Sega Game Gear

System Overview

The Sega Game Gear was launched in North America in June 1991 as Sega’s answer to Nintendo’s wildly successful Game Boy. It was a full color, backlit portable console with a larger screen (3.2 squared inches versus the Game Boy’s 2) that packed a lot of punch for about, oh, 5 or 6 hours until your 6 AA batteries died. In 2009 prices, that’s $1+ an hour in just battery costs alone if you buy name brands! Luckily, you could use the wall adapter or any number of rechargable battery packs.

Once you decided how you’re going to power this device, things were actually pretty good overall. The Game Gear was essentially a portable Sega Master System (you could even buy the Master System Converter and play SMS games on it), so it allowed for fairly impressive looking portable games for the time. Many popular SMS games were ported to the tiny screen, and many popular Genesis games saw portable shenanigans unleashed on the Game Gear.

You’ll most often hear that the Game Gear was a failure, but it actually sold over 11 Million units. In comparison, Nokia’s N-Gage sold 3 million, SNK’s Neo Geo Pocket just 2 million, and Atari’s Lynx didn’t even manage 500,000 units.

Hardware Variations

As mentioned above, the Game Gear achieved some success during it’s life span. During this time, it received a few different models in different parts of the world. One thing to note is that the Game Gear and Master System were region-free systems. You can play any game published from anywhere in the world.

Pictures and information on the various models coming soon!

Accessories

Pictures and itemization coming soon! For now, I’ve got a basic run down.

Rechargeable batteries – Probably the most important accessory for a Game Gear owner to pick up was a rechargeable battery pack. Without it, your Game Gear would eat through 6 AA (that’s SIX) batteries in about 3 to 6 hours. Yeah, you read that right! That $20-30 rechargeable battery pack looks pretty good now, doesn’t it?

TV Tuner – The most unique accessory was most likely the TV Tuner. With this thing plugged into your cartridge slot, you could tune into any broadcast station that the antenna could pick up. Portable TVs were pretty cool back then, and one that doubled as a game console were even cooler!

Master Gear Converter – The next coolest accessory? The Master Gear converter! You plug it into your cart slot and then plug almost any Sega Master System game into it. Pretty sweet, even though it added on more weight to go with your rechargeable battery pack!

Gear to Gear link cable – This cable would hook up two Game Gears for multiplayer games. You would need a cable, two systems, and two copies of the same game to achieve this, though.

Super Wide Gear – The Game Gear was gifted with these ridiculous magnifiers to help enlarge the action on the screen.

AC and Car Adapters – If you had the Sega brand rechargeable battery pack, the charging adapter could power the unit while it was plugged in.

Carrying case – Like all handhelds of the day, the Game Gear received a number of different soft carrying cases to hold a Game Gear, adapter, and a number of games in. The best carrying case was the official Sega case, which was pretty sturdy and had separated compartments for it all.

FAQs

Sly’s Game Gear FAQ – Last updated in 1998.

Modifications

Video Output – Includes pictures of the finished product as well as schematics and notes.

Handy Gear – The ultimate Game Gear! Includes photos of the finished product, but no step by step instructions. Check out a video of it here.

RGB SCART – Instructions on adding SCART out to your Game Gear.

VGA Out – Another video output mod, with some troubleshooting info as well.

TV Gear – A Japanese modded game gear with external pad and video out.

Game Gear System – A Japanese modder makes an entirely un-portable Game Gear that looks slick as hell!

Emulation

For Game Gear emulation on a personal computer, Kega should be more than adequate for you. It’s easy to setup and works great on Windows, Linux, and Mac. It also emulates Genesis, Sega CD, Sega 32X, Pico, and Sega’s various early Japanese computers. Definitely worth setting up and checking out!

You can play Game Gear games on your Dreamcast! Check out the port of SMSPlus. Or maybe you want to play them on a hacked Wii? There’s SMSPlus for that too!

If you have an Android phone, then the only emulator I’ve used is Gearoid, which still seems to be the best available.

Looking for an iOS emulator? I have no experience with it, but iMasterGear is evidently decent.

Related SegaFans Pages

Game Gear Games – Our index of Game Gear games, with information and media.

The Best Sega Game Gear Games – Our listing of the best that the handheld battery slayer has to offer.

SegaFans Game Gear Forum – Discuss the Game Gear with other Sega fans!