Keeping it Dean:
Battle of the Bulge.
-By Dean Cheung-
-Presented by DMG
-Interestingly trivial-
-Presented 04/25/2006-

Sega and Nintendo have been competing in the gaming industry for quite some time now (well, perhaps a little less recently), yet there may have been early signs that Sega was destined to drop from the hardware market completely. In the early 90’s, portability was a hot and new demand which Nintendo broke into by introducing the Gameboy. Sega, seeing the success of the Gameboy, tried to compete in the market by introducing the Sega Game Gear. Due to the fact that the Gameboy was such a big success, Sega realized it would be quite the challenge to turn gamers away from Nintendo, thus their attempt to utilize features that the Gameboy did not offer. With these implemented features, Sega hoped it could build a fan base for Sega and the Game Gear.

The Game Gear’s most famous feature over the Nintendo Gameboy was a color screen that boasted 4096 available colors at a 160x144 resolution. Sega made numerous commercials to show off the new color screen that truly put the old brick Gameboy’s green and black display to shame. Despite having color, however, the Game Gear could not keep up with the Game Boy.

Portability was one factor; the Game Boy was smaller and more versatile while the Game Gear was almost twice the size. This made the Game Gear far less portable of a portable than the Game Boy was at the time. Ultimately, battery life has been criticized as the most probable downfall of the Game Gear; the Game Gear required six AA batteries while the Game Boy required only four, and they only lasted for a maximum of 5 hours of game play (sometimes it even felt about half that long). The battery life was not the only grave error on the Game Gear's part. The game selection of the Game Gear widely harmed it. At the end of the day, the Game Gear had less than one-fourth of the titles the Game Boy enjoyed. Having a wider, perhaps more enriched, selection of games also helped Nintendo defeat Sega’s tinier offering of games in the Market. Maybe if these three elements had been much better, the Game Gear would have stood a chance.

With a valiant effort, Sega fought on with their alternatives, only to give up on portables, and then finally on consoles when the Dreamcast faded into the backburner. Perhaps Sega’s ideas were just too many years ahead of their time, or perhaps there was poor planning and vision, or maybe even both, but whatever the case, Sega has moved on to provide quality games. So I ask you, the reader, do you think the Game Gear was an under appreciated sign of things to come for Sega, or maybe it was just meant to be? Maybe they are secretly planning the Dreamcast 360, but who really knows?

-Editorial by Dean Cheung-
-Property of