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Portables (Games) Entertainment Games

Top Ten Handhelds That Didn't Make It? 114

Posted by simoniker
from the game-dot-comical dept.
Decaffeinated Jedi writes "Over at GameSpy, they're running a feature looking at the top ten handhelds that never made it. Included on the list are such 'favorites' as the Atari Lynx and the more recent Nokia N-Gage, as well as commentary by the GameSpy editors on why these portables failed to set the gaming world on fire."
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Top Ten Handhelds That Didn't Make It?

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  • The Turbo Express (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BFedRec (257522) on Wednesday January 28, 2004 @02:31PM (#8115366) Homepage
    I have two of these and a TV tuner for each. The Turbo express was bar none the best portable video game machine until the GBA SP. It's ONLY drawback was the power consumption. The games were great on it and the screen is amazing. Not much can beat Blazing Lazers on that thing, good classic schmup action.

    Granted I may be biased because I loved my TG-16, having purchased it myself in 8th grade (I think it was 8th grade). I was begging for one, as I was in the know and knew all about how good the PC Engine was doing in Japan. My mom sarcastically remarked that if I could pay for it myself I could have one... which of course sounded like a challenge to me. So I took my allowance money and bought cheap candy and snacks to sell from my desk at school for a profit and after about 3 months I managed to pull together the $200 needed. The TG-16 is one of the most under-rated systems of all times I think. There were some crappy games for it, but there were also some incredibly GOOD games for it as well (Bonk, Blazing Lazers, Legendary Axe, Chew-Man-Fu, etc), AND it was the first video game system to offer a CDRom drive.... ahh the good old days.

    CharlesP
    • Re:The Turbo Express (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jpmoney (323533)
      A friend of mine had a Turbo Duo back in the day that he worked his arse off for... and it was definately worth it. The TG-16 was a great system and its too bad it didn't do well.

      And now they're bringing back Bonk [ign.com]!

    • I also have one with the TV tuner. I use it more as a portable TV than as a portable game system. The TV picture is really quite good for such a small screen!
    • Re:The Turbo Express (Score:3, Informative)

      by NanoGator (522640)
      "It's ONLY drawback was the power consumption."

      It was also too big. I used to have one of these, and it was a bitch carrying it around.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 28, 2004 @02:31PM (#8115369)
    These guys will write anything to convince their readers they know what they're talking about.

    The list both the Gamegear and Wonderswan, both of which are/were solid systems. The gamegear sold quite a number of units when it was released, and gave some decent competition to the Gameboy. The wonderswan is still going stron in Japan.

    What exactly qualifies as "making it" for these guys? By their measurements the only systems that ever "made it" were the GBA and gameboy. The latter being 10+ years old, which is a phenomenon in itself, and the former just happening to be the only handheld currently available in the US. (That Ngage thing is not real). ;)

    • by Anonymous Coward
      The gamegear sold quite a number of units when it was released, and gave some decent competition to the Gameboy.
      And yet it was still crushed by the Game Boy.
      The wonderswan is still going stron in Japan.
      No, it isn't. Outselling the Xbox every now and then isn't really a huge achievement in Japan.
    • What exactly qualifies as "making it" for these guys? By their measurements the only systems that ever "made it" were the GBA and gameboy. The latter being 10+ years old, which is a phenomenon in itself, and the former just happening to be the only handheld currently available in the US. (That Ngage thing is not real). ;)

      Maybe being successful enough for the company to be willing to expend more money in the market before discontinuing the product? I only knew one person with a GameGear, and one person (ot
    • Speaking as a Game Gear owner, the gg was never a serious competitor for the Gameboy. Sure, it had the advantage of a colour display, but this was far outweighed by its disadvantages, ie its battery life (lives slightly longer than a mayfly!) and size (slightly smaller than a camel!).
  • by lightspawn (155347) on Wednesday January 28, 2004 @02:32PM (#8115374) Homepage
    "Top Ten non-Nintendo handhelds".

    It's just that there are very few (multi-game) handhelds, so most of them are in there.

    In summary: battery life is much, much more important that anybody would think. Nintendo got lucky with its B/W (actually green/gray) display that required relatively little battery life and the popular franchises didn't hurt any.

    Oh, and the Lynx's ultrathick design gives me cramps after playing certain games for only a few minutes.

    Maybe this is a market with only enough room for one mainstream system?

    • by funny-jack (741994) on Wednesday January 28, 2004 @02:44PM (#8115505) Homepage
      lightspawn said:
      Maybe this is a market with only enough room for one mainstream system?

