Console/System of the Month (June 2017) – 8/16 Bit Handhelds – Sega Game Gear

My third and final handheld system for the month of June is the Sega Game Gear. Released in 1991, the Game Gear came out during Sega’s brief reign of power in the early 90’s. Back when Sonic ruled and Sega could do no wrong in the public eye, the Game Gear was released with high expectations. By ’91, Nintendo’s GameBoy was dominating the handheld wars, the Atari Lynx & Turbo Express were floundering in spite of their technical prowess, and the Sega Genesis was actually winning the console wars with Nintendo. It would appear to be a perfect time for Sega to jump into the fray. The result? A moderately successful system with some great games and great tech but ultimately never overtook Nintendo’s dominance.

I bought my Game Gear and majority of the games I currently own for the system in the early 2000’s. I played it for a bit, thought it was cool and put it away. I knew from reading reviews and playing my cousin’s briefly as a kid that the GG was a battery chomping monster. A full color backlit screen was a technical marvel at the time but it certainly didn’t make it any more portable unless you had a car charger or a huge brick of AA batteries. I made sure my GG purchase came with an AC adapter for plug and play at home and that would be sufficient. I just couldn’t see myself whipping out my GG on my next work related plane ride. After getting my initial enjoyment from the system, I put it away and didn’t bring it back out of storage until shortly before this blog post. I was not surprised to find out that my GG had died and was the result of failed capacitors. The GG was prone to fail thanks to the manufacturing process of the capacitors used to meet some FCC regulations at the time. I had made an attempt to fix myself by buying a new set of caps and solder pen but the precision required to remove and replace all of the capacitors proved to be too challenging for my inexperienced hand. What else could a GG fan and former owner do? Buy a re-capped Game Gear online! The version of the Game Gear I now own is completely re-capped with a replaced screen and it looks great! Now to replay the games I have owned for many years and enjoy my purchase.

Currently in my collection:

  • Game Gear (recapped and beautiful) w/ AC adapter

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