we — mortal men hewn of flesh and blood, hazy of grammar and flatulent of opinion — to judge one of our peers? But no matter how much we tried… no matter how much we drank… we couldn’t let it go. Still, we didn’t quite trust ourselves with grading Ryan’s list. Out came the phone book, and our old English teacher Mrs. Buttermer was recruited to grade Ryan’s essay as if it were a high school book report.

We regret to inform you that, post-grading, neither fared very well. Hit the jump to see the graded list… a document just as much about one writer’s flagrant disregard for five hundred years of English-language composition as it is about old Mrs. Buttermer’s lubricated slalom out of both sanity and sobriety. Click to enlarge.

Fowler wept.


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51 Responses to GRADED: The Worst ’10 Worst Consoles’ List of All Time

  1. mattzog says:

    I am am both gratified and appalled that I am not alone in my excessive irritation at this list. I’m not bothered by his opinions on consoles (though I love my Wii), but by his writing. Clearly I’m reading the right blog everyday. Way to go boingboing.

    Also, excellent depiction of a tacophone.

    Also also, if it turns out that this guy is a twelve year-old trying his hand at blogging, we’re gonna feel like a bunch of dicks.

  2. Anonymous says:

    You sir are the Yahtzee of blog reviews.
    Do this is video form and I bet half the internet would worship you!
    Encore!

    http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/editorials/zeropunctuation

  3. CANTFIGHTTHEDITE says:

    Wow, that brought me all the way back to High School Advanced English class. I’d completely forgotten about “Run-on” phrases! I love it.

    Speaking of English class, was anyone else here ever told not to begin phrases with “this” or “these” ?

  4. Enochrewt says:

    “Shit is not the only fruit”

    Oh man, I laughed until I cried. Then coworkers came by and asked me why I was crying. I showed them, they then called me a nerd.

    This made my day, and I would vote for a weekly feature on blog english skillz from Mrs. Buttermer. To think I felt vaguely guilty about making fund of the kid’s writing in the other thread.

    I’d still like to know why the Amstrad GX4000 was such a bad console, since the article didn’t give one single specific reason.

  5. Tenn says:

    Fantastic! Please, a regular feature! Pleasey-pleasey-please!

    I was under the impression the whole time that he was around 12. If he isn’t, well that’s when it gets sad.

    He could be a senior in high school. That’s the eldest I imagine, though- I’m an optimist.

  6. Anonymous says:

    @ #21:

    “Roiling” is a word. Nice try, though. You work for Gearfuse too, if I’m not mistaken.

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/roil

  7. Psymiley says:

    Was given an ‘Intellivision’ by my neighbour; collecting retro consoles/computers, it was a pretty cool lump. But as for gaming (it had football [soccer]), it was barely minutes of ‘fun’!

    I think I have the entire back catalog of Vectrex games too (about 9 i think), but no gels – pic shows them, but no mention – the gels turn the B/W screen into patches of colour. No gel = squiggly lines on a tv.

    As for the Wii – You need (real, not web) friends to make it worthwhile.
    I do, and it is!

  8. David Carroll says:

    Speaking of the Wii, I got to play with the WiiFit Yoga training program briefly today. This is my killer app. I have never owned a single gaming console in my life. That will change tomorrow.

    I hope to be doing the
    One-Legged King Pigeon Pose – Eka Pada Rajakapotasana in no time…

  9. Toplus says:

    The coffee stains are just lovely. Are those cigarette burns?

  10. Anonymous says:

    The Wii doesn’t earn the title for worst console ever it’s selling really well and it does have many good games for it and you can play old retro games you knew and loved.How is that suckish?I mean those retro games were,and always will be,the
    best!!!

    Virtua Boy should’ve been #1 or another video game
    disaster.

  11. Halloween Jack says:

    Also also, if it turns out that this guy is a twelve year-old trying his hand at blogging, we’re gonna feel like a bunch of dicks.

    Who’s “we”, kemo sabe? Best time to find out that he’s not a precious and unique snowflake.