      I rather doubt that. Considering that the market is (arguably) supporting three home consoles, whose prices are all more than the GBA, I would say that the market is there for another great handheld. The problem is just that no company has released a great handheld to compete with Nintendo's GameBoy. I think it takes a number of factors for a handheld to be great. Long battery life, comfort, compactness, and great games are probably the most important. The problem with many of these other handhelds is that they have focused on flashy graphics and sound to the detriment of some of the more important factors. That's what I think, anyway.
      • Yes, the home console market is supporting 3 consoles. Why do you bring this fact up when arguing that the portable market can support more than 1 portable system? The two are not interchangable and I don't believe everyone who plays games on a console is a guaranteed sell for a portable game system as well.

        The two markets are related but also different so I don't believe you can jump to such a conclusion based on your evidence.

      • I think we'll see big competition between sony and nintendo when sony releases its portable. I'm looking forward to seeing nintendo knocked back a little to shock it awake in the portable department. I've got an SP but I would love to have a more powerful device. Competition is the only thing that will make that happen.

      • Considering that the market is (arguably) supporting three home consoles, whose prices are all more than the GBA, I would say that the market is there for another great handheld.


        Not a good parallel. I can easily keep two or three consoles in my TV cabinet. But I'm not going to carry around two or three handhelds.

        Chris Mattern
  • Game Gear (Score:5, Interesting)

    by swat_r2 (586705) on Wednesday January 28, 2004 @02:35PM (#8115416)
    I have a special place in my heart for two handhelds in particular, the Game Gear and the Turbo Express.

    When I was younger and without a steady source of income I would always dream about owning the Holy Grail of handhelds, the Turbo Express. Running on the same cards as the TG16, being able to play Bonk's Adventure and Splatter House wherever you went, and on top of it all, a bright beautiful color screen and TV tuner add-on? Pure Bliss. I think I still have the drool marks on my old copies of Gamepro.

    With the Game Gear, I ended up buying one cheap at a Thrift Store last year. Even with the grainy, dated screen and lack of saving games it provided some great, cheap entertainment. Very underrated, and it's next to impossible to find the games around town, but I managed to find some great ones for around $5-$7. Battery power was another issue :)

    There's something about being young and owning a portable system. It's almost a sense of freedom from the parents, saying I can play this however and wherever I want, you can't kick me off the TV! I look at my son with his GBA and can't help sensing the familiarity, and how he'd rather play his GBA with the dated SNES-Era graphics than with the Xbox or PS2. Because "he's" in control.

    And with the systems mentioned in the article, it's hard to imagine how Nintendo cornered the market. Being underpowered and going head to head with Color-LCD back in the day was quite a feat, and I give the companies credit for trying to steal some market share from the Big 'N'. I think Sony will have a viable chance with the PSP and for the first time in a long time I have been excited about owning a handheld again, let's just hope the price is decent :)
    • The Game Gear kicked ass. I don't see why it's on the "Never made it" list since it had a 6 year life span. A successful console is lucky to make it 6 years these days.
      • Exactly. It's almost like this article is a list of portable console's that weren't number one. Which is literally every other portable out there. Oh well, it's a nice (?) nostalgia piece.
        • Exactly. It's almost like this article is a list of portable console's that weren't number one. Which is literally every other portable out there

          It's not so much that they weren't number one, it's that they didn't have a big impact on the market...I mean, back in the day, it wouldn't be that remarkable if a friend had an SNES. Or a Genesis. But having a Game Gear would be almost eyebrow raising, worthy of note. (Same with some other systems...I was surprised that a girlfriend's family had an atari 7800..
    • I remember getting a Turbo Express for Christmas. It came with Bonks Adventure and I also got some game that was somewhat similar to contra but for the life of me I don't remember what it was called. I remember the thing was damn heavy too, although I think I was in 4th Grade at the time so I doubt I was very strong ... not to mention it was also really thick especially compared to the gameboy, although the gameboy was a piece of crap :) I'm sure I still have the old thing stashed away somewhere in my pa
    • "I think Sony will have a viable chance with the PSP and for the first time in a long time I have been excited about owning a handheld again, let's just hope the price is decent :)"
      Myself, I don't think Sony will have a very big chance, considering the PSP is going to cost between $350 to $450, as opposed to the GBA at about $70, and the Nintendo DS at $150 or thereabouts.
      • by swat_r2 (586705)
        I am by no means a Sony fanboy, I held out as long as possible to buy a PS2 (and still think it's weak in comparison to the other consoles, but hey.. exclusives!) But I really think that Sony has enough marketing power and brand recognition to be a contender. I doubt that Sony could ever upset Nintendo's handheld dominance, but having a number two is always welcome in my opinion, it can happen with home consoles can't it?

