Sega Game Gear

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The Sega Game Gear is a handheld game console, which was Sega's response to Nintendo's Game Boy. It was the third commercially available colour handheld console, after the Atari Lynx and the TurboExpress.

Work began on the console in 1989 under the codename "Project Mercury", following Sega's policy at the time of codenaming their systems after planets. The system was released in Japan on October 6, 1990, North America, Europe and Brazil in 1991, and Australia in 1992. The launch price was $150. Sega dropped support for the Game Gear in early 1997.

The Game Gear was a portable version of the Master System with a lower resolution screen, but allowed for a larger colour palette. In addition, it could also produce stereo sound (through headphones) as opposed to the Master System's monaural output, though very few games made use of the stereo capabilities. Unlike the original Game Boy, the system was held in a "landscape" position, with the controls at the sides, making it less cramped to hold.

Because of the similarities between the Master System and the Game Gear, it was fairly easy for Master System games to be ported to Game Gear cartridges. Alternately, the Master Gear Converter was released during the system's lifetime, which allowed original Master System games to be played on the Game Gear.

The Game Gear was not very popular in Japan, where it was released to a generally uninterested audience, with build quality issues plaguing it early in its service life. Another problem was battery life; while better than earlier colour backlit systems, its 5 hour battery life (using 6 alkaline batteries) still wasn't as good as the Game Boy (due to that system's monochrome screen, lack of a backlight, and less powerful hardware). Battery life was a much bigger issue before handheld systems had built-in rechargeable batteries; gamers needed either a constant supply of six AA batteries, or a rechargeable Ni-Cd battery pack that was sold separately and added significant weight.

Our Sega Game Gear comes with its original box.

Manufacturer: Sega Enterprises, Ltd
Date: 1992

This exhibit has a reference ID of CH4599. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.

Sega Game Gear

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