Game Gear was the system that made me a gamer. I knew about video games
before that of course. I inherited my uncle’s Mattel Electronics
Football II game from the 70’s, and I had seen commercials for
the NES, Super NES and even the Sega Master System, but I never had a
serious interest in electronic games until I saw a commercial for Sonic
the Hedgehog on Genesis.
I remember seeing the commercial and telling my mom about it right
away. It wasn’t the game itself that caught my attention, but the
character of Sonic, as I already liked cartoons and Sonic the Hedgehog
was in essence a very classic cartoon character. I was so confused that
I actually thought the game was called “Sega the Hedgehog”
at first, and Mom had to set me straight.
I never actually asked for a video game system, I tended not to ask for
things. In fact I don’t even remember wanting a Genesis, I just
thought that Sonic was cool and then went about my business watching
Shining Time Station and Steampipe Alley.
My mom was an actress, and from when I was a baby up until I was six
years old Mom would often take me into Manhattan so I could audition
for commercials and print work in which children were needed. I had
seen Game Gear and Game Boy being played by other children in the
waiting room, and Mom decided that would be a great thing for me to
have to keep me entertained during the long waits that would sometimes
happen during the audition sessions.
1993, I decided that I wanted dreadlocks like my uncle. It helped
having a dad who was a professional hair stylist and a long time family
friend who was willing to do my hair.
It happened at that family friend’s house the evening when I was
getting my hair braided for the first time. I was bored, like a five
year old would be sitting in a chair for what seemed an eternity,
though I was willing to do it of course since I wanted dreadlocks and I
knew what I would be in for.
Dad presented me with a Game Gear cartridge for Sonic the Hedgehog.
After a cute moment in which I attempted to turn on and play the
game cartridge, Dad handed me the Game Gear system itself, and I pretty
much understood what to do from there.
Playing Sonic the Hedgehog for the first time was an incredible
experience. All the colors and the catchy music, it was like a cartoon
that I was in complete control of, and I was the hero, and there was a
villain I had to face that was transforming animals into robots!
Incredibly despite having never played a video game before it took me
only several tries to reach the first boss fight with Dr. Robotnik and
defeat him. I felt so excited and accomplished, and then to discover
that the Green Hill Zone was only the first of many themed zones
leading up to a final confrontation, it was totally thrilling.
In the Game Gear version of Sonic the Hedgehog, the second zone is a
place called the Bridge Zone, which is completely different from the
Genesis version’s Marble Zone with its lava pits and
Bridge Zone was a sunny land like Green Hill, with lots of platform
jumping and collapsing bridges. There were these weighted scales in Bridge Zone
that you had to have Sonic bounce on repeatedly in order to get enough
height to continue. I think Dad had to help me figure that out though.
I soon discovered the Special Stage boards where valuable Continues and
extra lives could be obtained, essential for a small child like myself
hoping to see more of the game before the inevitable Game Over came
I never realized that the Special Stage was accessed by completing a
level with 50 or more rings, I just thought it was a random result of
spinning the bonus panel at the end of the level.
night in the back seat of the car driving home I looked through the
promotional pamphlet that came with the system, I was wowed by the
selection of games and accessories, especially the Game Gear TV Tuner,
which sadly is now useless due to the switch to all digital
broadcasting in the US that took place only three days ago at the time
I’m writing this.
I had a cool and very huge case to carry my Game Gear and all
its games and accessories, and it became a constant companion on
audition trips and long car rides.
There was something very innocent about gaming back then, in large part
because I was a child, but also just because of the nature of gaming in
general at the time.
I never complained about the graphics and sound being any less than
those on the Genesis version, to me the only difference aside from the
level selection was that one played on the TV and the other played on a
handheld. I never complained about having to start my game over from
the beginning every time I switched the system off either, the idea of
a save battery was no where in my realm of expectation.
I was also too young to complain about the difficulty either. Only on
occasion did I have the available time and required luck to get up to
the third world,
the Jungle Zone, but I never considered myself bored or upset playing
those same levels over and over and never making any real progress at
beating the game. I never thought about winning, only about having fun.
