Having briefly reviewed the history of the Game Boy from Nintendo, today we continue with another of that mythical handheld console: the Sega Game Gear. I know many of you like this machine and a few others I did know in the comments of the article on the Game Boy, so here we go.
As in previous posts on consoles your life, my intention is to do a comprehensive study on the portable Sega, but rather give a few hints about the life and miracles of this console.
Game Gear, the first handheld console Sega
Nintendo had released the Game & Watch line to market before the Game Boy, Sega but, instead, landed in the world of laptops directly to their Game Gear. It was in October 1990when the new console saw the light for the first time in Japan and just six months later, on April 91, came to Europe and North America.
Despite hitting the market just a year after the Game Boy, the main difference that the console had regarding Nintendo Sega was its color display. While the Game Boy had to settle for a not too wide range of grays, the Game Gear, which continued to be a Master System portable, following the footsteps of the other two portable color that existed in the market: Atari Lynx and Turbo Express.
Aesthetically also had a very clear difference from the Game Boy. Nintendo machine was vertical, with the screen up and down buttons and the crossheads while the Game Gear betting on the formula used by Atari in its Lynx: display at the center, crosshead left and right buttons.
Game Gear vs. Master System
I said before the Game Gear kept being a Master System in portable version. Logically the screen resolution, as this is 3.2 inches, was less than her sister desktop could reach. In fact the decision of the Game Gear was the same as the one with the Game Boy. That is, 160 × 144 pixels.
In contrast, the portable Sega had a wider color palette than the Master System as well as the possibility of stereo sound through the headphone output. The console from Sega pulled mono signal only.
A part of the facility to make ports of games for the Master System Game Gear, there is an accessory called Master Gear Converter that allows games directly use the home console on the laptop. The format of the Game Gear games, by the way, is also the cartridge. Y is introduced into a slot at the top.
In their guts are exactly the same processors as the Master System carries inside: A Zilog Z80 (8 bits). It has 8 KB of RAM and is capable of simultaneously displaying on the screen 32 of the 4,096 colors available to the console altogether. To play had to put 6 AA batteries or connect to the network through a current transformer.
When we talk about the Game Boy saw a bunch of accessories for the console throughout its history were launched, but I must say that the Game Gear will not just take on added (above I mentioned the Master Gear Converter). Without wishing to review them all, I will mention the two or three that seem most striking.
Certainly one of them is the Game Gear TV tuner, in which, as its name suggests, was nothing more than a TV tuner that could connect to the console using the cartridge slot. Maybe he was not able to provide the best signal, but hey, to watch TV in the console did not seem bad idea.
The other thing I like is the rescue Super Wide Gear. More than anything because of being left with a magnifying glass we could make the small screen of the console to see her enlarged artificially.
Sales and console life cycle
We can say that the Game Gear was not a failure. In fact it was a relatively successful console, although it is true that he was unable to compete with the Game Boy, his main adversary. Yes he ate potatoes to other consoles that tried to be the competence of the DS, selling a total of 11 million units worldwide during its seven-year life.
The main problem that Sega was found was the lack of support by development companies. Not that there were companies interested in launching products for this console, Nintendo just had a much larger number of developers working for the Game Boy Sega could get.
As interesting and curious fact is true that at the beginning of the 90s, many years before Nintendo launched its Nintendo DS market (which happened in 2004), Sega had planned to launch a console with touch screen as successor the Game Gear. Finally, given the high cost of this technology at the time, the company decided to forget the idea and ended in 1995 launching the Sega Nomad, which was nothing more than a portable version of the Mega Drive. But that would be another story.