Collecting is a great hobby that can encompass so much. When I was a kid I was basically a rock nerd and then I became an actual nerd. That is to say, I started collecting games and related game memorabilia. I still get my kicks with rocks sometimes though. There's something just so natural about them, which I realize is an obvious statement. Anyway, collecting games can get pricey especially if you're looking into older stuff. The one thing that can be even more expensive is console collecting. First of all, before this article I knew about several special editions of consoles. I own several. I have the Darth Vader white PSP, the white Destiny PS4, and the New 2DS XL Pokéball edition. I did not, however, know there were so many out there I never knew about. Hundreds!
This started as finding the worst of the worst and the best of the best, but it then led me down a long rabbit hole of research into other stuff. I could fill several articles with my findings, but for this one, we're going to start with a very simple concept. A lot of these, good and bad, were made specifically for contests. I'm curious if any of you readers own the special ones, or maybe have a relative that does. If I'm wiring about something you own, again specifically the contest ones, let me know. I'm fascinated to learn more. Anyway, enjoy this retro trip down console lane and good luck on eBay after this because I know you're going there.
29 Worst: Gold Wii
The story of the gold Wii, that’s 24K just as an FYI, is crazy. So THQ heard that Queen Elizabeth II liked the Wii, so in a marketing stunt they made this special Wii for the Royal Family along with their upcoming game, Big Family Games. While it was sent to the palace, it never got signed for so it was sent back to THQ. An employee then sold it, but you can read the full story here. Personally, I think it’s ugly and tacky as heck and probably runs terribly what with the gold and all.
28 Worst: Dragon Quest Metal Slime PS4
This was a Japanese exclusive bundle that came with a silver PS4, Dragon Quest Heroes, and a Liquid Slime Figure. So no, the console doesn’t have that thing melted on it. The only thing notable about the console otherwise is a white Slime on the console itself and the controller, which is a pretty minimal change. I mean It’s just a gray and white console variation with a goopy figure and a subpar game. Pretty obvious why this one didn’t cross over to the West.
27 Best: Shadow of the Tomb Raider Xbox One X
Just to clarify, this is an Xbox One X and one worth owning. This thing looks amazing. The game of which it is based is not very good, but hey, I would have loved to win this. So, only three of these were made.
A console better than the game itself.
One for the Extra Life charity, which was bid on for $5001, a hilarious number I might add. The second you had to enter a lottery to win and the third was made for a separate giveaway award. And I missed all three chances, dang!
26 Worst: Team Jordan Formula One PlayStation
If the gaudy console art wasn’t an obvious giveaway, this was made as a racing tie-in. Team Jordan is a Formula One racer, again, duh. This console was given away in a drawing back in 1997, but apparently, according to Consolevariations, there were more made. The rumor was about ten, which is way more than zero, the amount that should have been made. I can't believe this was in Europe because it looks more like an American, NASCAR thing or knock-off trash.
25 Worst: Tommy Hilfiger GBC
Nothing says children playing video games like Tommy Hilfiger. That’s a joke, obviously, because what the heck. Unlike a lot of these, this was not a prize. Not many were made, but they were readily available at the time of launch, but only sold in Tommy Hilfiger stores. I mean who is this console for? Was it meant to be a bargain for kids, grandma’s forcing their grandchildren to go shopping, only to have this prize be at the end? The whole thing is very strange.
24 Best: Divers 2000 CX-1Sega Dreamcast
This was another Japanese exclusive console. You can’t really tell from this front picture, but the TV has a tail, or more like a curve at the end to mirror Sonic the Hedgehog. If it wasn’t obvious, this Fuji TV has a Dreamcast built into it.
Now that's the ultimate pack-in.
It also came with a green, see-through controller, remote, keyboard, and the Dreameye. The one thing I couldn't find was the cost, but it was retail available. It may look a bit, uh, bulky, as is the name, but I like the idea. I want one!
23 Worst: Tribal Silver GBA SP
Nothing says early 2000s like tribal tattoos. Ugh, what a horrible trend. Thankfully, I wasn't old enough to get a tattoo at the height of these things otherwise I may have somehow winded up with one. Not because I had insight enough back then to avoid this piece of junk. It's just a silver Game Boy Advance SP with a dumb symbol on it. It is the epitome of trying too hard to be cool. I hope these things are all burned now.
22 Worst: Assassin’s Creed III Xbox 360
This Xbox 360 was a cross-promotion between Facebook and Bing. If you entered the contest you could be one of five "lucky" enough to win this custom console. Here's the thing though. At the time, I bet I would have been excited to get an Assassin’s Creed III Xbox 360 because the game looked promising. Now that the game has been out, well, in hindsight, I would be pretty embarrassed to have this on my shelf. What a pity.