We moved in 1994 and for the first time we had cable television in the home,
which most importantly enabled me to watch Nickelodeon. I remember
watching the show Nick Arcade and playing Sonic the Hedgehog on my Game
Gear whenever a contestant
on the show had to play the Genesis version, and pretend that I was on the show myself.
In hindsight, growing up with the Game Gear version of Sonic, with
its esoteric levels like the Bridge Zone and Jungle Zone,
its lack of loop-de-loops, slower paced gameplay, and vertical
scrolling and auto-scrolling levels in the second and third Zones, my
concept of a Sonic game was probably much different than people who
grew up with the Genesis games.
The Game Gear version also had a much cooler and upbeat boss battle
theme for the Dr. Robotnik encounters that was absent from the Genesis
version. The tune is fairly obscure since the Game Gear version played
second fiddle to the Genesis original, but to me, it will always be the
theme music I associate with Dr. Robotnik.
Only my older brother could beat Sonic the Hedgehog, and only by
peeking over his shoulder and watching him play could I ever see the
Labyrinth Zone, the Scrap Brain Zone, the Sky Base Zone and of course
the final battle with Dr. Robotnik. I never beat Sonic the Hedgehog
myself. It’s still a pretty tough game.
the night I received my Game Gear, I was given two game cartridges. The
first was Sonic the Hedgehog, and the second was a game whose title
consisted of two words I had never seen before, Mortal
Kombat. Dad had to explain to me what “mortal
I was never into the more “macho” cartoons like GI Joe, or
violent movies, and my parents strictly banned all gun related toys
from my toybox, even water pistols, so getting me Mortal Kombat as one
of my first video
games along side the bright and cheerful Sonic the Hedgehog seems like
strange choice in hindsight.
The first thing I remember about Mortal Kombat was all the developer
logos, title screens, and introductory text the game forced you to sit
through before you could select your fighter and start playing the
Every time you turned on the system, the game would display this message,
WORD “CODE” HAS MANY DIFFERENT DEFINITIONS. THE SHAOLIN
MARTIAL ARTS TOURNAMENT IS GOVERNED BY A SYSTEM OF RULES OF
CONDUCT…AN ETHICAL CODE.
THE COMBATANTS RESPECT EACH OTHER AS WARRIORS, NO MATTER WHAT DEGREE OF HATRED THEY HAVE FOR ONE ANOTHER...A CODE OF HONOR.
ANOTHER TYPE OF CODE COULD BE DEFINED
AS AN ARBITRARY SYSTEM OF SYMBOLS OR LETTERS FOR TRANSMITTING
MESSAGES… A SECRET CODE. MORTAL KOMBAT ADHERES TO MANY CODES,
BUT DOES IT CONTAIN ONE?
code of honor and respect is Mortal Kombat governed by? What’s
respectful or honerable about decapitating, immolating, devouring, or
demolishing already defeated opponents with brutal Fatality moves? All
this message turned out to be was a prompt to enter the blood code,
which I never cared much about, as I was more concerned with the
gameplay than the gore, though I do admit it was fun to watch my
brother light his opponents heads on fire after winning a match. Why
waste time with big speech about the meaning of the word
not just let the player enter in the blood code at the title screen?
I thought it was cool that Scorpion and Sub Zero were almost the same
person with different colored clothes. I made up a scenario that
Scorpion and Sub Zero were brothers and rivals.
I also through Rayden was awesome, and in fact I was totally convinced
that Rayden from Mortal Kombat was a character in the film Big Trouble
in Little China.
Goro was one of my favorite characters for no reason other than the
fact that he had four arms. I never understood why a fusion between a
human and a dragon would just be a guy with four arms since dragons
don’t have six limbs to begin with.
never knew any of the special moves or fatalities, but watching my
brother beat the game was loads of fun, and this rinky-dink version of
Mortal Kombat was enough to make me want to see the Mortal Kombat movie
when it came out.
