Whether it’s a PlayStation 5 or a second-hand Switch, chances are, you’ve encountered a convincing bit of hardware somewhere along the line. And, frustratingly, we’ve all felt that sudden bolt of excitement as we’ve clocked the reduced price tags, too. Sort of like stumbling upon the bargain of the decade, the console urges for us to take the plunge and pick it up while the offer still stands. Only, as we edge closer to the checkouts — we start to question the absurd price and its origins. And that’s when we notice it: the wonky PlayStation logo and the miscoloured buttons sprawled out on the controller. It’s not a PS5, is it? It’s a knock-off.
Over the years, crafty companies have tried to replicate every best-selling bit of kit and replaster it on the web at reduced prices. Of course, in no way shape or form does it live up to the same expectations as the original hardware, and, nine times out of ten it’s usually packed out with “hundreds of games” rather than actually known titles. But that’s essentially a fancy way of saying “Snake and other irrelevant retro games” as a way to help sway the transaction towards a quick sale. Luckily for us, however, we’re usually quick to clock the scheme and back out. That being said, these five definitely almost had us spiralling down the rabbit hole for a moment.
When you can’t decide whether to pursue the Sony or the Microsoft look — why not just combine the two together? Surely, that wouldn’t look ridiculous, right? Right? Wrong. It does look rather ridiculous, though we can’t fault this Chinese developer for at least trying to clash the two rival platforms together. But come on, at least fuse a little originality into the hardware rather than point-blank mapping every square detail of the console and controller altogether. Like, really?
Although the OUYE gained some attention during the early development stages, it’s unclear whether or not it made it to the market. Though, with the blatant Sony and Microsoft references plastered all over the kit, it wouldn’t surprise me if the overly ambitious OUYE never produced a single unit. One thing is for sure: both tech giants aren’t overly keen on others using their ideas. Nice try, though. Zero points for creativity. Ten points for laziness.
4. Nanica Smitch
You know when you used to ask your parents for ice cream but they’d always tell you that there were choc ices in the freezer instead? Well, the Nanica Smitch is basically the counterpart of one of those tasteless freezer treats. It has the appearance of ice cream, and it even radiates the same scent as proper ice cream. But is it a real ice cream? No, no it isn’t. It’s worthless. It’s a choc ice, people. The Nanica Smitch is a friggin’ choc ice.
It’s almost a worry knowing that this blatant Nintendo Switch ripoff actually made it to the market, to be honest. Sure, with an enormous catalogue of 800 games pre-installed into the kit, it clearly had its charming qualities that could quite easily sway any oblivious parent. But with that in mind, once the colours are swept away and the hardware is scrutinized, what you’re really left with is a cheap $50 knock-off with 800 stolen ROMS installed on it. Not exactly the perfect Christmas gift, is it? Saying that, I suppose it all depends on the recipient, right?
3. Nintendo Switch Vita
Over the past few years, we’ve heard all kinds of rumors about upcoming portable devices. Microsoft, for example. Did you know that the Xbox was due to develop a handheld console with the same features as the Xbox One? No? Well, neither did we until an “insider” decided to start testing our patience over the idea. However, among all of these wild rumors, nothing quite hit our nerves as much as the forbidden clash of the Switch and the Vita. Like that would ever happen, right?
While we’d love nothing more than to dabble in both the Sony world and the Nintendo one on a single little console, the Switch Vita most definitely doesn’t support that sort of ground. In fact, it hardly supports anything at all — as it really is just a piece of plastic with half the features to boot. Plus, despite its blatant Switch and Vita influences, the knockoff console doesn’t actually support either type of games. It does, however, play Game Boy Advance titles, as well as the odd retro hit. I’ll let you decide whether or not that’s worth the $40 price tag.
2. PolyStation 1
There’s no hiding the fact that the PlayStation 1 lit the way for thousands of other ambitious designers around the world. It was not only a conveniently sized machine that could almost fit in your back pocket (bearing in mind that everybody wore oversized jeans back in 2000) but it was also a neat bit of hardware that would go on to revolutionize next-level gaming. Only, by doing so only opened a doorway to cheap knockoffs in search of a quick buck. Just take this one, for example.
The PolyStation has been ripping off Sony for decades now. And yet, despite the blatant piracy, the Chinese company that develops the hilarious knockoffs have become the laughing stock of the gaming community. From replicating the PlayStation hardware to toying with the logo, implementing Famicom cartridge slots to pop-out LCD screens that just about run the earliest versions of Snake. It’s all there, and I don’t think Sony, Microsoft, or any tech giant it has ripped off over the years even cares about the infamous PolyStation or its cheap clones, either. They just sort of, well — exist in their own universe.
As if stealing the overall design of the Nintendo Wii wasn’t enough, right? Now, even the catalogue of well-respected games has been blown out of proportion, too. WiNi Sports? Seriously? As if that could ever sell to anyone in their right minds. Well, it just so happens that it did. A lot. And that’s not the only issue here. It also turns out that the infamous WiNi also went on to promote several other rip-off versions of the Wii essentials.
From bowling to baseball, archery to javelin, and everything in-between — the WiNi truly did capture the Wii rather sneakily. However, what you won’t find on the knockoff console is, well — real games. Instead, you’re left with 48 pre-loaded TV games that any casual gamer would grow weary of after fifteen seconds or so. But then, for $20, perhaps that’s a deal worth making? I mean, it could be a cheap stocking filler for Christmas? That is if you don’t mind the cheap design and watered-down physics.