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Infamous Phantom vaporware console is headed to auction

Vintage gaming auctions hawking more and more obscure retro tat have become increasingly prevalent in recent years, to the point where many have begun to be skeptical about the market. Industry analysts and insiders have cast shadows of doubt on the legitimacy of these operations. What exactly is being pushed on consumers here? Are products having their value inflated to absurd degrees to squeeze cash from unsuspecting collectors? Well, after today’s story, your suspicions are 100% not going to have been quashed, because it concerns yet another such auction – this time offering up something that never even worked in the first place. I think my wallet just reflexively shriveled in fear.

As InputMag reports, the overpriced detritus on the bidding block for this occasion is “an extremely rare prototype of a failed, relatively obscure console system from the mid-2000s.” If that doesn’t get you hyped up to slap down thousands of dollars, then boy howdy, I don’t know what will. It’s called the Phantom, and it was “a console teased for years by the now-defunct Infinium Entertainment. First revealed in 2002, the Phantom promised a bit more than it could actually deliver at the time,” which of course is a habit the industry can’t quite seem to kick.

Look at it. It looks like some loony uncle’s 2000s alarm clock.

The Phantom’s downfall proved to be its overambition; or, more specifically, its getting utterly carried away in its own ludicrously overheated marketing hype. Instead of the era’s standard game cartridges and discs, Infinium “touted the Phantom’s reliance on actually downloading games onto its onboard memory via high-speed internet connections, something that was pretty revolutionary at the time, and which of course is now totally standard.” Couple decades too early there, then, lads.

As anyone with any knowledge of early 2000s tech will be aware, this kind of loadout just wasn’t feasible at the time, and so the Phantom, living up to its name, failed to materialize into any corporeal form for nearly 20 years. However, this auction purports to have dug the system from its grave like some kind of especially white and sleek Frankenstein’s monster, so if you fancy one on your shelf – and having to spend the rest of eternity explaining to others what the hell it is – then go ahead and grab your bidding slips, ya loons.

If nothing else, this little bit of vaporware makes for an amusing history lesson. Just don’t expect to actually be able to play it.

Will you be bidding on the Phantom? Let us know!

Via, Input Mag.

Bobby Mills

Motor-mouthed Brit with a decades long - well, two decades, at least - passion for gaming. Writer, filmmaker, avid lover of birthdays. Still remembers the glory days of ONM. May it rest in peace.
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