All I remember about the Mortal Kombat movie was that Reptile was in
it, which was awesome because Reptile was yet another palate switch of
Scorpion and Sub Zero, and that there was this awesome scene where Goro
crushes Johnny Cage's sunglasses and Cage says something like, "Those
were 300 dollar sunglasses asshole!", which was the first time I heard
that word in my life, which I’m sure my parents were
Despite my parents buying Mortal Kombat for me on the Game Gear as one
of my first games when I was five, Mom was outraged when she watched me
and Dad play Mortal Kombat 64 years later when I was nine. She
wasn’t upset by the blood and gore, but threw a fit when she saw
the “Babality” finishing move that turned the opponent into
You would think the violent, gruesome Fatality moves would upset a
parent much more than a magic spell that turns your enemies into
babies, but Mom thought that because the character the move was used on
was Sonya, a woman, that the game was being sexist and saying that her
death was a “Babe-ality”, which upset my mom so much that
she wouldn’t let me play Mortal Kombat 64 anymore and even
wouldn’t let me clarify what a Babality really meant. Luckily it
was just a rental, so I wasn't stuck with a game I couldn't play.
This was one of only three times when my parents censored my gaming
habits, and the second two were just as odd and unexpected. The second
was when Dad made me stop playing South Park for
Nintendo 64 because of the in-game swearing (which was bleeped out by
the way), which was strange because
he had already taken me to see the South Park movie that featured
150 uses of the F word alone, and let me watch the South Park tv show
on Comedy Central. The third time was when Mom wouldn't let me play
Need for Speed Hot Persuit because the game was about running away from
police, even though the "persuit" was not at all realistic and took
place on an enclosed race course, yet she had no problem with me
playing the way more realistic and violent Grand Theft Auto
games, so go figure.
Incidentally, as a kid I always loved that there was a Friendship move
in the Mortal Kombat games, I was and still am a supporter of
Sonic and Mortal Kombat, the next Game Gear game I received was Ayrton
Senna’s Super Monaco GP II. I never asked for this game, nor did
I know or care who Ayrton Senna was, what “Monaco” was,
what “GP” stood for, what was so “super” about
it, or that there was a previous game in the series.
This game’s introduction and menus were littered by pixelated,
flickering digitized photographs of who I’m assuming is Ayrton
Senna, who I still know nothing about other than that I’m
assuming that he’s a race car driver and that for some reason he
felt compelled to put his name, image, and even his digitized signature
all over this unimpressive racing game.
may have been a good game for racing fans at the time it came out, but
as far as I was concerned there was nothing much going for it other
than to serve as a distraction for when I wasn’t playing Sonic. I
didn’t even realize that you could shift gears or anything, and
for no real reason at all half the screen is taken up by a huge map
showing a red dot and a yellow dot which I guess are the positions of
the players car and the computer controlled opponent car, though I
still can’t figure out which is which. The Game Gear's screen is
small enough as it is, why do we need a map over half of the playing
I mainly remember this as the game I would play when I was bored out of
my mind and sick of Sonic for the moment, and would go on a spree
trying to run over the “garbage cans” on the side of the track.
Returns is one of the few Game Gear games I still own the cartridge
for, yet I nearly totally forgot I even had this game until I began to
gather my memories together in preparation for this feature.
I wanted to see Batman Returns for one reason only, because there was a
McDonalds toy with Catwoman in this purple car that had a cat tail
behind it that wagged when the car’s wheels moved. For the same
reason that I was fascinated with windmills, I thought the cat tail
wagging car was awesome. I was
disappointed when Catwoman didn’t actually have this car in the
movie when my parents took me to see in in a theatre.
All I remember of Batman Returns from when I was a kid was that Penguin
was a disgusting freak who was constantly vomiting black ooze and
biting people, and that all Catwoman ever did was fall out of
skyscraper windows, get molested by alley cats, and run around doing
backflips. I haven’t seen Batman Returns since then, so I really
can’t say if my childhood memories serve me well or not, but
regardless, I was disappointed.
definitely didn’t ask my parents for the Batman Returns video
game for Game Gear, in fact I don’t even remember even receiving
it, I just know that one day I suddenly had this game that I really
didn’t like all that much. Playing the game again for the first
time since then, I can say that in my opinion it sucks, though I
can’t say that definitively since I never played or enjoyed side
scrolling beat-em-ups to begin with.
