The Sega Game Gear (ゲームギア Gēmu Gia) is an 8-bit handheld game console released by Sega on October 6, 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.
Why it Flopped
- Terrible battery life. The Game Gear requires 6 AA Batteries and drained them in around 3-5 hours because of the colored screen and backlight. In comparison, the Game Boy required 4 AAs and drained them in around 10-12 hours.
- It was very expensive for a handheld at $150. This because the colored screen again made them more expensive to manufacture.
- It is oversized for a handheld console, making it difficult to carry around.
- Too many accessories.
- Master System games and ports of it suffer screen crunch, making it hard to see where you're going.
- The screen is somewhat blurry and worsens over time.
- 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.
- It attempted to make itself look cooler than the Game Boy by mocking the Game Boy's colorless screen, yet the Game Boy was a huge success while the Game Gear failed. When the Game Boy Color was released that sold better than the Game Gear.
- The commercial for the Game Gear featured a dead squirrel.
- It lacked a "killer app" game like Game Boy's Pokémon to encourage gamers to buy it.
- Limited third-party support, giving it a weaker game library than the Game Boy's. Most of its games were made by Sega.
- Most of the games are actually good. Many are available in Nintendo's 3DS E-Shop.
- You can play cartridge games from the Sega Master System using an adapter, since the Game Gear is an updated Master System.
- Sega released an accessory to improve the battery life.
- You can play it on your TV with a modification.
- You can mod the console to replace the backlight screen with a different one that makes the battery life a lot better.
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.