Game Boy vs Game Gear

Source: US Gamer

Here comes a new challenger!

1989, 6 years after the great video game crash, the first console war is raging. The NES is doing well in Japan and in the US, giving Nintendo an advantageous position on the market. Yet, a new confrontation is brewing.

A new front

Gunpei Yokoi, to whom we owe the Game and Watch and the D-pad, was head of Nintendo’s research and development division — the R&D1. With the assistance of Satoru Osada, Yokoi introduced a new portable device with interchangeable cartridges to replace the Game and Watch that counted only one game per unit.

Ball, the first Game & Watch. Source : ThePViana
From left to right: Nec’s PC Engine, ATARI’s LYNX and SEGA’s Game Gear. Source: Evan Amos
Source: SEGA

First out, first served.

The first reason is only a matter of chronology. The Game Boy is the first console to come out for this new portable generation. The short year that passed between its release and the Game Gear’s was enough to make it a standard to outperform. A gap that could have been closed if it hadn’t been widened by economic factors.

The right price

The technical specifications of “the brick” are genuinely inferior to the Game Gear’s, but it is precisely what enables Nintendo to offer a price that, literally, defies all competition. In the US, it’s sold at $89.99, to Sega’s $149.99. The company stays in the lead and will keep widening the already existing gap thanks to the surprising technology of its console.

Battery Low

Whereas Sega, Atari and Nec offered colored screens, Nintendo’s is monochrome. But this technology, seemingly “outdated”, turned out to be an asset. The console needs very little power and can run on 4 R6 batteries for fifteen hours. For its part, the Game Gear requires 6 similar batteries for an average play time of 3 hours. A hindrance that forces players to always stay close to a power source. Something that goes against everything a portative console is supposed to be!

The killer App

Source: Nintendo

Kareta gijutsu no suiheishikō

“Lateral thinking” is opposed to the fundamental “vertical thinking” of traditional logic. Instead of immediately ruling out the least realistic solutions, lateral thinking encourages the consideration of all ideas, even the most far-fetched. The goal is to free ourselves from the biases that form our traditional thought process in order to open new paths and enlarge the field of possibilities.



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