Sega Game Gear

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Sega Game Gear
Do you want colors? Give me all your batteries then!
Developer: Sega
Release Date: NA/EU: April 1991
JP: October 6, 1990
AU: 1992
Successor: Sega Genesis Nomad
Competitors: Nintendo Game Boy
Atari Lynx
Generation: Fourth generation

The Sega 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.

Bad Qualities

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. It is oversized for a handheld console, making it difficult to carry around.
  4. It had too many accessories.
  5. It only had 3 buttons which was a pain for developers making games with multiple inputs.
  6. Many ports of Master System games suffer from screen crunch, making it hard to see where you're going.
  7. The screen is somewhat blurry and worsens over time.
  8. 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.
  9. Overheating problems.
  10. It lacked a "killer app" game like Game Boy's Tetris and other games to encourage gamers to purchase it.
  11. Limited third-party support, giving it a weaker game library than the Game Boy's. Most of its games were made by Sega.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.

Good Qualities

  1. Most of the games are actually good. For example, as mentioned above, a lot of good Sonic the Hedgehog games were made for the system. Many are available in Nintendo 3DS's eShop.
  2. You can play cartridge games from the Sega Master System using an adapter since the Game Gear is an updated Master System.
  3. Sega released an accessory to improve the battery life.
  4. You can play it on your TV with a modification.
  5. The console is region-free. In fact, an English version of Puyo Puyo can be played by inserting a Japanese cartridge into a Game Gear on other region.
  6. You can mod the console to replace the backlight screen with a different one that makes the battery life a lot better.
  7. The Majesco re-released version of the Game Gear improved screen resolution and battery life.
  8. With a cable you can play multiplayer Game Gear games with another Game Gear.
  9. The system's size is ideal for gamers with large hands.
  10. It actually had a backlit screen.
  11. Related to Good Quality #3, if you don't have that accessory, you can, of course use Ni-MH batteries, preferably the ones from Eneloop, or mod the Game Gear to have a rechargeable battery.
  12. Speaking of modding, you can improve the quality of the screen by using McWill's LCD mod.
  13. The Sega Game Gear Micro has a rechargeable battery, unlike it's original counterpart.


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).





10 months ago
Score 2
Nintendo does what sega doesn't


8 months ago
Score 2
At least this sold more units than the Sega Saturn and Sega Dreamcast.


7 months ago
Score 2
12 Redeeming Qualities and 11 Reasons why it flopped? Sounds like on Awesome Games Wiki

Grammar guy

6 months ago
Score 1
Now it's equal, so it's more of an average but bad enough to stay on CGW game.


3 months ago
Score 1
Sometimes, releasing consoles way too ahead of their times can make problems.


one month ago
Score 0
Yeah, the Virtual Boy was released at the wrong time and became a failure


one month ago
Score 0
Here's what I think about the Game Gear tiny (an insult): They could've made it the size of the Landscape GBA.

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