    # Worst of Anything lists generally suck; they tend toward flamebait.

  12. Enochrewt says:

    grrr fund? fund? Fun*.

    uhh yeah, I’ve decided to not be needy and find out why the Amstrad was so bad my own damn self.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Oh, that’s fantastic! Thanks Mrs. Buttermer!

  14. jbang says:

    Oh, for the love. This is, indeed, fucking awesome. Not shitty at all.

    Is there any way to turn this into a regular feature, with reader-submitted articles?

  15. Rob Beschizza says:

    They are.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Is your decrepit handwriting a result of longhand atrophy from too much keyboard intimacy? I ask because mine looks as bad.

  17. jennfrank says:

    @38 Oh, good! I complained about that one to a friend. It’s right up there with “kind of pregnant” and “fairly exciting.”

  18. Utube4u says:

    nice article.. i miss some pics.. of my favorite consoles.. :)

  19. andvaranaut says:

    You are my heroes.

  20. davedorr9 says:

    Thank you for your careful consideration of the serial comma. Perhaps for penance, the writer might peruse David Foster Wallace’s article on grammar in Harper’s Magazine (2001). Even better: ship him off a copy of ‘Consider the Lobster’ for the best article on grammar ever written.

  21. pedmands says:

    @#3: I was under the impression the whole time that he was around 12. If he isn’t, well that’s when it gets sad.

  22. Tahiri says:

    Why is wii crossed out? It deserves to be there more than any system before it, except maybe the atari since it’s bringing down the industry just like atari did before the NES.

  23. Anonyman says:

    #17,

    You’ve never had an actual English teacher do that to you?

  24. pork musket says:

    I love you guys so much.

    I had a Sega CD and 32x and thought I was the coolest kid on the block, way cooler than that little bitch Scott that had his own rifle. I saved my allowance for so long to buy them, and Sega repaid my fiscal indiscretion by releasing lame rehashes of arcade titles and then canning the whole platform shortly after. Since that day when Sega killed my soul, I swore never to buy another one of their products.

  25. ivan256 says:

    #32… He played the Intellivision and 2600 Jr. when they were current systems, and remembers it. The youngest he could be is 28-29.

  26. ZekeSulastin says:

    Hey, I have a brilliant idea – rather than refuting a point, let’s just scribble it out of existence.

    Your regrading was great until the Wii ._.

  27. ridl says:

    “The first time I ever played Donkey Kong was on my neighbor’s Intellivision when we were kids”.

    The guy’s in his thirties(!).

    Flame away, no delicate snowflakes will be melted.

  28. Chris Griswold says:

    I am saddened by the lack of correction for the assertion that the SNES came with Super Mario Land, a game made for the Game Boy. The SNES came with Super Mario World. My heart is breaking.

  29. moustache says:

    What mercy to let him get away with using the word “trite” as a noun in the last paragraph.

    Shit, that shit was some beautifully brutal shit.

  30. davethegame says:

    Just had to say thank you for this as well. While I’m sure my own blogging wouldn’t stand up to intense scrutiny, this article deserved to be torn apart. Seriously, the criticism of the Wii isn’t coherent at all.

  31. someToast says:

    The last sentence of the Virtual Boy section reads: “Just wall mount that piece add a quarter slot to it…”.

    Prior to the comma added in the markup after “piece”, there should also be inserted “of shit”. I’m sure Ryan’s upset that he left that one out.

  32. meerkat says:

    This definitely deserves to be a weekly feature – perhaps the readers can vote on which pathetic article gets forwarded on to Ms. B & The RED PEN OF CORRECTION!

  33. Rob Beschizza says:

    There was nothing really wrong with the Amstrad; it basically fixed a problem with the original (very successful) Amstrad, namely the lack of hardware scrolling and sprites, and added a then-awesome 4096-color palette. The price was right, too, at under 100 UK.

    It was killed by three developments, each compounding the last. First, they didn’t get many games out at launch or in the months after. Second, 16-bit consoles were just around the corner, and the Nintendo and Sega marketing juggernauts were beginning to spend a lot of money. Thirdly, by the time the SNES and Megadrive (Genesis) actually hit town, the Amstrad *still* had only a handful of games.

    Commodore also released a console version of its 8-bit C64 in Europe, suffered more or less an identical fate.

