NOTE: This console is actually good. This only focuses on what caused it to flop.
The Game Gear (ゲームギア Gēmu Gia) is an 8-bit handheld game console released by Sega on October 6th, 1990, in Japan, 1991 in North America and Europe, and Australia in 1992.
The Game Gear's main selling point was its full-colored backlit screen, compared to the Game Boy's grayscale unlit screen.
Why It Flopped
- Terrible battery life. The Game Gear requires six AA Batteries and drained them in around 3-5 hours because of the colored screen and backlight, which can't be turned off, increasing power consumption. In comparison, the Game Boy required 4 AAs and drained them in around 10-12 hours.
- It was very expensive for a handheld at 19,800 yen / $150 USD / 100 quid when it was launched. This was because the colored screen again made them more expensive to manufacture.
- It is oversized for a handheld console, making it difficult to carry around.
- It only had 3 buttons which was a pain for developers making games with multiple inputs.
- Many ports of Master System games suffer from screen crunch, making it hard to see where you're going.
- The screen is somewhat blurry and worsens over time.
- Many units were manufactured with faulty parts, causing them to have poor video quality or no sound. This can be fixed by replacing the broken pieces though.
- Overheating problems.
- It lacked a "killer app" game like Game Boy's Tetris and other games to encourage gamers to purchase it.
- Limited third-party support, giving it a weaker game library than the Game Boy's. Most of its games were made by Sega.
- Sega focused the Sonic the Hedgehog more on the Game Gear rather than the more successful Sega Genesis/Mega Drive and a lot of the exclusive Sonic Game Gear games were mediocre to terrible.
- The remake of this system, Sega Game Gear Micro, is too small and only features four different games exclusive to one of four color variations. To add insult to injury, it costs 4,980 yen (US$50) for only 4 games, in which the 3DS offers these games for a much lower price in the eShop.
While the Game Gear sold a respectable 11 million units, it paled in comparison to the Game Boy's 118 million. The release of Pokémon in Japan crushed any hopes the Game Gear had of competing, forcing Sega to discontinue it. The Game Gear's main selling point, the colored screen, ironically caused its demise, as gamers couldn't forgive the terrible battery life, something that was crucial for a handheld system at the time. Because of this, Sega never released a successor to the Game Gear, the closest it had was the Sega Nomad which also flopped.
The Game Gear commercials are most infamous for featuring a dead squirrel.
In France, the Game Gear commercials infamously pronounced the "g" of "Gear" with a soft "j" sound, which has misled many French kids into pronouncing it this way, most notably the Joueur du Grenier, a fact he mentions in his review of the NES version of Metal Gear (and insisting into pronouncing the "Gear" part of the name as "djeer" as well).