The Game.com (just pronounced Game com) is the first touchscreen handheld system, preceding the Nintendo DS. It was released by Tiger Electronics (not to be confused with Tiger Telematics, developers of the Gizmondo) in 1997 and discontinued in 2000. It attempted to capture older audiences with new features at the time, such as being one of the first systems to have access to the internet, a PDA, and a phonebook.
Why it Flopped
- While it was one of the first gaming systems to access the internet, it required a dial up modem to connect to, was text-based only, and while online gaming was theoretically possible, no game released for the system ever made use of it. The main reason to use its internet features was to upload high scores or read your E-Mail. The setup was also very confusing and because the online features offered very little use, very few gamers bothered to use the feature at all.
- The touchscreen had a fairly low sensor resolution making it fairly unresponsive to the stylus. In addition, the sensors were visible on the screen. Even worse, the screen had an issue called "ghosting", meaning the screen became blurry in high paced games. While the ghosting issues were corrected by the system's second model, the Pocket Pro, that one was released at around the time the Game Boy Color was launched, ensuring that it sold very little.
- There was next to no MIDI/MOD support and only one sound could play at a time. Games could not have decent music due to sound effects constantly interrupting it, musical notes interrupting each other, and the prohibitive amount of ROM required to store even a 30 second loop of PCM audio.
- Only 20 games were made for the system, including ports to games that were on the PlayStation, such as Resident Evil 2 and Duke Nukem. The best-selling game for the system was Lights Out! but only because it came with the system.
- Tiger made a very poor attempt at a commercial in an attempt to get the system to sell. The commercial shows a midget (played by an unidentified actor) insulting gamers while promoting the Game.com. Gamers actually thought it was a real press conference and were offended.
- It had a Mortal Kombat game WITHOUT Scorpion and Sub-Zero, the series' two most iconic characters. While this is likely because the game was based on the original version of Mortal Kombat 3, which didn't feature Scorpion at all and only had an unmasked version of Sub-Zero, re-releases had added them back by this point.
- The system was noticeably bulkier than the original model of the Game Boy, and way bigger than the Game Boy Pocket, which was released around the same time as this.
- It had a port of Sonic Jam, which is a complication of the main Genesis/Mega Drive Sonic games but it was a terrible port, the games were almost unplayable because of how Sonic is slow (yes, Sonic is very slow in the game.com version) and the graphics look worse than the 8-bit versions, it's also so ugly that it feels like Sonic in the main screen is giving you the middle finger, seriously.
- It has some features like the touch screen and internet (probably the first gaming handheld to have it), although it wasn't made well.
- Probably Tiger Electronic's best and most advanced handheld. (not that it was good anyway)
- The Pack-in game, Lights Out, Was the most fun to play, In fact, Tiger released that as a stand alone.