The Sega Game Gear is an 8-bit handheld game console that competed with the Nintendo Game Boy & Atari Lynx, but stood on its own with a backlit color display and great accessories. Metal Jesus & Kinsey help beginning Game Gear collectors with the pros and cons of the system, what problems to look out for, modding the screen for better displays, fun accessories, collectable color variants and some games you should buy Day 1.
Metal Jesus: Metal Jesus here and I’m back again with Kinsey.
Kinsey: Hello and today we are going to be talking about a buying guide for the Sega Game Gear.
Metal Jesus: And you are perfect for this video because you had one as a kid, right?
Kinsey: Yep. That was pretty much my go to hand held as a kid because it was color screen and I’m like, “Yeah, this is awesome.”
Metal Jesus: Well and we’re going to be doing this video because we get a lot of requests for it. I think there’s a lot of mystery around the Game Gear. So we’re going to talk bout the hardware, what you need to look out for, as well as the variants, the accessories and we’re going to recommend some games you get day one. Let’s take a look.
Kinsey: So first, we’re going to talk about the hardware and the Game Gear is actually pretty special for the time because it was back lit and color.
Metal Jesus: Which is really important compared to the original Game Boy, which was what, black and white or?
Metal Jesus: Green and yellow. Yeah, so Sega was attempting to do some thing kind of forward thinking and bring color to the handheld. Now actually to be fair, the Atari Lynx did it first, but this was another answer to that and for the most part, when this came out that was a huge selling point.
Kinsey: Yeah, yeah. It was amazing. When I first saw this at the store, I was like, “That’s the one I want.”
Metal Jesus: Now some of the other things I like about the Game Gear is that I think it’s really comfortable to hold. I like how it’s wide, almost like a P-S-P, or something like that. It’s really comfortable even today.
Kinsey: It’s really, really nice.
Metal Jesus: Yeah. You know, on the original Game Boy I’d have to go like this to platy stuff. So I definitely prefer that. Now as far as collecting goes, one of the really great things about the Game Gear as well, is that there are over 300 games made for it and if you get an adapter, you can also play most Master System games with it because I thinks it’s similar technology, or similar…
Kinsey: The Game Gear is basically a repackaged Master System, so it’s basically the same tech, just in a cuter package.
Metal Jesus: Yeah and a lot of people, especially in North America, didn’t really get into collecting for the Master System. So this is an option for people.
Metal Jesus: And most of the games are dirt cheap.
Kinsey: Yeah. Now I get really surprised when I’m like, “Oh, that Game Gear game’s $25.”
Metal Jesus: Right, right. Yeah to give you an idea, the most expensive game, I think, is Panzer Dragoon Mini and that’s by far the most expensive one. I think it’s like a hundred bucks.
Kinsey: Yeah, it’s like a hundred bucks.
Metal Jesus: Yeah, but these go down from there and most of them are literally a dollar, five bucks, ten bucks, something like that.
Kinsey: Yeah it’s basically the Panzer Dragoon and Mortal Kombat 3 are the really expensive ones.
Metal Jesus: Yeah there’s a couple of them, but not many. So it’s very easy to collect for, which is what I like and actually that’s what I do, is when I go out, if I see a Game Gear game, I don’t own, I’ll be like, “Sure, why not.”
Kinsey: $3, $1, yes.
Metal Jesus: So that’s kind of some of the positives. Now, there are some negatives and we talked about the screen and while Sega was trying to do something really far advanced, the thing is that screen technology on a hand held just sucked batteries.
Metal Jesus: And so, unfortunately, this will cook through six AA batteries in no time.
Kinsey: Yeah, when I was little, I tried to take one on a road trip. There was a lot of gas station batteries I went through.
Metal Jesus: That’s so funny. The other thing about it is that unfortunately, some of the capacitors that were used in this fail a lot and so it’s unusual to find a perfectly working Game Gear unfortunately. As a matter of fact, my first Game Gear, the screen was funky, they had no sound.
Kinsey: Got to wear headphones and lean it weird and you’re like, “Alright, this I can now do.”
Metal Jesus: Yeah. But one of the good things is and some of you watching this may have noticed, that this is a little bit unusual, this one right here. So this is modded and there’s a bunch of people out there who mod these. As a matter of fact, a guy named Marco did this. He’s part of, I think, the AtariAge Forum and actually what he did, is he replaced the screen on here with an LCD screen, super bright, and it’s shockingly better. So we’ll actually compare them in a second here. He also replaced a lot of the capacitors for the sound, which is really nice of him to do that and it also has V-G-A out.
Kinsey: That’s so awesome.
Metal Jesus: Yes. So this is really cool. So basically, if you use the brightness over here, you can either set it to be on the handheld or you can send it out to your TV or your computer monitor.
Kinsey: Oh, that’s awesome.
