HISTORY OF SEGA GAME GEAR
Launching in 1991, the Sega Game Gear was the company’s first handheld. It was an 8-bit handheld that shared a lot of tech with the Master System (Genesis) and played ports of a lot of that system’s games and could even play actual Genesis cartridges with an additional adapter. The shape of the system and its buttons and pad used are purposely curved like the Genesis controller. Game Gear uses ROM cartridges like most early consoles and handhelds. Launch titles included Columns (which was packaged with the handheld), Castle of Illusion, G-LOC: Air Battle, Psychic World, Revenge of Drancon and Super Monaco GP. The developer kind of rushed it into the market (to compete with Nintendo’s Game Boy), but still managed to produce a technically solid console. It featured a powerful full-color landscape ratio screen, which was superior to the original Game Boy. Game Gear debuted at $149.99 ($262.82 today adjusted for inflation) and had decent sales at launch. However it never got very close to the great sales of Nintendo’s Game Boy. It was discontinued in 1997 after a 6 year run and selling 11 million units.
PERSONAL HISTORY WITH SEGA GAME GEAR
I didn’t play the Game Gear until just a couple years ago when I started collecting for it. Growing up none of my friends had a Game Gear, we all had Game Boys. I saw a Game Gear here and there at stores but never really cared to ask for one for Christmas or Birthday as I was more than happy with my Game Boy Color. Since collecting for it I have played a handful of games and enjoyed most of them, namely Castle of Illusion, Tails Adventure and Sonic Triple Trouble, all of which I will be reviewing.
COLLECTING FOR SEGA GAME GEAR
The Game Gear is pretty easy and cheap to collect for, maybe even the easiest of all systems I’ll be covering on this blog. The system itself can be found regularly at pawn shops, thrift shops and yard sales. It does have a recurrent problem you need to test for though: the speakers on the system seem to go out after a few years. Sound typically still works with headphones though. Game Gear’s games themselves are laughably easy and cheap to find, aside from a few gems like Castle of Illusion and Tails Adventures. The average loose cartridges run from about $4-$10. If you’re a complete-in-box collector you’re looking at an average of about $40 which is super low compared to most systems. Condition of the box may not be great however, because they’re cardboard like most early systems we have covered.
I will not be doing a vote game for the Game Gear since my library is very small for this system. I will be choosing three of my favorite games for it.