        The gamer generation has shifted, yes there are a large number of kids with handheld
        • It appears you havent heard, for the first year or so, Sony has banned PS2 ports
        • I am by no means a Sony fanboy, I held out as long as possible to buy a PS2 (and still think it's weak in comparison to the other consoles, but hey.. exclusives!) But I really think that Sony has enough marketing power and brand recognition to be a contender.
          Heh, the only PS2 exclusive I really care abot was GTAs...including the upcoming one, which is the only reason I still keep the beast around.

          I've been thinking about the early success of GB, and I think it has to do with Nintendo's franchises, getting
    • Re:Game Boy (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Absurd Being (632190)
      Nintendo probably cornered the market with 3 things. Battery life, price, and later, backwards compatability. How can you compete with a system that launches with a library of 1000 games? Helped out Sony a little with the PS2 at launch too.

      Oh, and we can't forget a legion of brainwashed Nintendo Power subscribers, back in the day.
      • Me? A brainwashed Nintendo Power subscriber? Naw. I was in the SUPER POWER CLUB, which gave you such exciting benefits as... uh... a couple of videos which were thinly disguised ads, and a catalog where I could give them more money, and trading cards with cheat codes on them.
    • I think I still have the drool marks on my old copies of Gamepro.

      Somewhere around here I still have a clipping from VG&CE (the best game magazine ever) that was announcing the Turbo Express.. damn I wanted that thing so bad.

      Every now and then I think about picking one up off of ebay.
  • by BTWR (540147)
    Did anyone else get from this article that it was basically an article actually titled "just about every one of the 10 handhelds that were available in the last 15 years (except nintendo)... which includes one from the late 70's most have never heard of?"
  • It hasn't reached a break through yet, but why not?

    Phone and PDA is melting into one, giving you the pocket room of one gadget less. Ericsson tried this way back (think, like, 2000) with the fiasco R380 (IIRC). Smartphone are (still) a hot potato.

    NGage came out last year, and .. well .. give it some time. The idea might catch on when the child diseases are fixed and the next generation NGage hits the streets.
    • The idea might catch on when the child diseases are fixed and the next generation NGage hits the streets.

      Maybe, the idea is a great one, but I think you're more likely to see cell phones in general progress to the point where they can play advanced games, rather than a gamesystem with a cell phone component tacked on be successful.
    • you may be right (seriously), but I didn't think consoles work like that. I'm pretty sure NES, Genesis, SNES, Playstation and Gameboy were all popular from their launches. I can't think of a sucessful console that wasn't sucessful at launch and then later was.
    • I think one of the biggest reasons NGage will fail and all other devices that merge phone and game: air travel. You CANNOT use an ngage or other phone that plays games on a plane. Even if you turn the phone part off. They will still make you put it away. It says in the back under what devices are allowable and specifically says phones used to play games.
      • I think one of the biggest reasons NGage will fail and all other devices that merge phone and game: air travel.

        The Sony/Ericsson P{8,9}00 smartphones, and at least a few others, support an Airplane mode that shuts the RF and Bluetooth parts entirely off, while operating the rest of the features.

        Scandinavian Airlines has seen the light, and allows these on (in the airplane-mode, obviously) during flight. Many more airlines will follow soon, due to popular demand..
    • The Ericsson R380 wasn't a fiasco, and the successors P800 and P900 from Sony Ericsson are selling extremely well. Why on earth should I carry around both a PDA and a phone when my P800 does it all so well?

      • The Ericsson R380 wasn't a fiasco

        Besides not working (the tap-display) and being discontinued by the manufacturer within a year, IIRC, no, I presume not ;)

        Why on earth should I carry around both a PDA and a phone when my P800 does it all so well?

        Well, you shouldn't.. Just as you won't carry a GameBoy and a cellphone when your [insert future edition of NGage] does both well.
        • Not working? Discontinued in a year?

          Please name your sources. I'm myself my source - being a former Ericsson Mobile Communications employee, Symbian after that, and now consulting at Sony Ericsson ..