  34. XsTatiC says:

    This is great. I’d put it right up there with your Pikachu Meets Lolita ( http://blog.wired.com/tableofmalcontents/2007/02/erratic_thought_15.html ) and your Hanah Stuart interview ( http://kotaku.com/gaming/halo/feature-hanah-stuart-halo-violinist-202978.php ).

    Well done.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Wii isn’t the worst console I enjoy it more then my Gamecube and N64 combined which is saying something cause I enjoyed those consoles alot and I also enjoy other consoles like PS2 and PS3 which
    I can play at my friends house.I mean I really enjoyed my N64 and Gamecube but I enjoy my Wii more so screw you fanboys Wii shouldn’t be worst console.

  36. Joel Johnson says:

    Credit where credit is due. Ryan Ash had a couple of real winning lines: “You could say they top the Vietnam War, but you won’t.”

    “The N-Gage had nothing going for it for one sole reason: it’s a fucking phone.”

    I mean, come on! Those are great. I think the kid’s got potential. A few sessions with Mrs. B and I think he’ll be cranking out some gems.

  37. Anonymous says:

    Man… I am about to launch a site and…some of the writers submitting stuff for consideration… well lets just say, they and teh writer may come from the same school of writing.

    “Shit shit shit shit shitty shit shit”

    You guys are going to make our friends list for this.

    – The Gamer Studio

  38. Anonymous says:

    You guys come off as total pedantic assholes.

  39. mark zero says:

    Is it wrong that the only thing I cared about was making sure none of mine were on the list? :)

  40. jennfrank says:

    “CITE,” “Histrionic,” and especially “‘It’s a game console,’ perhaps?” made me stop reading and keel over.

  41. Agies says:

    #17 The original author had nothing to support the inclusion of the Wii on the list. He treats the Nintendo franchises (Mario & Zelda) with reverence in previous entries and then says that Nintendo is doing the “same old shit”. Also apparently we are being fed “trite”. I wonder what that tastes like…

    Generally speaking, sales are a good way to determine the success of a console. Since the Wii continues to sell like crazy it’s very hard to call it the “worst console of all time”.

  42. GUS says:

    OH MY GOD HE CALLED SUPER MARIO WORLD SUPER MARIO “LAND” THOSE GAMES ARE NOTHING ALIKE. THE LATTER IS FOR THE GAMEBOY!

  43. Vveneziani says:

    Joel,

    You should be ashamed of yourself! Look at this:

    Something sublime. Something that nuzzled itself in the hollow of our bile duct and wouldn’t stop roiling.

    ROILING? Are you trying to roil down the street in my low rider?

    All in all, I love what you guys did. The war death tolls vs. Sonic is priceless. Keep up the good work.

    -Vince V.

  44. Anonymous says:

    The Vectrex had a “most unqiue” feature? MOST UNQIUE?? That’s double-dipping the abuse of the English language, right there.

  45. chef says:

    Awesome – thanks for putting it all up here so I don’t have to give them hits – the Wii is total flame/hit-bait.

  46. Dustin Driver says:

    Wait, would this qualify for an epic fail?

  47. Smurf says:

    You missed at least one “it’s” that should’ve been an “its”, a mistake that’s become so ubiquitous these days that we tend to notice when that’s done correctly. ☹

  48. penelopejonze says:

    People across the room keep asking me what the hell I’m laughing at. This is incredible.

    The calls for citation, quotes about profanity and the “Argument from Photo Layout” are perfect and I love the “SEE ME” at the end. I’ve always hated getting that back on papers. The coffee rings and cigarette burns (?) are also hilarious.

  49. Dito says:

    Every once in a while, I think to myself, “I should start a blog; I’ve got things I’d like to say.” Then I read something like this post and immediately scrap the idea. This was genius. Sheer fucking genius.

  50. Anonymous says:

    That was just beautiful. Thank you Mrs Buttermer. Thank you so much.

  51. License Farm says:

    You know what’s really crazy? I own and love a Lynx and yet I was still expecting it to be on the list. Of course, it was the only one of the 1st wave of portable game systems that was in full color, so perhaps one of the lesser systems that trailed the Gameboy should be added.

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