My main memories of Batman Returns for Game Gear is an introduction
with a woman jumping off a building and the Penguin framing Batman. I
really don’t remember if this was even in the movie, but
that’s how the game started out. Then I’d start playing,
and jump around getting beaten up by bad guys and trying to figure out
the controls, then I’d die, and I’d get sick of it and play
There was no negative “this game sucks >:(“ sort of
thinking for me back then, if I played a game and I didn’t like
it, I would just stop playing and pop in a cartridge I liked.
the first three zones of Sonic the Hedgehog got tiring after a while.
After I saw a few of my friends who had Game Gear playing Sonic the
Hedgehog 2, I had to have it, and through I don’t remember
actually asking my parents for it, they did end up getting it for me.
Sonic 2 had Tails in it, who I heard of from the Adventures of Sonic
the Hedgehog cartoon I’d watch every morning before going to
Kindergarten, and the awesome saturday morning Sonic the Hedgehog show
I’m still in love with to this day.
Unfortunately, all you saw of Tails in Sonic 2 was an intro scene with
him getting kidnapped by Dr. Robotnik. Sonic and Tails would also be
seen together in the title cards for each of the levels, which I
thought was a huge rip off because Tails was never playable, nor did he
follow you around like he could in the Genesis version. If Tails was
kidnapped before the game even started, how could he be with Sonic in the title cards to each level
It was exciting to finally have a whole new environment and world to
guide Sonic through. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 began in a cave/mine themed
world called the Under Ground Zone with speeding minecarts to ride around in. The Crabmeat enemies now had a red
and blue color scheme, which I thought was a cool change at the time.
were mine carts to ride around in, and the instruction manual I got to
preview all the cool worlds I would visit and vehicles I would get to
ride in. Scrambled Egg Zone, Sky High Zone with its hang
gliders, Gimmick Mountain Zone’s giant flywheels, and most
exciting of all, the re-appearance of Green Hill Zone, which I hoped
would have the same music from the Green Hill Zone in the first game.
Unfortunately, for a game I got hoping to explore new worlds, I could
never even make it past the first world. I was unfamiliar with the
“roll” move, so there was a certain spot in the third act
of the first zone that I thought was a dead end and required you to
jump into lava and die so you could start the level over.
At the end of the Zone 1 Act 3, Dr. Robotnik would save Sonic from
falling into a pit of lava, but only to throw him into a death trap
with a giant crab and falling rocks, which was the first Zone’s
I tried everything possible to attack the crab boss, it would only end
in me getting a game over. Years later while watching videos on YouTube
of people playing Sonic 2, I come to find out that
you aren’t even supposed to attack the boss, all you’re
supposed to do is avoid the boulders and eventually the boss just
explodes and you go on to the second Zone.
Not only is that a bit of an advanced strategy for a six year old
novice gamer to figure out, but simply avoiding the falling boulders is
hard as heck.
Yesterday I played through Sonic 2 to take some screenshots, and
just avoiding the boulders long enough for the boss to be destroyed is
a challenge, even with all my years of gaming experience. It may have
taken me over thirty tries to survive the boss of Under Ground Zone so
I could take some screenshots of the second world, and keep in mind
that this was using cheats so I wouldn’t need to start from the
beginning every time I died.
And that was only the first boss. I could only imagine how much harder the game gets after that.
2 for me was a disappointment because not only was Tails not playable,
but the game was too hard to even get past the first Zone, and I ended
up losing interest. I still think of the game fondly, because after
playing the heck out of Sonic 1, any new Sonic gameplay was a welcome
Once, and only once, I watched my brother somehow get past the first
boss of Sonic 2 (he had no idea how he did it either) and I got to see
a few seconds of him playing the Sky High Zone and even using the hang
glider item (which I always thought looked like candy corn) for a
moment before losing his last life. I would never see the Sky High Zone
again until watching videos of it on Youtube, and I’d never get
to play it for myself until just yesterday when I played through the
first act of it to take screenshots.
Though I only saw my brother play Sky High Zone for a few moments, the catchy tune of that world stayed with me for years after.
next game I remember on Game Gear was Chakan the Forever Man. I really
know nothing about Chakan other than that there was also a Genesis
version of this game that I never even did any research about.
I don’t even remember how I got this game, because I sure
didn’t ask for it. I probably got it in a stash of games my aunt
gave me that were auctioned off from a lost and found from the airline
she worked for, because Chakan included an instruction manual, as did
many of the other games I got from my aunt, but I never remembered
owning a box for it.
best as I could remember, Chakan was about some kind of zombie cowboy
with swords who was trying to become immortal or something like that.
The game’s title screen would say things like “your task
will be mental” or “your task will be wicked”,
which I guess was a colorful way of choosing the difficulty level, but
now it just sounds like how the kids at the skate park near my
brother’s middle school used to talk.
The game starts off in an “overworld” type area where you
can wander around and collect different potions that the manual
referred to as “alchmehmies” that you could mix in the
Start sub-screen to upgrade your weapons, though I never fully figured
out how that worked I thought it was cool that you could choose how to
power yourself up as you played through the game.
I never got far at all in Chakan, all I remember is going into a level,
getting beaten up until I died, and then losing interest and quitting.
I remember once doing a first or second grade “book report”
on the Chakan instruction manual and somehow getting a passing grade
maxing out my potential in Sonic 1 and the disappointingly difficult
Sonic 2, I was rearing for an all new Sonic adventure I could truly
enjoy. I heard of Sonic Chaos, I even saw a kid at school playing it on
his Game Gear during lunch time once, but I somehow never really
realized that this game was pretty much exactly what I wanted from
Sonic 2, as in Sonic Chaos you could play as Sonic or Tails.
I might have even wrongly assumed it was a Sonic themed puzzle game or
something like that. Either way, Sonic Chaos was never really even on
my radar as a game I wanted.
I remember the hype for Sonic 3 for Genesis, and all the excitement
about the new character Knuckles. I never had any desire for a home
game console, as Game Gear more than satisfied me, but I was excited
about Knuckles and wanted a new Sonic game for Game Gear with Knuckles
Sonic Triple Trouble (which was actually the sequel to Sonic Chaos) was
played up in the gaming magazines of the time as being the Game Gear
counterpart to Sonic 3 on Genesis, which is true in many ways, as they
both featured Knuckles, and Sonic and Tails were both playable characters.
really don’t remember handheld games being hyped up the the way
Sonic Triple Trouble was until years later with the arrival of advanced
handhelds like the Nintendo DS and Playstation Portable. Once home game
consoles went 3-D and left Gameboy and Game Gear behind in their
“obsolete, 2-D world”, the gaming magazines and sites that didn’t specialize in handhelds began to treat
portable systems as the “other sister” of the gaming
universe and not take them seriously.
When the previews for Sonic Triple Trouble were coming out in
magazines, my brother told me that the backstory for the game was about
Dr. Robotnik losing his legs in an explosion following a failed
experiment caused by Scratch and Grounder from the weekday morning
Sonic cartoon which I believed, because in the intro sequence of the
game, Robotnik rides around in a rocket chair contraption and you
can’t see below his waist. Not only that, the art on the box and
cartridge showed the cartoon version of Dr. Robotnik. I never even took
not of the fact that the cartoon and game versions of Robotnik were
drawn completely differently, but that the cartoon Robotnik's
appearance on the cartridge art only tied the game that much closer to
Sonic Triple Trouble was the first video game I ever brought with money
that I earned myself. I got the money for playing a small role in a movie that I hear sometimes
can be seen on BET, though I’ve actually haven’t seen the
movie since 1996 when it was out in theaters and can only remember how
bored I was during the scenes that I wasn’t in.
strange to think that I first got my hands on Sonic Triple Trouble no
more than two years after I first picked up Sonic the Hedgehog, because
it seemed like a whole lifetime had passed since then. Triple Trouble
was a masterpiece, it had bright bold graphics and crisp, melodious
music that even to my unspoiled, seven year old tastes made Sonic the
Hedgehog seem obsolete in comparison.
Triple Trouble’s graphics were nearly up to par with the Genesis games, and for the first time I
could spin dash, fly around as Tails, and whirl through the
iconic loop-de-loops that Genesis Sonic players had been familiar with
The difficulty was toned down to a reasonable level so that I could
actually play and enjoy the game and even make it as far as the fourth zone with skill and luck. The bosses were also
varied, which was a fun twist after constantly facing Dr.
Robotnik’s egg-o-matic in the first Sonic game.
second level was an industrial city cast in evening twilight with very
memorable music. I would pretend I was in Robotropolis, Dr.
Robotnik’s capital city in the Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon. The
boss of that level was a moving train that you had to run down and
avoid gaps in the box cars and getting zapped by the overhead wire, and
then you got to the front you had to destroy the engine.
The fun thing about those games was that I could pretend I was playing
in the world of the cartoon show and I didn’t have a unnecessary
storyline shoved down my throat, it was all about the gameplay and I
was free to imagine my own context and motivation for what was
happening on the screen.
I had nothing but fun with Sonic Triple Trouble, but of course I never
beat the game myself. I had to watch my brother play to see the final
Zones of the game and the final fight with Dr. Robotnik.
My parents surprised me with Sonic Labyrinth to keep me entertained as we set of on an eleven hour car trip.
According the the packaging, Sonic Labyrinth’s story was about
Dr. Robotnik stealing Sonic’s running shoes and replacing them
with slow ones. As soon as I read that, I pretty much knew this game
was going to be lame.
Sonic Labyrinth was everything a Sonic game shouldn’t be. Sonic
moves more like a slug than a Hedgehog, he’s hard to control, the
levels are bland isometric planes, and the key collecting gameplay is
poorly conceived and unrewarding.
When the designers of Sonic Labyrinth had to create a storyline about
Sonic losing his running shoes as an excuse for the slow, clunky,
faux-3D engine, they should have realized that they were on their way
to producing one of the worst Sonic games ever made.
got Sonic Labyrinth in August 1996, less than a year before Sega
abandoned the Game Gear, and it was the last game I received for it.
Like all Game Gear owners, I discovered early on the Game Gear’s
healthy appetite for AA size batteries, six at a time for no more than
two hours of gameplay. Early on my parents got me these two big
“twin grip packs” that went into the Game Gear’s two
battery bays and made the system even bigger than it already was.
In 1994 I ended up busting the twin packs, and I purchased the slimmer
and more efficient “Power Back” adapter along with Sonic
Triple Trouble. The Power Back was basically a grip that went along the
back of the system, making it heavier, but also serving as a battery,
and it screwed into place, making it a very “permanent”
part of the system once it was installed. Interestingly, the Power Back
plugged into the systems’ DC adapter port, not the battery bays,
which were left empty when the Power Back was installed.
received my first GameBoy in 1995, and despite the unlit monochrome
screen, the games were impressive, and I never asked for another Game
Gear cartridge after playing Game Boy.
Game Gear had a decent library of cartridges, but it was totally
eclipsed by Game Boy’s selection. Despite the lack of color and
the inability to play in the dark, Game Boy actually had battery life,
and this made it
a truly portable system without needing a bunch of bulky attachments to
add play time.
Sega’s arrogant advertising campaign for Game Gear that
relentlessly mocked Game Boy only harmed the system’s image and
offended their potential customers. In one commercial, there was a fat
guy on a park bench playing Game Boy, and he smacks himself in the head
with a dead squirrel so he can see the game in
The commercial even went as far as to use footage and music from Super
Mario Land 2. Even back then, I was surprised Nintendo allowed Sega to
get away with this. It would be like if today Sony made a Playstation 3
commercial showing footage from Wii Sports and comparing it to Killzone 2 with a voiceover saying
“See, look how crappy Nintendo’s graphics are, that’s
why you’re a fat moron unless you buy Playstation 3.”
Actually, there is one other game which I nearly forgot and only just
remembered to mention. I had a bunch of duplicate Game Boy and Game
Gear games, and in 1998 I traded them in to FuncoLand (the only such
store in the entire county at the time, and a good 30 minute car ride
away) and traded them in for store credit.
Back then, you could hang out in FuncoLand and try out the used Game
Gear and Game Boy games all you liked until you found one you wanted,
but instead I used my trade-in credit and some extra money provided by
mom to buy a brand new Game Gear game, the last I would ever purchase.
What game did I choose?
Well, for some really strange reason, I decided to buy Poker Face Paul’s Solitaire.
In 1995 I learned solitaire from my grandmother and would play it
sometimes. Mind you, this is with an actual deck of physical cards,
once I learned computer solitaire I forgot how to even set up the cards
to play with a real deck, and by 1998 I forgot how to play entirely and
to this day haven’t played solitaire since.
guess I thought it would be a fun thing to learn solitaire again and be
able to play it on Game Gear since I didn’t own a computer with
solitaire at the time.
Not once have I played through a single game of solitaire with Poker
Face Paul’s Solitaire, yet the game left an impression on me,
mostly the catchy music.
Poker Face Paul is not an actual character in the game. I was sort of
expecting Paul to be like Mavis Beacon, only for playing cards instead
of learning to type. There are four different games to choose from,
Klondike, which is the typical solitaire game everyone knows, and other
games called Elevens, Monte Carlo, and Calculation, which all of which
I’m clueless about.
Basically I took the game home, plugged it into my Game Gear, messed
around trying to pick up and put down cards, realized that I had no
idea how to play solitaire, and never really played again.
you try to exit the game to return to the main menu, it shows a
tattered white flag when it asks if you really want to quit, as though
you’re surrendering in some great battle. I guess Poker Face Paul
takes solitaire pretty seriously.
When you do choose to quit the game and return to the main menu, it
hazes you by showing a cracked egg in a cup with the word
Sega dropped support for Game Gear in early 1997, so there were no new
games coming out, and by the time I got Poker Face Pauls’
Solitaire I had already moved on to the Game Boy’s greener
pastures (and greener screen) anyway.
The final nails in the coffin of my Game Gear career came when the
Power Back adapter stopped working, and then the backlight on my system
died some time between 1998 and 2000, making the system totally
impossible to use, not even a floodlight could have illuminated the
screen enough to make gameplay possible.
Today, my Game Gear is an ornament on my wall above my window,
displayed aside a broken Game Boy Advance and a broken Cybiko. I took
it down from the wall just a moment ago to feel it in my hands again.
It’s strange to think I haven’t played a single Game Gear
game on an original Game Gear system since back when Game Gear was
still a current platform.
I haven’t owned a Sega system since Game Gear. I watched the
development of Sonic XTreme for the Sega Saturn in the gaming magazines
of the mid 90’s until the game was unceremoniously culled before
release, the unfortunate victim of a cutthroat rivalry between the
Japanese and American devisions of Sega.
I was obsessed with the Sega Dreamcast from the moment I first heard
about the system, though money was tight at the time and my grades in
6th grade weren't exactly spectacular. The fact that I never actually
asked my parents to buy me a Dreamcast probably didn’t help much.
I remember my dad thinking that the system was called
“Dreamskate” for some reason, and he would always call it
that no matter how many times I tried to tell him it was Dreamcast.
Though I became a Game Boy owner in 1995, I still had a loyalty to
Sega. In the fall of 1996 I remember seeing the Nintendo 64 for the
first time on a sign outside of Toys R Us and my first thought was that
Nintendo was trying to rip off Sega by making their new system resemble
I haven’t purchased a Sonic game since Sonic Triple Trouble,
though I’ve rented the ports of Sonic Adventure 1 and 2 on
Nintendo Gamecube and didn’t like them all that much.
Sometimes I hear people disregard the Sonic the Hedgehog games on Game
Gear as being cheap cash-ins that are best passed over for the Genesis
versions, which is very frustrating for someone like me who came to
love Sonic based on his Game Gear adventures. If you have any interest
in platform gaming or Sonic, you should give the Sonic games I
mentioned I try, especially Sonic Triple Trouble. Watch out for Sonic
Labyrinth though, it still bites the big one.
I still have the dreadlocks I started growing the night I became a gamer.
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