          I think cellphones will naturally become better at playing games - I think "future edition of NGage" is just that - a future edition of any cellphone :)
  • Something from the mid 90's was a product & company called Cybiko. Though it was a nice idea, the handheld item was (and still is) very expensive and the games... well honestly... sucked. Website: http://www.cybikoxtreme.com/
    • Re:Cybiko (Score:3, Informative)

      by Zerth (26112)
      I never bought the "extreme" version, but the original one was dang spiffy. Yes, the games sucked since they were turned out by underemployed russians, but it came with a C compiler so you could always write your own. I even got the mp3 attachment, although that was mostly for the extra storage space, rather than wanting to use it as an mp3 player. It had a decent text reader and could hold several dozen books in the mp3 player's memory. Oddly, I don't use it much now, because the mp3 player's memory se
    • My brother has one of those.

      I've always thought of it as a glorified TI-85 that can play a bunch of really lame games and needed a HUGE community to make work.
  • Nothing was better than california games on the lynx. It was the greatest thing at the time.

    I was dying to try the sega nomad and no one in the remote vicinity of 100 miles I know had this.

    For the longest time gameboy had the ugliest graphics alive. They are lucky to have released GB color and advanced to compete with PSP when it comes out.
  • I think it beats out the Milton Bradley bullshit item.
  • by falcon5768 (629591) <Falcon5768@comca[ ]net ['st.' in gap]> on Wednesday January 28, 2004 @03:28PM (#8116111) Journal
    It's almost funny to think of it now, but in the early 1990s, Sega was an extremely aggressive competitor to Nintendo

    Am I really THAT old to have not found it that funny... I mean it was a huge pissing contest between which you had, a sega or a nintendo and which was better.... how is it shocking that Sega used to be a competitor??? Because they dont exist as a system maker???? Using that logic is like saying its hysterical that Atari owned the marked untill 81!!!!

    Im 23 and I remeber getting a 2600, Nintendo and Super NES for christmas... I even remeber when the Playstation came out, do young people REALLY not know the history of video games???? :-\

    • More funny like epilepsy.

      Long live the Dreamcast.
    • by k_187 (61692) on Wednesday January 28, 2004 @04:24PM (#8116899) Journal
      Sadly no they don't. There have been a huge influx of gamers since the playstation generation, and in a lot of ways, I think they're the reason that games just aren't as good anymore. How many people are buying PS2s or xboxes (xboxen?) for games like Disgaea, or Ico or all the other games that are great yet don't sell like they should. The gaming market is Madden and anything that's a sequel right now. Flash and marketing are what rules the roost. They don't have the history that older gamers have. Sigh, some people just don't remember what it was like to get a game every 6 months and like it, even when you slave away for your allowance to buy "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" for the NES. God, I sound crotchety, and I'm only 22!
      • Its funny you said Disgaea cause my girlfriend just picked it up on recomendation of her game grrls community and has lost sleep to it... I was thinking the same thing though when i was watching that MTV special recently... unless it has flashy graphics or something they cant be bothered... it almost pisses me off the people who write off the first 6 FF games JUST cause they arnt in 3D... I mean GOD when did gameplay stop being important and pretty colors start? And considering half my SNES games came wel
        • I am not sure I would say that any of the main FF games sold via the the 'merits' of their gameplay. That's because sometimes other things than gameplay are more important to people. That is okay with me, even if I wish games like Panzer Dragoon Orta, etc. would sell better. Storyline, setting, graphics (including the oft-overlooked art design), music/sound, are all important to people, too, and oftentimes they will compensate for lesser gameplay quality.

          I mean, hell, even though Super Mario Bros. was a gr
    • Well, remember, some of the gaming Websites like to think they helped kill Sega recently. So to them, laughing at Sega is good sport. I mean to us it would be sort of like tripping an old lady who used to be a gorgeous matinee idol into a ditch full of stagnant water and laughing at her as she flailed around, but to the some gaming Websites, it's good sport.

      Now, I don't give the gaming sites credit for effectively killing off Sega (well, it is on life-support, not completely dead), that was caused by mi

    • do young people REALLY not know the history of video games???? :-\

      Yes. As far as the majority of gamers are concerned, the SNES vs Genesis war was either nothing more than a blip in their real lives or they were too young to even realize it. Some modern gamers, at least the more vocal ones, tend to be whiny 13 year olds who think the PS2 is the greatest thing since their parents bought a HDTV and let them play games on it. I wouldn't be surprised if some gamers didn't even know that Atari was once a big co

  • by Asprin (545477) <gsarnold AT yahoo DOT com> on Wednesday January 28, 2004 @03:36PM (#8116207) Homepage Journal

    I actually had one of these when I was a kid and it r0Xored! It was the first hand-held with a dot-matrix display that used cartridges and therefore wasn't limited to one game, so I don't have any idea why it's on this list other than journalistic myopia.