21 Best: Yakuza 5 PS3 Slim
This PS3 Slim was released at retail for Japan only. It's themed after Yakuza 5 if you couldn't tell with the golden symbols standing in for the game's clans. Now there's nothing incredibly striking about, but I like it because there's also nothing too flashy about it.
I love goooold.
Well, it does have a gold controller, which I guess is a bit more elaborate, but I think overall this is a classy package for Yakuza fans. It was a nice sendoff for the series on PS3.
20 Worst: “This Is Cool” Sega Saturn
You read that title correctly folks. The name of this exclusive Sega Saturn console for Japan and South America is called the "This is cool" edition. First of all, you can't just claim to be cool. That's a bit ignorant if you ask me. Maybe this was a misprint and it was supposed to say, "this is clear," because it is. I mean visually it looks fine and isn't ugly in any way. I do think it's still great to make fun if for the title though.
19 Best: Pokémon World Championship Nintendo DSi
These were given away at the 2009 Pokémon World Championships, if the name wasn’t obvious enough. You didn’t even have to win, as there were 102 of these.
Cool blue and a surfing Pikachu.
You just needed to get into finalist positions so it’s not as cool as being like the top tier prize for being the very best like no one ever was, but it’s still a really beautiful piece of hardware. Next best thing to having real Pokémon…maybe.
18 Worst: Final Fantasy XII PS2 Slim
This was another Japanese exclusive. The bundle came with the PS2 Slim with Final Fantasy XII's emblem imprinted on it along with the game, which is a nice symbol I will say. So what's my beef with this system? For a special edition, it's just too plain. I mean the logo isn't even another color. It's black on black! Granted the symbol is raised so it does stand out a little, but this feels like zero effort went into this.
17 Worst: Final Fantasy XV Xbox One
The PS2 Slim Final Fantasy XII bundle was lame, but this Xbox One cross-promotion with Final Fantasy XV is downright ugly. Just look at all those clashing colors! Who designed this? Insults aside, this system was given away via a Twitter contest. All you had to do was retweet the official Xbox account with this link, and you'd get entered for a chance to win this one-of-a-kind console. Contestants could also win Xbox Live gift cards as consolation prizes, which I think was a better deal.
16 Best: Star Wars Xbox 360
At this point in the Xbox 360 life cycle, these things were pretty cheap. I was barely scraping by in college so there was no way I could afford one, but this exclusive almost had me take out a loan. It was retail available so it wasn't that rare, but it is now.
The force is strong with this Xbox.
The console looked like R2-D2, it even made his noises, and the controller looked like C-3P0. The Game did not interest me, but the gimmick sure did.
15 Worst: Panasonic Q Nintendo GameCube
This looks like one of two things. One, a GameCube someone modded themselves. Two, a fake console you'd see in some sitcom TV show. I assure you this is very real. It was available at retail in Japan only. It was designed as a cross promotion between Panasonic and Nintendo. Besides all the odd buttons, this thing could play DVDs and GameCube games, which is cool since the PS2 and Xbox could as well. My only question is why did it have to look like this?
14 Worst: Marlboro Atari Lynx
Did you grow up with smokers in your family? I did so I know all about the promotion on the back of Marlboro cigarette packs and cartoons. If you collected enough points you could send them in for prizes like jackets, hats, bags, and so on. Well if you couldn't guess with that setup, this Atari Lynx was a prize you could win with enough Marlboro points. I think it's pretty clear why this disgusts me. I'm at least happy this was in Germany only.
13 Best: Marvel's Spider-Man PS4 Pro
I bought the white PS4 that came with Destiny back in 2014. It's still running fine, but there have been quite a few games that have been really pushing that coolant system this year like God of War.
If I could turn back time...
While I'm happy with my normal PS4, I will say this PS4 Pro bundle with Marvel's Spider-Man had me super close to caving. Now that I bought a 4K TV over Black Friday I'm even more regretful now. That white and red coloring just pop so beautifully.
12 Worst: Hello Kitty Xbox
The Playboy Xbox was embarrassing in one context, but I think I would be even shyer to own this thing. It was a Singapore exclusive and Hello Kitty is huge over there. Here's where it gets weird. In order to buy one of these, you had to also purchase a TV. Not just any TV either. The equivalent to the price in North America was about $5000. That's just for the TV too! What were they charging for the consoles?
11 Worst: Madden Gras PS3
I love puns, but this is the worst. Madden Gras, really? Well if you want some history to why this tie-in with Mardi Gras is significant, it's because the New Orleans Saints were on the cover for Madden NFL 10. This console was made as a collaboration between Facebook and EA Sports. Fifty "lucky" contestants got to walk away with this console and a copy of the game. I have nothing against the color purple, but that is a glitter nightmare. If you’re curious I found a news clip online.
