Sega decided that they wanted to take a bite out of Nintendo's Game Boy sales and came up with essentially a portable Sega Master System. Sporting 4000+ colors and a backlight, Sega unleashed the Game Gear (known as Project Mercury in the Sega Planetary Projects) upon the world in 1991 for a price of $159.99 (with no pack-in game). The unit required six AA batteries and lasted for roughly six hours before requiring new ones. The unit is held lengthwise and features a control pad, two action buttons, and a Start button. 99% of the units were black in coloring, although Japan did receive a shipment of white models briefly, and a golden jeweled model was auctioned off for charity once. Here are the unit's specs:
  • Main Processor: Z-80 (8-bit)
  • Processor Speed: 3.58 MHz
  • Resolution: 160 x 146
  • Colors Available: 4,096
  • Colors on screen: 32
  • Maximum Sprites: 64
  • Sprite Size: 8x8
  • Screen Size: 3.2 Inches
  • Audio: 4-lyr
  • RAM: 24K

Many of the games that were released for the Sega Genesis hit the stores along with their portable equivalents. Some games tried to be identical ports, such as Earthworm Jim and Ristar, while others were new games altogether, such as Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble, while others still were games ported over from the Sega Master System, such as Sonic the Hedgehog. Using the Sega Master System specs enabled developers to port over their 8-bit projects with ease, and Sega hoped this attribute would attract developers. The final kind of games for the unit were games that originally debuted on the Nintendo Entertainment System that had been reworked for the Game Gear, such as Battletoads and, yes, Mega Man.

Sega released several peripherals for the unit including a TV tuner that plugged into the cartridge slot and allowed gamers to watch broadcast television on the little color backlit LCD screen. The Game Gear itself outlived the tuner by several years, as Sega shut down production on the tuner after demand for it never materialized. Some blamed the high price of the tuner, while others avoided it due to the poor quality of what was obviously a gimmick.

While the Game Gear did moderately well in the USA and Europe, the system never met the company's goals in Japan and Nintendo continued to win the handheld gaming war. Sega did manage to trump the TurboExpress unit, a portable version of the Turbografx-16, but in the end they pulled the plug on their first and last portable 8-bit gaming unit in 1996. Sega tried their hand at portability again with the Nomad and the Sega CDX machines in the ensuing years, again with limited success. Your best bet for finding a working Game Gear and games for it would be online auctions or used game stores. Failing that there are a number of working emulators that can recreate some of the portable 8-bit classics.

Sega Game Gear Game List

Adventures of Batman and Robin 
Andre Agassi Tennis 
Arcade Classics 
Arena: Maze of Death 
Ariel: The Little Mermaid 
Asterix and the Great Rescue 
Ax Battler: A Legend of Golden Axe 
Baku Baku 
Batman Forever 
Batman Returns 
Beavis & Butthead 
Berenstein Bears 
Blackjack-Poker Face Paul 
Bugs Bunny in Double Trouble 
Bust A Move 
Caesar's Palace 
Captain America 
Castle of Illusion 
Championship Football and Baseball 
Cheese Catastraphe - Speedy Gonzales 
Chicago Syndicate 
Chuck Rock 
Crystal Warriors 
Deep Duck Trouble starring Donald Duck 
Desert Speedtrap 
Desert Strike 
Disney's Aladdin 
Disney's Bonkers Wax Up! 
Disney's Lion King 
Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine 
Dragon: Bruce Lee 
Dragon Crystal 
Dynamite Headdy 
Earthworm Jim 
Ecco 2 Tides of Time 
Ecco the Dolphin 
Evander "Real Deal" Holyfield's Boxing 
Fantasy Zone 
FIFA International Soccer 
FIFA Soccer '96 
Foreman Boxing 
Formula One 
Fred Couples Golf 
G-Loc Air Battle 
Game Genie (cheating device) 
Garfield: Caught in the Act 
George Foreman 
Gin-Poker Face Paul 
GP Rider 
Greendog The Beached Surfer Dude 
High Speed II 
Incredible Hulk 
Indiana Jones 
Iron Man X/O 
The Itchy and Scratchy Game 
Joe Montana 
John Madden '95 
Judge Dredd 
Jungle Strike 
Jurassic Park 
Last Action Hero 
Leader Board 
Legend of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse 
Lost World: Jurassic Park 
Lucky Dime Caper 
Madden '96 
Majors Pro Baseball 
Mega Man
MLBPA Baseball 
Mickey Mouse: Castle of Illusion 
Mickey Mouse: Ultimate 
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers 
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie 
Mortal Kombat 
Mortal Kombat II 
NBA Action starring David Robinson 
NBA Jam 
NBA Jam Tournament Edition 
NFL '95 
NFL Quarterback Club 
NFL Quarterback Club '96 
NHL All-Star Hockey '95 
NHL Hockey '96 
Ninja Gaiden 
Out Run Europa 
PGA Tour Golf 
PGA Tour Golf '96 
Phantom 2040 
Poker Face Paul's Blackjack 
Poker Face Paul's Gin 
Poker Face Paul's Poker 
Poker Face Paul's Solitaire 
Primal Rage 
Psychic World 
Putt & Putter 
The Quest for the Shaven Yak starring Ren & Stimpy 
RBI Baseball 
Real Deal Boxing 
Return of the Jedi 
Revenge of Drancon 
Riddick Bowe Boxing 
Samurai Shodown 
Scratch Golf 
Shining Force: The Sword of Hajya 
Shinobi 2 
Bartman Meets Radioactive Man 
Smash TV 
Solitaire Funpak  
Sonic Blast 
Sonic Chaos 
Sonic Drift 
Sonic Drift 2 / Sonic Drift Racing
Sonic Labyrinth 
Sonic the Hedgehog 
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 
Sonic Chaos / Sonic and Tails
Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble / Sonic and Tails 2
Sonic Two-in-One 
Sonic Spinball 
Space Harrier 
Speedy Gonzales 
Spiderman: Sinister 6 
Sports Trivia Championship Edition 
Star Trek: TNG 
Star Trek Generations 
Star Wars 
Streets of Rage 
Streets of Rage 2 
Strider III 
Strider Returns 
Super Columns 
Super Golf 
Super Monaco GP 
Super Monaco GP 2 
Super Return of the Jedi 
Super Smash TV 
Super Space Invaders 
Surf Ninjas 
Tails' Adventure 
Tails' Sky Patrol
Taz: Escape from Mars 
Tempo Jr. 
Tom and Jerry: The Movie 
USHRA Truck Wars 
VR Troopers 
Virtua Fighter Animation 
Wheel of Fortune 
Wimbledon Tennis 
Winter Olympic Games 
Woody Pop 
World Cup Soccer 
World Cup USA '96 
World Series Baseball 
World Series Baseball '95 
WWF Raw 
WWF Steel Cage 
X-Men Game Masters Legacy 
X-Men: Mojo World 


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