    Also, the article is factually incorrect in one place. The snap-on cartridge/faceplates didn't have a whole set of controls in the cartridge - that would be stupid and expensive. Instead, the device had a touchpad matrix of FLAT calculator-style button "areas" (like a Sinclair ZX81 or an Atari 400 keyboard) above the paddle on the base unit. The cartridge faceplate, supplying a decorated film that fit over this area, just functioned as an overlay, masking off the buttons you didn't need and labeling the ones you did. I'm not sure why GameSpy editors don't know this because they *SHOULD* have actually inspected physical units before reporting these facts and it's a technique that's been used elsewhere [atariage.com].

  • After reading this list, I conclude that it is dumb. Making a list of all the portables that *didn't* make it is the same as making a list of all the portables that *aren't* Nintendo GameBoy.
  • Sega * (Score:2, Insightful)

    I can tell you something about some of those sega handhelds that made it on there....

    Firstly, I never even knew the Nomad existed until well after its death. I didnt exactally live under a rock either. I know I would have saved my pennies for this, vs something like a gameboy.

    Then we have the Game Gear. This one was more out in the open, but the true treasure of it was NEVER known by many people... that you could buy a $10 adapter and play your old Sega Master System games! Had my friends and I known th
    • I remember oogling the foldout things that came w/ sega games that had a poster on one side and adverts for new stuff on the other side... the gamegear tv tuner was something i desperately wanted (and the gg to go w/ it)

      they also had an infared controller i wanted
    • that you could buy a $10 adapter and play your old Sega Master System games! Had my friends and I known this much earlier in its life, we ALL would have owned one.

      I knew this at the time, but still didn't buy it. Mainly because the Game Gear came out a year after I bought my Genesis.. and I, like a lot of people, took advantage of the amazing trade in deals going. Trade in 3 SMS games for 1 genesis game.

      When the Game Gear came out, I didn't have any SMS games left.
  • Game Boy Light (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Psykechan (255694) on Wednesday January 28, 2004 @03:47PM (#8116380)
    One handheld gaming system that should have been listed was the Game Boy Light [vidgame.net]. It was basically a Game Boy Pocket with a built in backlight. It failed because Nintendo released it around the same time as they released the Game Boy Color. The GBL was not capable of playing the newer "Color" games and gamers were forced to chose between being able to play the newer games or being able to easily see their older games.

    Nintendo wisely decided to not release the GBL outside of Japan. Unfortunately, this blunder may have made them think that the public wasn't willing to spend money on a backlit portable; something that they held fast on until their release of the Gameboy Advance SP.

    Offtopic... when the Gameboy and the Lynx were released, I chose the Lynx camp and still have three of the systems: A Lynx, a Lynx II, and my self-modified Turbo Lynx which is overclocked to 1.5 times normal speed. (playing Stun Runner on it is a blast) Personally, I've always believed that the Gameboy prevailed simply due to the Tetris license and Nintendo's foresight to include it as a pack-in. The Lynx had an early lineup that was wonderful (Blue Lightning, Chip's Challenge, Gates of Zendocon) and put the Gameboy's games to shame but it did not have Tetris. The rest is history.
  • Silly article (Score:1, Redundant)

    by MBraynard (653724)
    I think top ten lists are written by lazy authors because they are easy to do.

    But getting to my point, ALL handhelds failed except those with the name 'game boy' in them (excluding the 'super game boy'). There has essentially be ONE sucessful handheld. What's the point of saying the others are 'failed' because it is so obvious.

  • PSP (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pudge_lightyear (313465) on Wednesday January 28, 2004 @04:26PM (#8116918) Homepage
    Of course, the PSP and whatever's next will be in the same boat.
    Here's why I think this:
    Home gaming seems to be for adults and older kids. Supposedly, the average age of a gamer is over 20, etc. etc. etc. This is, as far as I know, with consoles (home) not portables.
    The only people I see with gameboys are kids. They carry them in there backpacks, pockets, whatever... they play them in backseats (because they don't drive), they play them in school, church, wherever.

    Adults (save a few... I actually have a gba -- but rarely play it) don't fit in well to the portable market for the following reasons:

    1. They drive
    2. They listen when they go to meetings, classes for work, church, etc.
    3. They go home after work and CAN take over the tv set
    4. Because of 3, would rather play on a 50" tv than a 3" LCD Screen.
    5. Why buy something for the same price on one of these when I'd rather play a better one on a bigger screen at my only disposable time (which is at home)
    6. These are always going to be a generation behind the at-home model... even with the PSP.
    7. Because they are a generation behind, the games are fine, but not as good.
    8. more reasons, but am supposed to be working...

