Follow TV Tropes


Awesome But Impractical / Systems And Accessories

Go To

  • Metal Dance Dance Revolution pads are vastly more durable compared to soft pads. They don't slip, rip, or fold, they don't break easily, and you can use your shoes on them. However, they cost hundreds of US dollars. Worse, they're even more unstable than soft pads, as dancing frantically (especially on higher difficulty DDR songs) has a tendency to make the board wobble all over the place. You'll have to bolt it to something else or elevate the entire pad to make it stable. And if you need to move it around, it's a lot harder to carry and takes up a lot more space than the soft pads, a real deal-breaker if you're using it in small spaces. For the cost, it's far cheaper to just buy a soft pad... or, you know, practice on a real DDR machine in an arcade.
  • Virtual Reality. Once a distant dream limited to Sci-Fi stories, advances in technology have led it to becoming a real thing. Unfortunately, it's still got many issues to iron out. Older attempts at VR were even worse:
    • The Nintendo Virtual Boy. The mechanism used to generate the video game image is cool when you think about it. It works like a supermarket scanner, except on your eyes, and without a laser. However, many players reported it hurt their eyes and head. Worse, the Virtual Boy came on a stand and had no headband, so finding a comfortable position to actually play any games was difficult.
    • Sega had their own VR system planned, and unlike the Virtual Boy, it was capable of displaying games in full color; unfortunately, the test results determined that the device could cause headaches and other potential injuries, so Sega decided against releasing it.
    • Although there have been many advances in virtual reality to the point where there are more successful VR devices like Steam VR and Sony's PSVR, many gamers still feel that while they obviously provide a fantastic sensory experience, there's relatively very little that they achieve in terms of gameplay, especially given the cost. If you just wanna play Touhou or a Fighting Game, there's practically zero point in VR gaming. Additionally, even with the improvements in VR technology, many players still get motion sickness and eye pain from VR.
  • Extremely high resolution on PC games. Sure, you're outputting your game at 4k resolution and have visuals that would make fantastic wallpapers, but it means nothing if your PC can't even run the game at more than 30 frames per second, and in games that are very action-intensive and rely on split-second decisions, it's far more useful to use a lower resolution that achieves 60 frames per second instead.
    • Playing older games with scalable resolutions at 4K often come with UI scaling issues, so vital information like health are now squeezed into the corners of the screen as they are hard coded to only take a certain amount of pixels.
    • Likewise, the trend toward consoles able to output 4K resolutions sounds pretty on paper, but to actually reap the benefits you'll need a TV that can actually display 4K, which might cost more than the system and games combined.
  • The add-ons for the Sega Genesis, the Sega CD and the Sega 32X. The wonders of improved graphics, CD-level sound and bigger space to make games with were the selling points. It also made the thing look incredibly clunky, and each one required its own power supply. That's right - if you wanted to play all three of these systems, you'd better have a surge protector.
    • Generally speaking, this was practically Sega's modus operandi; their consoles tended to favor the use of tech that was often ahead of its time to the point of being unrealistic in a money-making sense. This was especially true of their many, many attempts at making headway into online gaming well before the audience at large was really ready to make decent use of it, only finally succeeding with the Dreamcast and Phantasy Star Online - and even then, it was crippled by its built-in modem that wouldn't have carried it very far with the onset of much faster speeds.
    • Advertisement:
    • Probably the biggest example of this trope and Sega is the Sega Nomad. Playing the Sega Genesis on the go, what could be better? However, despite this, things worked against it. The LCD screen that displayed the games could blur should there be fast scrolling (a bad thing considering Sega's famous blue mascot), drained batteries faster than the infamously-battery-hungry Game Gear (Game Gear's batteries could last 3-5 hours. Nomad? Only 2-3. And both used six AA batteries), couldn't use a separate controller to play one-player games (it had a built-in controller port, but since a controller was already built into the main design, a separate controller plugged into that port would invariably be player two) and no reset button, which made certain games Unwinnable by Mistake.
  • Many early color-screen handheld systems such as the Atari Lynx and the Game Gear, due to requiring a backlight and a large number of batteries, and even then will often run for 5 hours or less before requiring battery replacements. This is why Nintendo held off on making a system with a color screen until 1998 (Game Boy Color) and one with a built-in light until 2003 (Game Boy Advance SP).
  • The osu! keyboard, a two-key mechanical keyboard designed exclusively for playing osu!. It looks pretty, but it costs 40 USD, i.e. $20 per key. For the price of three or even just two of these controllers, you can get a full-sized mechanical keyboard that has 50 times more keys and can be used for a much larger variety of games.
  • "AAA" PC games are heading into this with ever-increasing system requirements. They require large amounts of memory and discrete video cards, which eliminates most laptops and tablets that are being favored for hardware purchases. This has given a boost to indie games, which tend to have much lower requirements.
    • Hardware makers are trying to fight this by providing budget laptops and even CPUs with more powerful GPUs. AMD has released several of their Ryzen CPUs with GPUs capable of running AAA at low settings, while Intel has announced they are releasing CPUs with similarly powerful GPUs in the nearish future.
    • AAA games have been reported by developers as being extremely taxing and expensive to work on, having to put so much effort into visuals for a game that could've been made ten years ago with only slightly less impressive graphics but with (in most cases, anyway) the same gameplay and a much more feasible budget and workload.
  • The Nintendo Gamecube was originally intended to support 3D graphics. The reason this feature was abandoned was because the component that allowed it was so expensive at the time that it was completely unfeasible.
