The Sega GameGear is a handheld video game console manufactured by Sega. It was released in: Japan: October 6, 1990 North America / Europe: 1991 Australia: 1992. It retailed for $150 USD, and was discontinued in 1997 The system sold over 11 million units, and was a moderate success in the market, but lost out a lot to Nintendo's Game Boy. It was a little more successful than Atari's handheld, the Atari Lynx. It was also in competition with NEC's handhelds, the TurboExpress in North America, PC-Engine LT, and PC Engine GT in Japan. It successed the portable Sega Mega Drive, the Sega Nomad. The console was codenamed 'Project Mercury', due to Sega's planet-naming rules at the time. It's development started in 1989, due to the huge popularity of the Master System in Europe and Brazil. The handheld was essentially a portable Master System, that played GameGear cartridges, which were a lot smaller and rounder than the Master System cartridges, although there was a peripheral that slid in to the GameGear's cartridge slot that would allow the player to play Master System cartridges. There was also a TV Tuner attatchment, that allowed the owner to watch terrestrial Television on the GameGear, which is now obsolete, as signals are all digital.
 Variations & Designs
The GameGear was marketed as 32 bit, and although this was true for the color palette, the CPU was an 8 bit processor. The handheld had a color screen, unlike the Game Boy and SuperVision at the time. The main console, or 'Base Unit' was black in color, and had a regular box. There were a myriad of seperate design incarnations of the GameGear, including a Sky Blue console, and one released by Coca Cola with Coca Cola logos and design features. The console was capable of stereo sound through regular headphones, but the in-built speaker was monaural sound. The horizontal perpective of the GameGear made the console much more comfortable to hold than the Game Boy. Just under 400 games are known to exist for the GameGear, and many of these were ports of Master System games, including Shinobi, Sonic the Hedgehog, but the console did receive ports from the Mega Drive / Genesis, such as Ristar.
The GameGear's cartridges costed around $30 each new, and the GameGear's pack-in game was Columns, much like the Game Boy's Tetris.
In an attempt to get the console to appeal to import gamers, the GameGear had no region encoding.
 Issues & Flaws
The GameGear had a few flaws and issues that made it fail. The battery life was extremely short, lasting between five or six hours, depending on volume and screen brightness. The system also took six AA batteries. The console was a lot heavier than the Game Boy, and a lot larger, so it was difficult to fit inside a regular pocket. The console was also more expensive than the Game Boy, with it being around $60 more than the Game Boy. Third party development was an issue, with a lot more developers going for the more popular Game Boy.
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