The history of gaming is littered with failed consoles. Some deserved better (Saturn) while others are a total mystery as to how it was ever supposed to succeed (Virtual Boy), but the Nuon was an interesting idea that never stood a chance. The system was designed to be included in the hardware of a standard DVD players so you could have a console that was a secondary perk of media player, which ended up being exactly backwards to what people actually wanted. As the PS2 proved what consumers were looking for was a gaming system that played DVDs, although having a hugely recognizable brand going into its second generation of hardware may have helped just a bit. Even the weirdest failure of a console gets at least a couple of interesting games in its library, and while the Nuon’s big claim to fame was Tempest 3000 it also had an oddball action title in Freefall 3050AD.
Freefall 3050AD puts you in the suit of a Drop Cop, plummeting through the hearts of the massive towers that house humanity in the far-flung future to apprehend the lawbreaking scum inside. While deeply impractical from a law enforcement perspective it’s still a fun concept, especially seeing as the passageways are lined with defenses like lasers, drones, plasma walls, and plenty of other obstacles to put the wingsuit’s airbrakes to the test. I actually have a copy of this in my collection and can say that, with no worries the distant past has clouded my judgement, it was a game that existed. I think I played it maybe twice back in the day but the poor thing was a victim of its console and the year of release, with muddy textures, awkward controls, and a limited view distance. Those are all about to be problems of the past, though, thanks to the pending Steam release of Freefall 3050AD on January 24. The textures are sharper, framerate smoother, and draw distance pushed out to a respectable distance. It should be a lot of fun to see how the game has aged, but at the very least it’s great to see a title lost to obscurity made available again.