Metal Jesus: It changes it completely. If someone is going to start collecting Game Gear now, because the screen is kind of one of the bummers, it’s really hard to go and buy one of these today and have to deal with that screen. So getting a new screen on there is like it’s night and day.
Kinsey: Yeah, it’s bringing new life to the Game Gear, which is awesome because there’s great games for it. It get’s over looked a lot.
Metal Jesus: Yeah, definitely. Now there are a lot of accessories, so let’s talk about that next. Alright, so we were talking about the terrible battery life of the Game Gear, but there are other solutions, right?
Kinsey: We can get you a one of a kind chick magnet. You can wear this baby on your belt.
Metal Jesus: When you first mentioned this I was like, “What the hell are you talking about? Oh, right.” You seen a fanny pack.
Kinsey: With my Game Gear fanny pack and my Game Gear battery pack. I just need a Game Gear hat.
Metal Jesus: I’m surprised you don’t have one.
Kinsey: I wish I did.
Metal Jesus: But this is a rechargeable Game Gear battery pack. It’s actually cool.
Kinsey: Yeah and it really helps extend the life of your battery and you’re not always going to get more AA’s.
Metal Jesus: I know. Just to do this video I sent Rebecca, my wife, to go to Target to buy a bunch of batteries just so we would have them. It’s ridiculous, right? But so it’s nice that this is here and the other thing too is that you can use a Genesis power adapter as well.
Kinsey: Yeah, for the Genesis 2, I actually did that a lot when I was little. I just sat by the wall and played my Game Gear.
Metal Jesus: Yeah and so I think a lot of people do that now, too. Even myself when I’m in my game here, I just use that. So it’s not that big of a deal. So some other accessories are, of course, I forget what this is called.
Kinsey: The Super Wide Gear.
Metal Jesus: Super Wide Gear and it’s funky too. It opens up like this, it hooks on the back. Honestly, I don’t fell like it needs it that much, but it’s just one of those things that you had back then, right?
Kinsey: I used it when I was little. I was like, “This is awesome. Look at how big it is, yeah!”
Metal Jesus: They should do this for other stuff. Now that I’m thinking about it, I wonder if this hooked on the Vita or something, that’d be hilarious.
Kinsey: It’d be great.
Metal Jesus: That’d be great. Another thing is, we mentioned it earlier and that is you can play most Master System games on it because the technology is very similar. All you need is a Master Gear converter.
Metal Jesus: Now what’s weird about this is that this can be collectible or expensive, not super expensive, but this can cost you more than the Game Gear itself, which is hilarious.
Metal Jesus: But, it’s pretty cool. You basically pop the game in here, it attaches to the back, turn it on and you’re playing Master System games. So it’s pretty awesome. Another accessory that a lot of people were kind of impressed with was the TV tuner.
Kinsey: Yeah, watch TV on your Game Gear.
Metal Jesus: Color TV. But, of course, it’s really useless today because it’s all broadcast in digital.
Kinsey: Yeah and the rabbit ears won’t really help you.
Metal Jesus: Yeah won’t really help you, but that’s pretty much for accessories, right? There’s a lot of bags and things like that.
Kinsey: Yeah, there’s a link cable.
Metal Jesus: Oh, right.
Kinsey: Want to play a Game Gear with your friends?
Metal Jesus: That’s right, yeah. So that’s the accessories, but now we probably want to talk about some of the variants of the hardware, right? Because this is where it can be pretty exciting collecting for the Game Gear. The Game Gear itself, the black one, is not very expensive. It’s like what, 15, 20 bucks?
Kinsey: Yeah, but this is the one a lot of people know of. So I don’t even know if a lot of people know it comes in other colors.
Metal Jesus: Yeah, that’s true. So I showed off in a pick ups video a little while ago, the yellow one. I know. A lot of people thought this was fake or some sort of shell, but it actually was released in Japan. That’s where this comes from.
Kinsey: They get all the good colors.
Metal Jesus: I know. But yeah I absolutely love it. I think it’s beautiful. So there’s yellow, also blue.
Kinsey: The blue one is probably one of the more common colors. So little bit rarer than the black, but not much.
Metal Jesus: It’s a nice color of blue though.
Kinsey: Still awesome.
Metal Jesus: Yeah and then you have, I think one of the rarer ones, right?
Metal Jesus: It’s certainly collectible.
Kinsey: There was also some special edition ones released, as there is for most systems, but in Japan, for example, this one’s a Magic Night Rayearth system, which if you’re an anime kid like I am, love it. Rayearth is awesome.
Metal Jesus: And now, did it come with a game?
Kinsey: Mm hmm, and it came with a Rayearth game as well.
Metal Jesus: Same exact color as the system, which is perfect.
Kinsey: And it’s beautiful, it’s all matchy, matchy and if you like Rayearth especially getting the game and the system together it’s…I don’t know, it was magical when I saw it.