10 Best: Pokéball New Nintendo 2DS XL
I'm not often one to upgrade my systems for two reasons that sort of tie in together. One, most of the systems I buy last a long time. Two, who has the money to sink into multiple consoles of the same thing?
I'm addicted to the 3DS.
That being said I was bad with the 3DS. I bought a launch system, then upgraded to a 3DS XL, and I caved once more last summer when this came out. That button does nothing, but I still love pressing it!
9 Worst: Red Bull PSP 1000
There are actually two versions of this cross-promotion between Sony and Red Bull. This one is for Europe and there's a similar one for North America as well. So what's up with this thing? No idea. One can assume it was for a contest, but for all my research everyone that owns the system has no idea where it came from other than it was for a giveaway and is indeed official. Officially lame that is. Boom! I gave that zinger some wings.
8 Worst: ElectroPlankton DS
This is Toshio Iwai’s personal DS, aka only one was made. He made it in celebration of his game’s release, ElectroPlankton. It’s hard to see in the picture, but those are actual holes he carved and drilled into the DS. Who is Toshio Iwai? Eh, he’s basically a Japanese artist and musician. That’s the best way I can describe him. You can read all about this exhibit when it debuted in Japan back in 2005. What a weird launch event for a DS game.
7 Best: World of Final Fantasy PS Vita Slim
Sigh, yet another Japanese exclusive. For the PS Vita I understand though because like the PSP, the system didn't sell great outside of its homeland. There's nothing crazy about this model either. It's white and has a few gold etchings of World of Final Fantasy's characters. Same with the black version.
Better than Pokémon.
A little goes a long way in my book if you couldn't tell from my previous posts already. On a somewhat related note, if you haven't played this game on the Vita, or PS4, or the more recent Xbox One port, get on it!
6 Worst: Pikachu Nintendo 64
Part of me actually likes this N64. The Pikachu model is actually pretty good even though he looks a little lopsided and melted on the console. Another thing I can point out is that the plastic is too high, which is to say Pikachu is too big, overshadowing the console itself. It's a gimmick and one I'm sure sold hundreds of units. If I was itching for an N64 back then I'm sure I would have been dumb enough to ask for this version too.
5 Worst: Pepsi Max Xbox 360
Like the Red Bull contest, there's not much known for this UK giveaway. Apparently, the event was called "Crash for kicks" but again no one knows what that entailed. I assume people had to crush large amounts of Pepsi Max cans by driving into them. Whatever the case, the idea of a Pepsi Max Xbox 360 console had my editor in tears. If I can make him laugh with just the words "Pepsi Max Xbox 360," then I think my case is already proven.
4 Best: 20th Anniversary GBA Micro
I know what you're thinking. Wait a minute. You're putting a version of the Game Boy Advance Micro on the positive list? What gives? That thing is too tiny to play!
Sometimes smaller is better.
Well, friends, it may be a weird pick, but I actually like the novelty of the system. It is much more compact than any Game Boy system before, or after. It's a true portable and yes, it actually works rather well. I will say my vision is great and I have small hands so maybe that's something.
3 Worst: Let's Go Eevee/Pikachu Switch
I'm not a huge fan of either of these two games, but they do not offend me. They're fun and I think great for younger gamers, or parents trying to get their kids into games. The co-op works great for that. What I won't condone is this Switch bundle. The coloration is just weird for the Joy-Cons. Who wants to play with a poopy brown controller? Together, yellow and brown is just the worst combo. Also, Nintendo, start coloring the entire dock!
2 Worst: Game Of Thrones Xbox One X
No, that picture isn't blurry. The console just looks like that. Something about the wavy grit on the console just makes everything around it seem off. It's like some sort of peanut butter, chocolate thing melted all over it and then someone grafted a handle on the top because they liked the GameCube. This was a Twitter contest in France. If you tweeted anything with #XboxLovesGoT in it then you'd be entered. Six were made and given away with the first five seasons of Game of Thrones on Blu-ray, which is something at least.
1 Best: Sony PSX DESR-7000
I am so glad I wrote this article for one reason and one reason only. Back when I was in High School and the Official PlayStation Magazine was still around I remember reading about the PSX.
Move over TiVo!
Basically, it's a PS2 built into a DVR, which I thought was a sweet idea at the time. DVRs were still pretty new and expensive to boot. Well, I forgot all about it because I thought it was a scrapped prototype. Nope, there were multiple models released in Japan. Dang it! I still want one.