thaddius' Console Classic 2012 Edition: Round 6

thaddius

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As predicted by... everyone, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System broke everyone else's knees and hobbled the Genesis in round 5 (as seen here). Maybe the Genesis will fare better this time around. What am I talking about...? you'll see.

So... before we get into it, how about a recap of the rules?

Each week, video game history will be put to the test to see which console or handheld is the greatest. There can only be one!
Vote for your favourite and follow it through to the end as we try to determine GBATemp's favourite console/handheld!

Consoles and handhelds will face off in brackets comprised of their generation. Because there can only be one, in the event of a tie I will cast a tie-breaking vote. Once a winner has been declared for each generation, the console winners and the handheld winners will face off in individual brackets. Once an ultimate console and ultimate handheld have been chosen, they will face off against each other to see who is the greatest!

For a concrete example of the brackets, see the image at the bottom of this post.

So what's going on this week? We're talking about the second generation of handhelds.

As we all know, the Game Boy fucked everyone else's shit up last gen. No one knew what to do with this thing! It was the worst tech, but somehow dominated our hearts from '89 to 98.

This generation is punctuated by some horrible flops, as some companies branch out into uncharted territory, while others fail to learn from their own mistakes. Basically, innovation is stifled, and nothing new or interesting in terms of hardware comes out. But the games! Ohhh the games! Let's watch!

This week's challengers are:

The Sega Nomad
Sega-Nomad-Handheld.jpg

What the hell, guys? Sega pulls a TurboExpress on us and releases a portable console! This thing took Genesis/Mega Drive cartridges, fer chissake! It was an evolution of the Sega Mega Jet, which was a portable Genesis for use on airplanes.


Apparently Sega planned on making a handheld with a tough screen, but because the tech was so expensive at the time, they decided to just release a portable Genesis with no extra features at all. And hey, remember when we were bitching about how the Sega Game Gear's battery life sucked balls? Well this thing lasted a half hour. That's right, folks: 30 minutes of battery. Awesome.

Ultimately, Sega failed to learn from it's past mistakes with this one. While they made the Nomad out-of-the-box compatible with Genesis games (unlike the Game Gear with Master System carts), they released it late in the Genesis' life-cycle when everyone was ramping up for the next generation of consoles. And they didn't take into account how the blast processing would eat up battery life.

All in all a system with great potential, but not much else. It sold an estimated 1 million units.


The Nintendo Virtual Boy
virtualboy.jpg

Oh the humanity! I've talked about this a number of times. I love this old batty thing.

After the success of the Game Boy and Game boy Pocket, designed by one Gunpey Yokoi, Nintendo was looking for the next big portable system. At the time, virtual reality was being heralded as the new direction that video games were going in (so much for that!), and Nintendo was looking to make something that displayed the games in 3D! With Yokoi at the helm, nothing could go wrong...

The Virtual Boy was released in 1995 for $180US to much bitching and whining about headaches and motion sickness. Personally, as someone who owns a Virtual Boy, I find it a little obnoxious that people panned the thing so much at the time and never even tried it.

Anyway, due to poor sales, only 19 games were released for it in North American, and Nintendo abandoned it in '96, a year after it was released. It didn't even get an official release in Europe, although it was hyped for a brief period. It sold an estimated 770,000 units (yikes!) and was considered a huge flop. This was the first time a Nintendo product failed to sell well. It's best selling game was the pack-in, Mario Tennis.

There are rumours that Yokoi was forced into a labour camp or something stupid, but he eventually left the company for greener pastures (as seen below).


The Tiger Game.com
Gamecom.jpg

Ugh. And people think the Virtual Boy is bad! This monstrosity is the Game.com, pronounced "game com". When the console first launched it seemed to have some promise. It had a touchscreen, two cartridge slots, and to live up to the '.com' part of it's name, had internet capabilities.

It was made by Tiger Electronics, well known for one-shot LCD games in the early 90's. They also released a head-gear style system called the R-Zone that was completely ignored. So what do they do afterward? Release another system that everyone will ignore!

The screen was terrible (similar to the original Game Boy's) and the games, even though they were big names (like Resident Evil 2, Sonic Jam, Duke Nukem, etc.), were just awful.

Unless you're a collector (like me!) don't bother with this thing. Seriously, it's SO bad. It allegedly sold less than 300,000 units and it's best selling games was the pack-in Lights-Out.


The Nintendo Game Boy Color
gbc.png

So.. the Virtual Boy failed. Miserably. The public wasn't ready for 3D. The tech wasn't there for a portable system like that! Heck, the VB wasn't even portable! So what does Nintendo do now? What can they do, but give the public what they've been asking for for the last 9 years... A Game Boy with colour.

Nintendo knew they could bank on this shit selling, and boy did it ever! Not only could it play new cartridges, but it could display old, colourless games in (limited) colour! You could even choose the colour palette by pressing key combinations when booting a game!