Metal Jesus: And you have it in the box. I was like, “Wow!”
Kinsey: Yeah and the game’s really fun too, especially if you like Rayearth, because it’s just an action game and it’s really fun.
Metal Jesus: There’s also some other variants too. There’s a Coca Cola one, which has another color red, which is really cool looking too. There’s a few others that people are looking out for so it’s awesome.
Kinsey: So now we’re going to talk about some games. These aren’t necessarily the rarest or the craziest, but these are the ones that we think are really good to own or we just really enjoy.
Metal Jesus: Absolutely.
Kinsey: So on that note, I’m going to start with The Lion King because it’s on everything, but this is me riding in the nostalgia train for a little bit. The Lion King and also Bonker’s House of Wax, it’s awesome you guys. Don’t judge me, but these basically were the games I played as a child and it doesn’t do it justice when I play this on any other system. So this is always recommended by me and it’s not that expensive. So I think it’s worth it and it really shows off the Game Gear’s capabilities.
Metal Jesus: That’s cool. So a game I’m going to recommend here is a game I was surprised that I really enjoyed. I don’t know if it’s on any other system, I don’t care, but it’s called Devilish and I thought this would be some sort of arcade action game. No, it’s actually like an Arkenoid clone, but it’s got it’s own thing basically where you have the paddles and you’re knocking a ball back and forth. The screen is heading down, but what’s really cool about this is that you can reconfigure the paddle. So for instance, you have one paddle or two up above each other, but then you can split them out. You can put one on it’s side. Plus you can control the up and down so you can throw the upper paddle higher. I don’t know, it’s just like…
Kinsey: It sounds complicated, but at the same time I’m enthralled. It sounds awesome.
Metal Jesus: See, the thing I like is that Breakout and Arkenoid had been around for so long, that that’s kind of a tired game, right? But I like games that try to do something new with it because I grew up with that. I loved those games when they first came out. So Devilish on the Game Gear, pretty cool.
Kinsey: It’s got a good name, too.
Metal Jesus: It is.
Kinsey: And actually on that same vein, Haley Wars. It’s a vertical shooter. It’s super fun. But what it does a little bit differently is that whenever you miss one of the ships or one of the asteroids or comets that’s coming at you, if you miss it, it goes and it hits Earth and you have a gauge on the bottom that says what percentage Earth is destroyed and if it gets to 100, that’s it.
Metal Jesus: Yeah, it’s a surprisingly really fun shooter. I was like, “I played this a lot.” Now, you’re holding two versions of it here and I did this because I wanted to remind myself that one of the nice things about the Game Gear is that it is region free. So often if you can’t find a copy of the North American version, get the Japanese version. That’s exactly what I did here. You can play either one, it’s pretty cool. So okay that was cool. Next up for me was a game, I was a little surprised and that is Vampire Master of Darkness.
Metal Jesus: It looks cheesy as hell.
Kinsey: The story’s a little cheesy, but it’s worth it.
Metal Jesus: It’s cool. It’s basically a Castlevania clone. They’re not even sugar coating it, it’s Castlevania, right? But I like it. For one, I find it to be a little bit easier than Castlevania for some reason. To me that’s a good thing because on a little screen it can be difficult. As a matter of fact, this game on the original Game Gear screen I think is pretty difficult because it’s hard to see bats and stuff. On my modded one it changes the game, it’s so much more playable. So, yeah, highly recommended, this is a fun game.
Kinsey: Nice. And then one I really wanted to mention is Revenge of Drancon. What I really like about this game is that it’s super unassuming. Most people probably walk by this because…
Metal Jesus: It looks like a budget title.
Kinsey: It looks like a budget, I don’t know, generic, but, it’s Wonderboy. It’s so fun. It’s basically the arcade version of Wonderboy and it’s wonderful.
Metal Jesus: That’s weird that they changed the name to something like that, though.
Kinsey: I don’t even know how to say it, come on. It looks super generic, but this is full of wonderful secrets. So if you see this, you can get it.
Metal Jesus: Awesome. Alright so next up for me is a game called Dragon Crystal, speaking of games that look fairly generic. Now this game, when I popped it in I was like, “This looks so familiar.” But that’s because it also came out as Fatal Labyrinth, or at least very similar in style. So this is a maze like dungeon crawler, top down. This is another game where I popped it in and I played it for way longer than I expected to because it’s so easy, it’s so much fun. Essentially you’re just cruising around in this maze, you’re slowly exposing parts of the dungeon and combat’s fun. You basically just push up against the enemy, you don’t have to battle, you don’t have to button mash, there’s really not much skill, which is perfect for a handheld where you’re just trying to have some fun. But there’s armor upgrades and all that sort of stuff so I enjoyed it quite a bit and this game is dirt cheap.
Kinsey: Yeah. Alright and next I’m going to talk about Legend of Illusion, Mickey Mouse.
