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Sega GameGear: A Brief History

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Sega GameGear: Welcome to the Next Level


   On October 9th, 1990, the Sega GameGear was released to the public in Japan.  The following year, it was released in North America and Europe, and was released in 1992 in Australia.  The handheld system was designed to compete with the Nintendo Game Boy, Atari Lynx and NEC Turbo Express.  The hardware included a full-color backlit screen and landscaping format, which led Sega to position the GameGear as superior to the GameBoy.

   Because of the library of games and affordable price, the GameGear was immediately good competition to the Atari Lynx and TurboExpress, despite being rushed to the market.  It fell short, however, in competing with the GameBoy, because it suffered from short battery life and weak support from its parent company, Sega.

   When Sega began to see its sales decline as a result of Nintendo putting a handheld console on the market, they quickly began to design the GameGear.  One of their tactics to make a great product in a short amount of time was to base the hardware of the GameGear on the hardware of the Master System.  This was intended to allow Master System games to port to the Game Gear.

   While the GameGear was certainly designed with more technical capability, the sacrifice of battery life led it to be an inferior option to the Gameboy to many consumers.  The Game Boy was capable of running for over 20 hours on four AA batteries while the Game Gear could only run for three to five hours with 6 AA batteries.

   One of the issues that led to the decline of the Game Gear was the lack of attention to it paid by Sega.  At the same time that the GameGear was being marketed, the company was also trying to support the Sega CD and Sega 32X home systems, and design a new home console system, the Sega Saturn.  After the decline of the Game Gear, which was discontinued in 1996, Sega designed the Genesis Nomad, the last handheld console the company Sega would release.

   Over three hundred games were released for the Game Gear, including big names such as Sonic the Hedgehog, The GG Shinobi and The Land of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse.



Sega GameGear - Model: 2110


   Original Release - Other than a slightly different sports version with the same model number, this was the only version of the GameGear released.  The variations of this model include one with a jet black case and a few limited edition models sold in Japan.  The most common problem associated with this model is an issue with the sound output chip.  In addition, some complain that players have to angle the screen too much for good viewing.


  • Unit Lifetime:  1991 - 1997
  • Units Sold (Worldwide):  11 Million
  • Authorized Games Released (Worldwide):  390
  • Backwards Compatibility:  N/A
  • Media Type:  Cartridge
  • Resolution:  160 x 146
  • Colors Available:  4096
  • Colors on Screen:  32
  • Screen Size:  3.2”
  • Sound Output (All Models):  4 Layer Stereo
  • Power Requirements (All Models):  6 AA Batteries or 10v 850amps

(If you see anything incorrect or that you want added, feel free to comment below and the posting will be edited to reflect the corrections.)

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