    The price point is aimed at adults. The games will be aimed at adults. But, I THINK, adults aren't as interested as they think they are...

    Nintendo owns this market because they're cheap, the batteries last long, and they KNOW kids.
    • I've thought about these things before before I decided to buy a GBA SP, when will I actually get time to play it? I have 3 Consoles and a PC at home with more than enough games, and I am a working professional with not as much free time as I would like.

      Not to sound too hardcore (or more like too much of a loser) but I actually started taking public transit to work until it got too cold to squeeze off a couple 30 minute rounds of FF:TA in before work. I also liked the fact that I could have a battle or
    • I'd have to disagree.

      I live in Brooklyn and ride the subway to work every day. I'm 30, know a lot of other 25-30 year olds who all have gameboys. On any given day I'll see 5-10 GBA SP's on the subway, and usually only one of those will be in the hands of a kid.

      At home I have a gamecube, decked-out pc, and what I find myself playing the most are my gameboy games. Wario Ware, Advance Wars 1 & 2, Golden Sun, Mario & Luigi... these are all just great games. Sure I can load stuff up on the tv, but
      • I agree, I can whip out the GBA:SP on my 15min subway ride and play for a bit because the games load in a second, aren't insanely complicated to control and are fun.

        Granted some of the nostalgia gets me (Zelda) but I can't remember the last time I had to even charge the damn thing.

        The fact that it's much more portable than the hardback book I'm reading also helps. And I can play FF:TA with one hand if I don't find a seat.
    • I'll have to disagree as well.

      I do quite a bit of business travelling. When I fly, if I show our TSA overlords a GameBoy SP, they understand. If I pull a PS2/GCN out of my bag, they aren't so happy. And I can't check them, because:

      A) Hamfisted baggage handlers
      B) I don't check baggage in the first place

      If I'm driving to my destination, and only staying for 2-3 days, it's also not worth lugging my console only to have to hook it up with the craptacular UHF box, since hotel TVs won't let me use com
    • Well you are forgetting a few things.

      1.Some of us commute to work (for 2 hours)
      2.Some of us fly in airplanes routinely (and believe me those magazines become thiner in air)
      3.We have to go to the bank, Drs office, ticket lines, taxes, And wait for HOURS
      4.We have to wait for a package, boss, wife doing shopping.
      5.Sometimes our wifes and kids take over the TV
      6.And (well hopefully not that much) we must sleep in the couch.

      Those are adult situations in which a GBA or another handheld would be pretty
      • Let me add to your list:

        7. The average age of the typical gamer is around 30.
        8. Work restrictions forbid us from putting games on our laptops. Handhelds are perfect.
        9. Did I mention disposable income?
        10. Playing a game on one of these is so easy in a hotel room and doesn't suck up my laptop juice when I need it for my presentation the next day.
        11. You can hide easily from your boss.
        12. You can play at lunch or during breaks.

  • Early entry (Score:5, Funny)

    by Torgo's Pizza (547926) on Wednesday January 28, 2004 @04:28PM (#8116970) Homepage Journal
    Is it too early to just go ahead and put the Nintendo DS on the list? Hey, I'm just trying to save us all some time.
  • by Thedalek (473015) on Wednesday January 28, 2004 @06:02PM (#8118303)
    What about the portable version of the Phillips CD-I system?

    Now that's obscure.
  • I have a Sega Game Gear, Sega Nomad and Gameboy Adavance. Hands down the Nomad is my favorite.

    First, it plays all my old Genesis games flawlessly; it has full Genesis hardware inside.
    Second, it can plug into a TV to function like a full sized Genesis machine, it even includes a second joypad port on the top on the unit for two player games. I have used it on occasion during long flights and it always draws a lot of attention, well ok, from people who love old Genesis games.

    The article described the Nomad
    • Damn, you posted almost everything I was going to.

      The Nomad was a wonderful machine. Mine is sitting on my desk right now.

      I did not experience any screen blurriness either. And I don't think size was the big deal. But the fact that it could drain 6 AA batteries in 2 hours was a HUGE problem.

      My father always got a ton of free AA batteries, so it wasn't a matter of cost for me, but simply having to interrupt game sessions (I didn't often play it 2+ hours straight, but usually I would start it for the 3r

  • Top 10 articles that didnt made it!

    guess which one will be on top?