Metal Jesus: Nice.
Kinsey: And this one’s awesome because this is in the same series of Castles of Illusion, which everybody knows, but this one, I believe it’s a sequel. It’s in the same series, but it’s…I think the story is a little bit more interesting and it’s just not one that anyone played. Everybody knows Castle of Illusion, but this one’s definitely worth it.
Metal Jesus: Cool. So next up is a game that I had never heard of until I got a Game Gear and that is Ax Battler: A Legend of Golden Axe. So this is a total surprise. It’s basically…it reminds me of Zelda 2, where there’s an overhead map and then it goes to a 2D exploration. I don’t know, I guess it’s a side thing for Golden Axe. So I don’t know. It’s pretty cool, I enjoyed it quite a bit and it plays great.
Kinsey: Great. Alright and we wanted to mention a Sonic game.
Metal Jesus: Yes.
Kinsey: Because how can you talk about a Sega system without talking about Sonic?
Metal Jesus: And you and I were talking like, “Well which one?” Because you almost picked Sonic Drift.
Kinsey: I really like Sonic Drift and Sonic Drift 2 is the only one that came out in the U.S., but it’s really good and I know everybody hates it and I’m sorry.
Metal Jesus: I just put you on the spot right there. Like, “Dammit!”
Kinsey: I know people don’t like it, but you can play it on the Sonic Gems on the GameCube. So it’s awesome. Anyways, this is not Sonic Drift. This is Sonic Triple Trouble and it’s in the same series as Sonic Chaos, it’s the sequel. A lot of people also didn’t like this one because they thought it was too easy, but part of me, if I’m sitting on the couch playing Sonic the Hedgehog on a handheld, easy is fine with me because I really like flying through the levels. That’s when you can go fast and not have to worry about it as much.
Metal Jesus: Yeah I agree. Easy difficulty is not an automatic turn off for me. I’m like, “No, no, no, that’s kind of cool.” Because there’s plenty of other ones that are hard. So you can always play those ones too.
Kinsey: Yeah. Exactly.
Metal Jesus: Alright and then finally, one of the more collectible and it’s really not even that expensive, but it’s Shining Force, I’m going to have to say this here, The Sword of Hajhy, H-A-J-H-Y.
Metal Jesus: Why? I don’t know, but this is a fantastic game on the Game Gear. It’s actually one of the more highly rated ones too. Shining Force games are really cool. They’re very similar to Fire Emblem, where they’re turn based strategy games. Now I don’t believe this one has permadeath though. There’s a lot to it. I enjoyed it quite a bit. Again, it’s a little bit more collectible so if you find a copy, definitely check it out.
Kinsey: So that’s our buying guide for the Sega Game Gear and it’s a pretty rad system.
Metal Jesus: I know, I love collecting for it. I love going to expos and retro gaming stores and everyone else is ignoring it. They’re looking at Nintendo and I just weasel right passed them, look for games I don’t own. It’s like awesome.
Kinsey: It’s great.
Metal Jesus: Now the thing is, is that Hyperkin has announced that they may add Game Gear support to the Retron 5.
Metal Jesus: I know, so cool. The Retron 5 is a clone system that supports a lot of different things and Game Gear was left out for some reason.
Kinsey: I know. It’s why I didn’t buy one. I heard it was going to have all these different systems and I was like, “Game Gear, Game Gear, Game Gear.”
Metal Jesus: It supports Game Boy and Game Boy Advance. It’s perfect just for Game Gear. I know. I actually reached out to them to see if they could give me some more information. They didn’t, but I will update this video in the description and also in the annotations as news comes available. So I’m crossing my fingers for that.
Kinsey: Me too.
Metal Jesus: I know. Well hey, thanks for coming on the channel.
Kinsey: Of course.
Metal Jesus: Now where can people find you on the interwebs?
Kinsey: I am on Twitter @KinsZilla, K-I-N-S-Z-I-L-L-A.
Metal Jesus: And you have a YouTube channel?
Kinsey: I have a YouTube channel, three videos and two that matter.
Metal Jesus: Two that matter and the third one is?
Kinsey: Just gameplay from the Witcher when I had a weird mountain bug, there were mountains in the city.
Metal Jesus: Oh really?
Kinsey: Yeah, it was too funny not to share.
Metal Jesus: Well and you’ve done an unboxing video. I remember that. That’s awesome. Alright, you can find me @MetalJesusRocks, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, all that sort of stuff. Alright guys, thanks very much for watching, thanks for subscribing and take care.
Alright, now that I have the Sega Game Gear buying guide under my belt, I’m curious, what other buying guides would you like to see me do? I have some ideas. There’s some good stuff out there. You know what needs to be done, a P-S-P buying guide needs to be done. That’s a pretty good one because there’s like three different models, tons of good games.
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