Game Gear

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The Game Gear hand held.

The Game Gear is a portable video game console developed by Sega and first released in Japan on 1990-10-06. It uses hardware so similar to the Master System it can play its games with an adapter. It uses the same 8-bit Z80A CPU, same graphics chip, and same SN76489 sound chip.

Around 1992, a friend of mine won a Game Gear in a raffle. I remember seeing it and thinking it was too large for a portable gaming device. I think I only played Columns, the pack-in game. My friend agreed that the system wasn't very good and he returned it to the store where he won it and bought a Genesis instead. I have never played a Game Gear since, and any other games I've played from it have been through emulation.


See all Game Gear Games.

These are the Game Gear games that are important to me:



  • The color graphics are very attractive on the device, especially compared to the green and black Game Boy.
  • With a backlight, the device can easily be played in total darkness.
  • Selling an optional TV tuner was a nice addition for those who could afford it.
  • Making it backward compatible with the Master System (via an adapter) gave the Game Gear a huge boost in available titles.


  • Like with many of Sega's consoles, they just couldn't attract that many high-quality third party developers, so the catalog of games is lacking. Nintendo's anti-competition policies no doubt contributed to major developers like Capcom and Konami from even bothering to release a title for the system.
  • A lot of the games that were released on the Game Gear were just watered down versions of what was being released on the Genesis.
  • Although it had about three times as many games as the Lynx, it only had about a third of the number of games of the Game Boy.


  • The devices backlit color display required a lot of power. The Game Gear needed six AAs batteries to run (a lot for the time), and you would realistically only get about 4 hours of solid game play before they were drained. This made it very expensive to use a Game Gear.





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