  • Nintendo 3DS
    • The 3D feature. While it gives 3D without the need for glasses, it drains the battery life much faster than normal, can be disorientating if not viewed at the right angle, and just plain hurts the eyes of some people. This has led to the creation of the Nintendo 2DS and New Nintendo 2DS, cheaper models that lack the 3D function, and most of the games released later in the system's lifespan just don't use 3D at all.
    • The New 3DS system has the ability to wirelessly transfer images and video from the SD card to a computer. This sounds great, but it is slow and not all the data can arrive. It also relies on an older version of the protocol that modern operating systems don't support. What is really odd is the old version has a much better way to do this; unlike the New 3DS, the SD card can be easily taken out of its slot while you need to dismantle the New 3DS to get its SD card.
  • The was the first handheld system to use both a touch screen and stylus, long before the Nintendo DS, as well as the first system in general to incorporate rudimentary Internet functionality. However, the touch screen technology wasn't very impressive, and the Internet functionality negated its use as a portable device, since you had to physically hook it up to a modem in your house. As The Angry Video Game Nerd in his review noted, you could use it to read your email... or you could just use the home computer, which likely had far better graphics anyways.
  • The Playstation Vita was Awesome, but Impractical in a few ways, leading to poor market performance and its eventual demise:
    • One reason why it bombed was, ironically, its superior graphical power. It was nearly on par with the PlayStation 3, and miles stronger than its competitor, the Nintendo 3DS - but one of the advantages to being a handheld is that their lower specs mean having to allocate less of a game's budgets towards its graphics, leading to them usually being cheaper to make and to purchase. The PS Vita was so powerful that development costs for it weren't far behind home consoles if one wanted to take advantage of its full capabilities, which caused the smaller devs that'd normally be on board with such a system to refuse to bite. The larger studios that could afford to make Vita games, on the other hand, preferred to stick with their home turf of console games, at most giving Vita projects to their B-team. This eventually created a negative feedback loop: with so few games being made for the system, not many consumers were interested in buying a Vita, and with so few Vitas being sold, not many developers were interested in taking a risk and making games for it. By the end of the Vita's lifespan, most of the releases on the console were ports, either of indie games that didn't truly take advantage of the console's impressive specs, or of JRPGs that appealed mostly to the small niche of players who already owned a Vita.
    • The OLED screen on the original model PS Vita. It provided beautiful colors, and drained the battery in only about four and a half hours. For comparison, the later "slim" model uses an LCD screen, and the battery lasts a full two hours longer.
  • Those jumbo arcade cabinets that frequently appear at many corporate-chain arcades look great and flashy, and often have control gimmicks that cannot be replicated at home without a hefty investment. However, the games produced for them often don't have much in the way of replay value or depth, and they often cost more than other arcade games, both to operators that purchase them and customers; whereas $1.00-1.50 (before bulk credit purchase discounts at certain arcades) is standard price for a credit on standard-sized cabs for racing games, gun games, rhythm games, etc., these games can easily cost two or even three dollars per credit, on top of the fact that these games are already very Nintendo Hard and will force a continue screen on a casual player in about 2-3 minutes.
  • The Atari Jaguar, Atari's last home console, was heavily promoted as the first "64-bit" gaming console. However, the console lacked a true 64-bit processing unit. Instead, it contained two processing units which theoretically could work together to do 64-bit calculations. The problem is that this multi-processor setup was difficult to code games for, and most developers exclusively used the Jaguar's weaker Motorola 68000 16-bit processor, the same processor as the Sega Genesis. Atari's obsession with making a 64-bit machine was misguided, as later game consoles like the Playstation 2 used 32-bit processors, with 64-bit ones only truly taking off, at least for the purposes of gaming, at the start of The New '10s.
  • Using the LAN adapter for Mario Kart: Double Dash!! is the only way to be able to play with more than four players. Theoretically, you can have up to sixteen players all playing at once, but it requires having several Gamecubes, controllers, copies of the game, and TV screens on hand to take advantage of the whole thing. Aside from organized events and homebrew software made to play the game online, no one ever took advantage of the LAN features for the game.
  • Similarly, a lot of PS1 and PS2 games have multiplayer that requires linking two of the same console, two televisions, and enough space to support both. Awesome, you and your opponent have an entire screen to themselves! Given that the average user won't happen to have two TVs and two of the same system next to each other, this often means having to do a lot of heavy lifting just so you can play, say, Destruction Derby or Time Crisis 3note  with your sibling or a friend who's coming over.
  • The Neo Geo AES shows that yes, you could have Arcade-Perfect Ports in a home system in The '90s. Unfortunately, during the Neo Geo's prime, conventional home console technology still had a ways to go to be caught up with arcade game technology, resulting in game cartridges costing hundreds of dollars each; in other words, for the price of one game, you could purchase an entire game console or two!
  • Ultimately one of the factors in what killed the Wii U, among other things. On paper, it was basically a DS/3DS as a console. While the two screens and touch screen formula worked incredibly well for the previous two, it turned out to be more cumbersome for the latter, as having to keep track of two screens that aren't on top of each other is much more difficult than you'd think. And while being able to play off-screen is neat, the very short range the tablet having to be next to the console makes it rather pointless anyway. Combined with the monster of a controller that was the tablet itself, the selling point of the console just wasn't very worthwhile in many people's eyes.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: