The Dreamcast, Sega’s last official hardware released worldwide, just turned 20 this year. Let’s take a look back on this influential but ultimately ill-fated console, looking at the hardware, the games and it’s impact on video gaming as a whole.
Sega has been a long standing fixture within both the arcade and home console market with a string of hits ranging from racing games to flying games and mascot Staples like Sonic the Hedgehog. Sega had much success with their superior scaling technology in games such as After Burner and Outrun as well as in the home with the massively successful Sega Genesis. Partially due to their stellar marketing and knowing their American audience. A string of lackluster home consoles and bad business moves came after though with the launch of the Sega CD, 32X and Saturn most of which barely lasted more than a few years. Consumer confidence in Sega was pretty low. And then something big happened.
The Gameboy just recently had it’s 30th anniversary and I thought it would be a good idea to reflect on the influential handheld system. The Gameboy, created by developer Gunpei Yokoi, helmed the design and overall decisions for the new handheld released summer of 1989. Technology wise, the system wasn’t the most advanced, wasn’t the most svelte and certainly didn’t look the prettiest compared to the competition. But those facts are the reasons why it was so successful. It’s considerable size and boxy aesthetic allowed it to have durability. The 4 shade, black and white green LCD screen allowed it to have incredible battery life. Game developers learned to work within the handheld’s constraints and create some real beauty.
From the franchise mainstay Pokémon to Final Fantasy Legend series to Link’s Awakening, these games were more than just paired down console and arcade counterparts. They were full fledged adventures. Games that where wholly new experiences that one could take on the go and play anywhere. Nintendo broke ground, they saw opportunity in a new market. One where their smart decisions and innovation could dominate the field of handheld gaming.
From summer of 1989 to the end of 1999, the original gray Gameboy, product name DMG-01, the Nintendo born handheld stood the test of time. When color screens and higher rez experiences came on the market, the Gameboy stood strong. It’s crazy large lineup of games and incredible battery kept it staple in kids backpacks and parents cars. So here’s to the Gameboy, celebrating 30th years of gaming history.