Flashback Friday Spotlight: Sega Game Gear
The other day I was at my parents house helping them move into their old place. Like most parents, they still over the years end up holding onto their kids treasures that may have either been left behind or forgotten about. My parents were no exception to that rule. As my mom is gathering some stuff, she says to me to look at the stuff on the table and let me know if I want any of it. Like Indian Jones himself staring down the lost idol, there it was. In all of its glory was my Sega Game Gear with traveling case, games, and other random goodies. Unfortunately for me after I rushed it home and got it plugged it, the screen no longer works. For now its a treasured keep with some curiosity of reviving it back from the dead.
Sega took the world by storm stepping into the world of stunning 8 bit graphics with their handheld gaming system in the early 1990’s. Starting with a 1990 release in Japan, 91 release in the US and finally followed by its 1992 debut in Europe. For a whopping $149.99 USD, you could be the coolest kid on the block with this awesome monstrosity compared to today’s mobile gaming devices. On 6 AA Batteries you could boast a gameplay time of 3-5 hours.
When it came to commercials, they really do not make them these days as awesome as they used to….
Some of the greatest games were brought to life on the 160×144 pixel 32 color screen such as Ecco the Dolphin, Mortal Kombat, NBA Jam, and many others. Do not forget the awesome hard plastic case each cartridge could be stored in. Besides games, the Game Gear was well known for many accessories ranging from a Magnifying lens, Portable TV Tuner so you can watch any OTA Channels, and other such things like portable car charger to keep your gaming strong on those long road trips.
One of the top accessories for the Sega Game Gear was none other then the Game Genie. Having trouble with a level, need more lives, need more money? No Problem! The Game Genie for the Game Gear has got you covered. Another great feature that the Game Gear had was even a mini back door on the unit that would allow you to store all those awesome miniature code books when you couldn’t look them up online because your AOL Dial Up with blazing speed was down while your sister talks to her best friend on the phone.
According to Wikipedia and other sources “Over 300 games were released for the Game Gear, although at the time of the console’s launch, there were only six software titles available. Prices for game cartridges initially ranged from $24.99 to $29.99 each. The casings were molded black plastic with a rounded front to aid in removal. Some titles for the system included Sonic the Hedgehog, The GG Shinobi, Space Harrier, and Land of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse, which was considered the best game for the system by GamesRadar. Later titles took advantage of the success of the Genesis, Sega’s 16-bit video game console, with games released from franchises originally released on the Genesis. A large part of the Game Gear’s library consists of Master System ports. Because of the landscape orientation of the Game Gear’s screen and the similarities in hardware between the handheld console and the Master System, it was easy for developers to port Master System games to the Game Gear“.
These were really the good old days of mobile gaming. Simple, to the point, and hours of fun. Thinking about what mobile gaming is today, its amazing to think that most of us carry around smart phones that not only run a rough average resolution of 1920-by-1080-pixel HD resolution at 401 ppi, host a better battery life for gaming, and let us remote display onto our massive HD Flat TV Screens, but also most of those games are either completely free or a random price range between $.99 and $10-$15 compared to the almost double or triple price that Game Gear games were. Other comparable handheld devices such as the Nintendo DS lineup are fairly comparable in price for games and system cost. Handheld gaming to certain respect of what it used to be will truly never be the same again.