    Silly Gamespy, journalism is not for hmm... you.
  • what was that obscure system they used to give away at the end of Legends of the Hidden Temple (gameshow on Nick)? It used to be sold in the Johnson Smith catalogues in the early 90's too... it was a gameboy clone

    no one I've ever talked to knows what the heck I'm talking about
    • Holy crap, you just brought back two memories I didn't even know I had. Legends of the Hidden Temple and those Johnson Smith catalogues... damn.

      But to answer your question, I don't really remember what prizes were given out at the end of the Nickelodeon show, but I'm sure I saw what you're talking about in the catalogues... and damn if I remember what it was. I think I was just getting to the age where I became able to separate crap products from good products, so while I'm sure I still desperately wanted
  • This devices did "Made it" for a brief time and some are still "making it" in other countries. "never made it" would only apply to a 1/4 of the devices mentioned. Who keeps submitting (or reading) gamespy articles anyway?
    However.. how many caught the "tongue in cheek" humor of posting this article one week from nintendo announcing the DS? (bastards)
  • Has anybody ported Linux to any of these boxes? the GamePark 32 looks like a good prospect...
  • I agree with this article almost entirely.

    Game.com - owned it, even the Williams Classics Collection didn't run smoothly. The best game I ever played on it was Lights Out, built in and also available in board game form. Huge waste of money

    Game Gear - I'm surprised to see this on there, since even though it didn't top the Game Boy, it was still a household name. It definately had its flaws (where'd my batteries go?), but I definitely had a bunch of friends with them.

    Nomad: Much like that fighting-game rin
    • The controls were excellent (best analog stick on any system) and games top-notch and surprisingly deep

      While th the NGPC had the best stick of any handheld I've owned, it was digital, not analog - which gave the system a very nice 'arcadey' micro-switch joystick feel.
  • I question the "reliabilty" statement on the Lynx. I had an original Atari Lynx (circa 1989) up until 2 years ago. It held up great (for over 10 years)!

    Road Blasters on the Lynx in 1990 beat the Game Boy hands down. Xybots rocked too.

    Too bad the Tramiels were to cheap to really advertise and promote Lynx the way it deserved.
  • My opinions (Score:4, Interesting)

    by M3wThr33 (310489) on Wednesday January 28, 2004 @09:42PM (#8119979) Homepage
    Game.Com:
    I kinda liked the device. It was a pity my favorite game was Lights Out. ;) The pocket pro has nice design. I loved the backlight and touchscreen, but unfortunately the refresh rate was far too low to enjoy games for too long.

    Lynx:
    I purchased one off of eBay some years back with a whole bunch of games and accessories (All new). Not too bad, great games, especially Chip's Challenge and the Mahjongg one, but unfortunately the cards lacked memory and ate batteries.

    Game Gear: It was ok, but everytime I saw someone playing it, they were using an AC adapter to play it. It defeats the purpose, plus it didn't fit in your pocket. Although the Disney games were some of the best.

    Nomad:
    Battery WHORE.

    Turbo Express:
    THICK, bright screen.

    GP32:
    I like SM cards, but the community is built off of pirated roms and emulators. Plus the Zodiac2 blows it away now.

    NGPC:
    Got one at Fry's with 6 games for $70. Great deal. I love it all around. There's a reason it was #1.

    N-Gage:
    I own an MDM game that works in PPC, PalmOS and N-Gage. I hate the N-Gage.

    Microvision:
    A collector's item I'd like to have.

    Wonderswan:
    I never really had a chance to see one. Some games intrigued me, especially the MMBN on it.
    • I had the external battery pack with the belt clip. It was a little less than idealy portable that way, but it wasn't exactly cumbersome and made hours of gameplay possible.

      When I left to college I left all my Game Gear stuff at home so nobody would jack it. Who would have thought my mom would loose everything? I've still got the system, the game that was in it, and the AC adapter because those were out and not in the storage bag. All else it lost. Broke my heart because that was such a cool system.
  • Some complaints... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Man In Black (11263) <.ac.wahs. .ta. .or-ez.> on Wednesday January 28, 2004 @10:23PM (#8120269) Homepage
    First of all, the Game.com has no business being on this list. Not only didn't it "make it"... it never had any chance whatsoever. I bought one of these things off of eBay with about 8 games a while back for a total of about $30... and let me tell ya, it's just barely worth that. The "PDA functions" are a joke (you can enter some telephone numbers, use calculator, and view (but not annotate) a calendar), and most of the games are unplayable. Mortal Kombat Trilogy and Fighter's Megamix animate so poorly and move so choppily that you can't even really play them... Sonic Jam and Indy 500 move far too fast, which causes the screen to blur horribly (WAY worse than the Gameboy ever did), which in turn makes them impossible to play properly. The only games worth a damn on this system are the built-in Solitaire game, Wheel of Fortune, and Tiger Casino. Oh, and Resident Evil 2 is surprisingly decent on this system... it's not good, but I expected it to be a LOT worse. The only redeeming factor for the Game.com is that it was still MUCH better than Tiger's other system, the R-Zone... boy, was that ever a horrible failure.

