Sega Neptune

Numerous complaints arose after the Sega 32x's release.  Chiefly these complaints centered on alleged mechanical problems between the 32X and the Genesis, incompatibilities with some TVs, and the $150 price tag of an upgrade perceived to become obsolete within a few months.  To address these complaints, Sega announced the Neptune, which would combine a Sega Genesis and Sega 32X together into a single unit, and would retail at $200.  Fans reacted positively to this news; not only would this new console be likely to suffer less mechanical issues, it would provide an affordable alternative to buying the Genesis and 32X as two stand-alone units.  Its release as a new console also seemed to assure that it would remain a viable platform for a longer period of time, a fear that was brought to light when the Sega Saturn debuted in Japan the same month as the 32X's release in the United States.

However, it was not to be.  Developers were rapidly abandoning the 32X in favor of developing titles for the "true" 32-bit consoles, and the Sega Saturn had debuted in America before the Neptune could hit shelves.  Sega saw no sense in having the quickly-forgotten 32X compete with the Saturn, so the Neptune launch was cancelled.

At least one developer held out hope for the system, though; Darxide, written by David Braben of Frontier Developments (co-writer of the PC classic Elite), was intended as a launch title for the Neptune.  The game still saw release, but only in Europe, and only in very limited quantities.  For these reasons it's now a highly sought collector's item, seen going for as much as $1,100 USD on eBay.

Two prototypes of the system are known to be in circulation, though neither actually works; they're just empty cases without the actual hardware.  It's unlikely that the hardware was ever made for the system, judging from how quickly it was cancelled after its announcement.

©2007 Spoony