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Atari Lynx Turbo Express Game Gear Game.com Neo Geo Pocket Sega Nomad

 

Atari-Lynx

The Atari Lynxwas Atari’s second handheld game console and their first have a cartridge slot to support larger and more detailed games. Its notable features were a backlit color screen, ambidextrous design, and support for the linking of up to eighteen units at once. The Lynx was also the first gaming console with hardware support for zooming/distortion of sprites, allowing games to be rendered in pseudo 3D, unfortunately for Atari none of this was enough to compete with the Game Boy     

   

The Turbo Expresswas NEC’s 1990 attempt at bringing the Turbo Grafx system to handheld. It did this but not very well. While the system was the most advanced, handheld at the time it was plagued with numerous problems such as a bad price ($160 more than the Game Boy), a bad screen, bad save function, bad battery life, and bad capacitors. Bummer huh? 

NEC TurboExpress

Sega Gamegear

The Game Gearwas Sega’s first crack at Nintendo and its Game Boy. Like many of the systems on this list, the Game Gear was technologically superior to its rivals, but when competing with Nintendo this never seems to help. Despite not defeating the Game Boy the system enjoyed moderate success and a long life (1990-2000) in fact, it has the longest life of a non-Nintendo handheld.

Some of the contributing factors in this were its games were in color, it had a back light; games from the Sega Master System weren’t difficult for a developer to port to it and a fairly large library of 300 games, including the ever-popular Sonic the Hedgehog. Sadly, for Sega Sonic just couldn’t hide the Game Gear’s three big issues, its price, it’s size and it’s battery life.

The Sega Nomad:midway through the life of the Game Gear Sega decided to release another hand held. But unlike the Game Gear the Nomad was a portable version of both the Mega Drive and the Genesis allowing console games to played on the go, while this idea was appealing the system suffered from the same problems as the Game Gear (bulky size, short battery life and it’s price) and it eventually failed.

Sega Nomad.

Tiger Game.com

Tiger's Game.com(pronounced “Game Com”) was released in 1997 with revolutionary features such as: a touch screen (sadly a non-lit black and white touch screen), dual game cartridge support and some online capabilities, such as posting your high scores online.

So why if it had all these great features did it fail? I think that one reason the system failed was Tigers treatment of potential customers, telling them “It plays more games than you idiots have brain cells” , this is particularly insulting considering the fact that the Game.com only had a library of about 20 games. Another reason I think the system failed was that it's futuristic features were poorly implemented, for example the touch screen was even more insensitive than it's designers and the, the online features cost a monthly fee and considering the only gaming related online feature was uploading scores it wasn't worth the money. Lastly, the system tried and failed at making its games seem advanced by taking quality 3D games like Duke Nukem 3D and Resident Evil handing them over to a different development team and then watering them down until there was almost nothing left.  

 

The Neo Geo Pocketand Pocket Color were two consoles released by SNK to compete with the Game Boy Color. First, SNK released the Neo Geo Pocket but than replaced it with a slightly smaller color version of the system. As not to cheat early adopters, the Neo Geo Pocket Color games were compatible with the Neo Geo Pocket and vice versa.

Hardware wise the system was a better competitor against the Game Boy then any of it’s predecessors, featuring  a compact design, larger screen then it’s competition, connectivity with the Sega Dreamcast and in my opinion better control scheme. So why did it fail? The Neo Geo Pocket Color failed not because of the console itself but because of SNK’s lack of communication with third party developers, leading to a small game library. The other problem was simply people were too excited about the up coming Game Boy Advance to care about Neo Geo Pocket Color.

SNK Neo Geo Pocket/ Pocket Color

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Site created and maintained by Z. Lachman, spring season2008.

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