Saturday, April 6, 2013

5 Handhelds You've Never Heard Of

Game Pocket Computer


Released in 1984 exclusively in Japan (predating the Game Boy by 5 years), the Game Pocket Computer by Epoch was a commercial failure. Other than the built-in Paint and 11-Puzzle programs, only 5 games were released for it. It features an LCD screen with a resolution of 75x64 dots, and was the second handheld to use interchangeable game cartridges. These units are quite rare, and fetch hundreds on ebay when they do pop up.

digiBLAST


2005 marks the release of this beautiful piece of technology. The Nikko digiBLAST is neither a cassette player nor a toy spaceship, but a handheld marketed toward children as a multimedia device. It retailed for the European equivalent of approximately $90-100 and despite having a library toting popular licenses such as Pitfall, X-Men, and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, didn't fare so well, halting plans for an American release.

Supervision

Verschiedene Supervision-Versionen 

Released in 1992, the Watara Supervision (Quickshot Supervision [the bendy one] in the UK) was one of the many contenders to the Game Boy banished to obscurity due to its utter failure. It was geared toward frugal gamers, priced at a mere $50 with games retailing for only $15 each. Despite the cheap price tag, a blurry display and lack of quality games kept it from gaining a significant following.

Mega Duck/Cougar Boy

http://25.media.tumblr.com/lzHBTRNzqn01l4jppw3BLaZlo1_400.jpg

Released in 1993 in Europe as the Mega Duck and in South America, the Cougar Boy, it is a handheld probably unknown to most. Produced by Creatronic, Videojet, and Timlex, it's fairly similar to the Supervision but boasts a superior display. The Cougar Boy version is the rarer of the two and can get a bit pricey.

Microvision

  http://www.handheldmuseum.com/MB/MB-MicrovisionUS.jpg

The Microvision, released by Milton Bradley in 1979, was the first handheld to use interchangeable cartridges. Granted, calling them carts is a stretch as users were required to rip its entire FACE off in order to play something else. Designed by Jay Smith, the man who would later go on to create the Vectrex, it had a bright but short lifespan, grossing $8 million in its first year but wouldn't make it to '83 due to a lack of third party support. Only 13 games were released for the system

For better or for worse, the world of handhelds is surprisingly diverse. These are just a handful of handhelds obscured by time and their limited success, but it's always interesting to look at how it's all evolved over the years.

1 comments:

Heard of Microvision but not of the others, great article!

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