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The Game Gear (ゲームギア Gēmu Gia) was one of Sega's two handheld consoles. It was essentially a handheld Master System. It was in color, unlike the rival Nintendo Game Boy. Although very popular, the Sega Game Gear was blown away by the Game Boy (released 1989) The Game Boy was less expensive and more practical for portable uses. Sonic Drift 2, the first Sonic racing game sold in the United States, was a Game Gear exclusive. Like the SMS, the Game Gear received all Sonic Games including the SMS/SGG exclusive Sonic Chaos. It was succeeded by the Sega Genesis Nomad. Also unlike the Game Boy, the Game Gear required no attached light source, as it generated its own light.


  • AC adapter- the adapter that allowed the user to use a wall outlet instead of batteries
  • Battery pack- a portable attachment that lasted longer than the usual six batteries. Its disadvantage, however, is that it is the size, weight, and (interestingly) shape of a potato.
  • TV-Tuner- an attachment that was designed to provide radio and television stations
  • Gear-to-Gear cable- attached two Game Gear for multiplayer
  • Powerback- another charger for the Game Gear that goes on the back of the game gear to allow it to operate longer and charges with a Sega Gensis model 2 power adapter.


Despite being one of the most popular handheld video gaming consoles, the Game Gear was plagued with few problems. Because of its advanced technology compared to the Game Boy, the price was higher. The battery pack was almost essential as the system otherwise used the six batteries in fewer than six hours. The Game Gear is also very large, so it is akward to easily fit into your pocket.

Remakes, Ports and Emulation

Majesco released a core version of the Game Gear in 2000 for a reduced price. The Majesco Core Game Gear differed slightly from the original Game Gear in that it was black and had a purple start button rather than dark grey and a blue start button, the logo on the front of the unit was no longer in color, and it did not support the television tuner accessory. Its screen had a better refresh rate than the original model. It also had a somewhat better speaker that did not distort as much when played loudly. It was part of Majesco's strategy of eking profits from products with margins too slim for the original manufacturer to pursue, and was accompanied by Majesco's licensed reissue of several classic Game Gear cartridges. Majesco-reissued cartridges are distinguished by having no plastic case, and a Majesco Sales logo on the label, as well as the current games ratings system, which differs slightly from the one formerly used by Sega. The Majesco logo was not prominent, and these were marketed under the Sega name.

The Game Gear was rereleased in a smaller handheld form factor in late 2006. This small handheld device was powered by 3 AAA batteries, had a brighter active matrix screen, and contained 20 Game Gear and Sega Master System games. It was released under several brands including Coleco and PlayPal.

The Game Gear, though not as successful as its main competitor the Nintendo Game Boy, still has a cult following and thus ports and emulations have been made. The Game Gear versions of most of the Sonic the Hedgehog titles can be found on Sonic Mega Collection Plus, some being found only on Sonic Gems Collection. Some games are unlockables for recent Sonic titles such as Sonic Adventure.

Technical specifications

  • Main processor: Zilog Z80 (8-bit)
  • Processor speed: 3.58 MHz (same as NTSC dot clock)
  • Resolution: 160 x 146 pixels
  • Colors available: 4,096
  • Colors on screen: 32
  • Maximum sprites: 64
  • Sprite size: 8x8 or 8x16
  • Screen size: 3.2 inches (81 mm)
  • Audio: 3 square wave generators, 1 noise generator, the system has a mono speaker, but stereo sound can be had via headphone input.
  • RAM: 24 KB
  • Power:
    • internal: 6 AA batteries
    • external: 9V DC, 300mA, 3W
  • Physical:
    • dimensions: 210 x 113 x 38 mm
    • weight: 400g
Sega Handhelds Sega Mega Jet
Game Gear · Sega Mega Jet · Sega Nomad · Game Gear Micro