Author Topic: 1990s Handheld Battle  (Read 358 times)

Offline Superglue

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1990s Handheld Battle
« on: May 12, 2022, 11:37:07 am »
I was born in the early 90s, so most of my childhood that I can remember was in the early 2000s. From what I have heard, the Nintendo GameBoy was the most popular handheld portable console at its peak. My question is - Why?


The Atari Lynx, Sega Game Gear, and Sega Nomad had full color graphics and the GameBoy was only in green. Was it only because the GameBoy was cheaper?

Offline Berto

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Re: 1990s Handheld Battle
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2022, 08:40:34 pm »
Yes, but more than that too.

Like you said, the first reason because it's cheaper.
At just $90, the Game Boy wasn’t all that expensive, and made for a perfect “big gift” for a kid at Christmas.

2nd reason : Battery life

Mel Magazine explained it best here :

Whereas the original Game Boy took four AA batteries that might last for 15 hours, the Game Gear took six AA batteries and lasted only from three to five hours.
Half the reason why parents bought their kids portable systems was to shut them up while they were traveling, and if your Game Gear died a couple of hours into a long road trip, that kind of defeated its purpose.
“Parents didn’t care about graphics or that Game Gear was color,” Horowitz explains. “Parents only looked at the initial cost, battery life and which system had more games.”

Read it more here : https://melmagazine.com/en-us/story/sega-game-gear

I know the article title is a clickbait since we already know the answer (the answer is no of course), but the article itself is good in explaining why Game Gear failed to defeat Game Boy.

3rd reason : TETRIS !!!





Tetris is the most addictive puzzle video games on earth, and on that time the only handheld that has it was only Game Boy.
Andrew Borman, the digital games curator at the Strong Museum of Play notes that Tetris — Game Boy’s top-selling game — was particularly successful across a wide range of ages.
It means not just children who wanted Game Boy, their older brothers/sisters, parents and grandparents might want it too just for Tetris alone.

Offline Berto

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Re: 1990s Handheld Battle
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2022, 12:14:46 am »
And that could bring us the next question... How about Lynx then?
Expensive, very fewer library, no killer games (especially puzzle games like Tetris, Columns, or Puyo Puyo)
it really didn't stand a chance against Game Boy and Game Gear.







Trivia : One of Atari Lynx Commercials has Tobey Maguire in it


Offline Superglue

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Re: 1990s Handheld Battle
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2022, 10:09:14 pm »
Sorry that I'm just now getting back to you on this, but thank you for the information, Berto. Which of the three (other than Gameboy) would you say has the best replay value these days?

Offline Berto

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Re: 1990s Handheld Battle
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2022, 08:08:30 pm »
Sorry that I'm just now getting back to you on this, but thank you for the information, Berto. Which of the three (other than Gameboy) would you say has the best replay value these days?

Nomad but Nomad is basically a "portable SEGA Genesis" since it's using SEGA Genesis cartridge to play
so it's kinda unfair to compare it to Game Gear and Lynx.