    The Microvision also failed for a very good reason: It was horribly underpowered. I know it was released in the 70's, but the thing uses a 100kHz 4-bit CPU (I'm not kidding here), 32 nibbles of ram (Since the CPU is less than 8-bit, it's meaningless to refer to things in bytes), and the screen resolution is 16x16 (again, I'm not kidding). I seriously don't see how you can actually do anything meaningful with a system like that. I commend Milton Bradley for their innovation, but the technology just wasn't there.

    I also question the wisdom of including handhelds that were never released in North America. Even if we're talking about worldwide sales, the fact that the Wonderswan and GP32 were never released here pretty much guarantees that they won't be successful regardless of how good they are.

    Having said that, I think the Lynx and Nomad are very underrated... the Lynx had a lot of nifty features, like the ability to turn off it's backlight to save batteries when you pause, the ability to flip the screen so you could play left handed, and some games could play sideways to get a better aspect ratio. It really could have used more big name games though... all it really had were Atari's arcade ports, which weren't as popular as they were in the Asteroids heyday. Atari's marketing certainly didn't help either.

    As for the Nomad, the system was overpriced and undermarketed... aside from the fact that it tears through batteries (If you got three hours from 6 AA's, then you did good), it's a very impressive system from a technical standpoint. A friend of mine has one, and he plays it all the time. You really need an AC adaptor for this one though.
  • I really liked this article. Brought me back a lot of memories, I think I owned over half the handhelds on that list.
  • I wish... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Nexxpert (645881)
    Even though people are complaining about the virtua boy, I wish that I could've had one to try for myself. At the time I was too young to buy one myself and my parents weren't going to buy me another gadget for a while.

    Lots of people hate it, that's for sure, but did anyone ever try modding one to do something else, maybe play a game they made themselves, or add another colour or two to the display? ambitious, yes, impossible, dunno.

    Also, are there any handhelds that allow you to develop your own games fo
    • I just bought a virtualboy a few days ago, actually. Mario Tennis is pretty good and Red Alarm is surprisingly fun. As for modding it, I definitly intend to try it once I'm tired of the games I have.
  • I understand that I'm probably going to be modded "off topic" with this, however, I just wanted to address and ask about the controllers themselves. I own a Nomad, a game-gear, a Microsoft's side winder game pad.... what do they have in common? That really goofy bumpy pancake shaped D-Pad. It's very hard and uncomfortable to use. I always wondered why they went that route when developing the control for these systems.

    The classic 8 bit NES controller was a revolution and a godsend. It saved us from a
    • The PSX D-pad is still a d-pad, but there's a plastic overlay across the diagonals. They aren't seperate buttons.
    • Ok, I'll continue with the somewhat off-topic thread...

      Personally, I hate, hate, hate d-pads, thumbpads, or anyother controller that relies on the thumb to control movement.. It's one of the reasons I stopped playing video games from '86-'93. Maybe it's a bias because I grew up in the classic video game era, but I don't understand why anyone would find it preferable to control movement with small thumb motions rather than movement of an entire hand. (Of course, my wife, who is slightly younger and grew
    • The Nintendo D-pad is a hell of a lot better than most of it's counterparts. When I play any of Capcoms 2D Fighters on the Dreamcast - most of which deny analogue use - I usually end up with half a thumb.

      Then again, Nintendo have always had the most innovative (and arguably, comfortable) controllers. It (seems like it) was the first console to introduce shoulder buttons, analogue sticks and rumble features (The Dual Shock came after the N64). Although there may have been other systems that already featured

  • The article forgot to mention how ridiculously power-hungry the Gear Gear was. It ate 6 AA batteries in 2-3 hours. Definitely unsuable. And of course, the Nomad was even worse.
  • by AyeFly (242460)
    I still have my Atari Lynx. It works great, except some of the games dont register when i put them in. Paperboy, Chip's Challenge, etc work, but when I try to play my favorite, California Games, it says insert game! Anyway, It was awesome at the time I bought it, though now that I have a GBA that plays Baldur's Gate, it seems even more outdated than it did a year or two ago.

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