Because of Pokemon reviving the use of the connector cable, and selling a bajillion copies (source needed), it touted an infrared port on the top that would let you trade 'mystery gifts' in Pokemon Gold, Silver and Crystal... it did nothing else.

Great little system though.


The Neo Geo Pocket
NeoGeoPocket.jpg

How can you compete with the Game Boy? Nothing you can do will help. More power, backlit screen, heck, even Nintendo couldn't beat the Game Boy with 3D! So if you can't beat 'em... join 'em!

While technically graphically superior to the Game Boy Color, the Neo Geo Pocket (and later the Neo Geo Pocket Color) was essentially a Game Boy clone. The difference between it at other, cheaper clones, was the games. The glorious, wondrous games! Metal Slug (x2!), Fatal Fury, Sonic Pocket, the list goes on! While not the largest library ever, most of the games released for it were amazing.

On top of that, it boasted what is, in my opinion, one of the best control sticks on any handheld system, as well as Dreamcast connectivity, built-in horoscope and alarm clock, and it took 2AAs and lasted forever!

To top it all off, once the Neo Geo Pocket Color was released you'd think that the newer games wouldn't work on the older system. WRONG. The original Neo Geo Pocket was fully forward compatible with Neo Geo Pocket Color games. Games like Bust-a-Move changed the colours to shapes if you played it on the original system, and most other games didn't have a problem. Genius!

While the system sold quite well in Japan, it was barely even noticed in north America and Europe. Great system though. It sold an estimated 2 million units (that's the original and colour unit combined).


The Bandai WonderSwan
wonderswan.jpg

So what does a disgraced toy maker do after inventing a huge commercial flop that may or may not have been called the Virtual Boy? You make a new handheld, that's what!

While down, but certainly not out, Gunpey Yokoi moved out of Nintendo and started work on a new handheld called the WonderSwan. Later models would be the WonderSwan Color and the SwanCrystal. These strangely named systems were only released in Japan and coincided with Square's first remakes of the first two Final Fantasy games.

Interesting this about this system was that it could be flipped sideways for a longer screen, and there was a set of buttons there to accommodate the flipping.

The system did as well as could be expected in Japan with all those Game Boys around, but it's still a wonderful little system.


Housekeeping!!

So there is it, folks! A great generation for handhelds, with not much innovation. Kind of strange how the handheld market would soon become one of the more innovative ones in video gaming!

Don't forget to vote, and stay tuned next week for another exciting round!

Here are the brackets as the currently stand:
ConsoleClassic-round05bracket.jpg

Who will win? It could be you!*

*note: it can't be you.

EDIT: The poll is now closed. Results will be posted soon.
 
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Gahars

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The Game Boy Color was (as far as I can remember) the console that really got me into gaming growing up, so I'll give it my vote.

That being said, the Neo Geo Pocket does look pretty sweet.
 

431unknown

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Gotta vote VB even tho it was a massive fail. I love to pull that thing out of mothball and give myself eye strain and neck cramps once or twice a year.
 

xist

ΚΑΤΑ ΤΟΝ ΔΑΙΜΟΝΑ ΕΑΥΤΟΥ
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Nice stick NGP...shame about your somewhat iffy games library....

Surely this is a no contest round again...the Game Boy Colour, whilst not the most technically staggering, just boasts a much more solid catalogue of gaming fun that the others....plus battery life to go with it.
 

thaddius

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Whew. That's a relief! I was beginning to think no one cared about this gen!

Lucky thing, because instead of a tie breaking vote, I might have actually voted for the VB. :P
 

PolloDiablo

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Oh my! The almighty Game Boy Color! so many memories with that little console! Pokemon Red and Silver was my life during 1999! :lol:

Whoaho! I hope this doesn't remain a tie. That'd be awkward.
rest assured, the GBC will destroy everything :lol:

my prediction (not my favourites)
consoleclassicgen2.jpg
yeah, Im nostradamus
 

adamshinoda

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Surely a vote for the VB is a vote for blindness.
Been playing the thing for years and I'm not blind yet. Might as well say the 3DS'll make you go blind. Oh wait...
What? You own the Virtual Boy?

Sega Nomad battery lasts just 30 mins, that's new to me :lol: Seriously, how could Sega sell such a thing?
 

Schlupi

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This sexy game competition reminds me how much of an old school Nintendo fanboy I am. :mthr:

The GBC takes my vote. I had tons of fun on the Neo Geo Pocket though. Thing was amazing. My friend had the Game.com and Nomad, boy did they suck. I should get a Neo Geo Pocket again.
 

thaddius

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Well, well, well! Once again, Nintendo sweeps all competitors.
ConsoleClassicRound06-Results.png


Here are the brackets as they currently stand:
ConsoleClassic-round06bracket.jpg

Stay tuned for the next round which will be posted soon!
 

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