Portable Wonders

Stalemate with Monsters

So we move onto the 90’s, with the Game Boy the clear leader while the Lynx and Game Gear fall from grace. Various other handheld systems would be released to again take on the Game Boy, but few stood long enough to create a full-on challenge.

Sega would again make an attempt at the market with the Nomad, the pocket alternative to the Mega Drive / Genesis. A few similar problems that cropped on the Game Gear meant that many stayed away, preferring to play Zelda .

LCD games continued to sell decent numbers despite the better products available, thanks largely to Tiger. That same company would enter the Game Boy market in 1997 with Game.com, essentially a combination of black & white gaming device and pocket organiser, with internet capability. Game.com came out in three different models over its sales period with the Pocket Pro and Pocket Pro Light. But it did little to stir interest.

By this time, Nintendo had released the Game Boy Pocket, a smaller and sleeker version of the original Game Boy with a much sharper screen. Although selling well, fans were initially disappointed that no colour options were included with the machine. All was put to rest with one game.

Pocket Monsters (1996) sent the Japanese into a spin in an attempt to catch the many creatures over two versions of the game. It took a further three years before Pokemon made its way to the US and Europe, mainly due to Nintendo’s doubt over its success outside of Japan. What came next was unprecedented: Pokemon Red and Blue sold more copies then a majority of Playstation, N64 and Saturn titles during its reign. The amazing strength of the new franchise helped the Game Boy to continue its dominance for some time, even with another three contenders joining the fight.

Long known for their arcade fighting games, SNK made its first attempt at a handheld with the Neo Geo Pocket. Despite the Pokemon frenzy, Neo Geo Pocket and later Neo Geo Pocket Colour would sell strong numbers. But much like Atari, its demise would come from a lack of funding leading to SNK closing its doors (on a side note, its good to see SNK back in action thanks to Playmore).

Continued: Advanced

Table of Contents: Portable Wonders