Retro Game Consoles – Sega Game Gear


Sega Game Gear
1989-1997

Sega’s Game Gear is a handheld gaming device released by Sega in 1990 in Japan, following in 1991 to North America and to Australia in 1992. The Game Gear received modest results with 11 million units sold, a far cry from the 120 or so million the Game Boy handheld device has sold over the years, but enough to pay for itself before being discontinued in 1997

Sega Game Gear

Above: Sega Game Gear

The Sega Game Gear was designed as a portable version of the Sega Master System as much as possible. For obvious reasons, it has a smaller screen resolution, but this offers an advantage in that it allows for a greater colour pallet.

Technical Specifications

The Sega Game Gear has a screen display of 160 x 144, which is comparable to the Nintendo Game Boy. It has 4096 available colours, with no more than 32 colours on screen at once. Memory is 8KB while video memory is 16KB. The Zilog processor, Z80, ran a respectable 3.58 MHz and is the same chip used in some 8-bit computers including the ZX SPectrum and MSX.

Zilog Z80 Processor

Above: Zilog Z80 Processor

Game Gear Game Selection

The Game Gear had over 400 titles released crossing many different genres. As such, it had broad appeal, but still could not garner enough sales. Until Apple released the iPhone and other iOS devices, Nintendo had a good solid lock on the portable market.

Game Gear Issues

Many complaints were that the Game Gear will not turn on or dies after a few hours. Many of these complaints were not so much an issue with the device, but due mainly to it using a lot of power. It was not uncommon for batteries to die after only three hours of use. If the batteries are still good, try reseating them.

People also complained about sound issues. Most of these were as result on using an incompatible stereo connector.