Handheld game console

A handheld game console is a portable electronic device for playing video games. Unlike stationary game consoles controls, screen and speakers are built-in. During the 1970s and 1980s for the first time revealed several manufacturers including Coleco and Milton Bradley, portable tabletop consoles and LCD games on the market. A well-known handheld game in 1978 was Merlin. Today, however, these systems are no longer considered consoles, since they usually only offered the opportunity to play one of the fixed game. The first true handheld console with interchangeable game cartridges, was Milton Bradley Microvision, which appeared in 1979. With the launch of the Nintendo Game Boy in 1989 conquered the leadership in the handheld sector and contributed to the popularization of the handheld concept in.



The first handheld console with interchangeable game cartridges, the Microvision, was developed in 1979 by Smith Engineering and distributed by Milton H. Bradley. Because of the small screen and a selection of just 13 games, no lasting success, however, turned, and it was two years later, no longer manufactured. Today there are still functioning Microvision devices a rarity. The controls could be easily damaged and the LCDs of the late seventies were of poor quality, so they were often leak or dark.

1983 in the USA by Palmtex the home computer software Super Micro- cartridge system has been released.

Five years after the Microvision was released only in Japan, the Epoch Game Pocket Computer, the first truly programmable handheld console. Five games were released.

1989, Nintendo released the Game Boy. The development team headed by Gunpei Yokoi was already apparent in charge of the Nintendo Game & Watch series, the Nintendo Entertainment System and the games Metroid and Kid Icarus. Critics of the game industry were available to the device due to its black and white screen and the low processor power initially skeptical. However, the design team was of the opinion that low cost and economical battery consumption were more important. Compared with the Microvision, the Game Boy was mainly in this respect a major step forward.

Yokoi recognized that the Game Boy a " killer app " needed at least one game for the console are representative and convince the customers would buy them. In June 1988, Minoru Arakawa saw, CEO of Nintendo of America, a demonstration of the game Tetris at a trade show. Nintendo acquired the rights to the game and sold it in the package with the Game Boy. Success was not long in coming. Towards the end of the year they had sold over one million units, in 1992 the number was 25 million. With almost 120 million units sold ( Game Boy Pocket and Game Boy Color included) is the Game Boy one of the best selling consoles of all time.

The 1990

During the nineties several manufacturers tried in vain to contest with the release of new handheld consoles Nintendo's market leadership. The Atari Lynx was released the same year as the Game Boy was the first handheld with color screen. The unit had backlight and could be reversed for left-handers. Due to its high price, immense battery consumption, production shortages, a lack of compelling games and Nintendo's aggressive marketing campaign, the Atari Lynx sold despite the release of an improved version in 1991, at no time particularly well.

In response to the continued success of the Game Boy several handhelds have been developed which should exploit its greatest weakness, low graphics performance. The Sega Game Gear was released in late 1990 and decreed as the Lynx have a backlit color display. The internal architecture of the Game Gear was similar to the Sega Master System home console, so Sega within a short time was able to offer a wide selection of games that were originally developed for the Master System. However, the Game Gear had the same weaknesses as the Lynx, and although he was somewhat more successful than this, it also failed Sega to challenge the dominance of the Game Boy.

It appeared more handheld consoles such as NEC's PC Engine GT, the Watara vision and the Neo Geo Pocket. Despite the technical superiority of most of these consoles was not one of them into a serious competition for the Game Boy.

Nine years after its release, the Game Boy in 1998 was awarded with the Game Boy Color, a new version of the handheld. He corresponded in size to about the size and weight of the Game Boy Pocket, but also had color screen and an infrared interface. The device was backward compatible and could be used with special Game Boy Color games, as well as with all the old Game Boy games, where the additional processing power was low.

Modern handheld

2001, Nintendo released the Game Boy Advance a true successor to the Game Boy with additional shoulder buttons, a larger screen and significantly more computing power. About two years later, with the Game Boy Advance SP a compact collapsible version with backlit display and built-in lithium - ion battery. The N -Gage by Nokia could not threaten Nintendo's market share.

The Nintendo DS was released on 21 November 2004 in North America, a little later in Japan and 2005 in Australia and Europe. The DS meant turning away from Nintendo's previous procedure, the existing Game Boy expand. The device features two LCD screens, one of which reacts to touches bottom and the player, allowing for a more intuitive control of menus and game pieces. The DS also features voice control, is compatible with Game Boy Advance games and enables wireless gaming over a WiFi connection for up to 16 players and also to Nintendo's home console Wii. This is possible in some games over the Internet.

Sony's PlayStation Portable was released in Japan in late 2004, in North America in early 2005, in Europe on 1 September 2005. The PSP also features wireless multiplayer support and is the first handheld console whose software title is stored on optical media, so-called UMDs, which allows large amounts of data, and thus the playback of DVD movies similar allow. Scores can be stored on the included memory sticks. The Nintendo DS is superior in screen size and graphics performance, the PSP also allows playback of music and movies or viewing pictures. However, it is more expensive than the DS, and has a lower battery life.

The GP2X by Game Park Holdings appeared on 10 November 2005 in Germany. For the GP2X can be thanks to the approved by the manufacturer software development kits to create games and applications (so-called homebrew ) itself. The GP2X working with Linux and is a full-fledged portable media player that can replicate through emulators and game consoles like Super Nintendo. Thanks to a memory card slot (for SD cards up to 4 gigabytes ), open source operating system, support for USB devices and standard batteries can be expected with some further developments on the part of the manufacturer and the community.

In 2010, first appeared in small numbers, the Pandora, which was developed from parts of the GP2X community. The based on an open source Linux handheld focuses heavily on the homebrew development and emulation. Published in 2011, the successor to the handhelds from Nintendo and Sony. Nintendo did with the Nintendo 3DS handheld with a 3D screen on the market while Sony with the Playstation Vita primarily on increased hardware performance and a touch interface on the back of the console.

Lately, the traditional handhelds were facing increasing competition from the technically revelatory smartphones and tablets. This place is now also posted respectable 3D graphics and offer mobile gaming without the added cost of a separate unit as well as better games prices. Additionally, several handheld consoles made ​​in China published.

Game Boy Advance (2001)

Nokia N -Gage (2003)

Game King (2003)

Nintendo DS ( 2004)

GP2X -F200 (2007)

Dingoo A320 (2009)

Pandora (2010)

Chronology (selection)

  • Milton Bradley Microvision (1979 )
  • Atari Cosmos ( Holographic Tabletop, developed from 1979 to 1981, not published )
  • Game & Watch (1980 ) - first handheld console from Nintendo
  • Palmtex home computer software Super Micro Cartridge System (1983 )
  • Epoch Epoch Game Pocket Computer (1984 ) - first truly programmable handheld console
  • Nintendo Game Boy (1989/1990) - world's first successful handheld console
  • Atari Lynx (1989 ) - first handheld console with backlit color display
  • NEC PC Engine GT (1990, Japan, 1991, North America) - compatible with PC Engine ( / TurboGrafx ) games
  • Sega Game Gear ( 1990) - technically similar to the Sega Master System, can be used with TV tuner as TV
  • Barcode Battler (1991 )
  • Watara Vision ( 1992)
  • Sega Mega Jet ( 1992) - no screen, developed for Japan Air Lines
  • Nintendo Virtual Boy (1994 ) - Monochrome ( reds ) 3D glasses, only semi- portable
  • Sega Nomad (1995 ) - Compatible with Sega Mega Drive games, but these are shown in lower resolution
  • SNK Neo Geo Pocket (1996 ) - apart from the name nothing in common with Neo Geo consoles and arcade hardware
  • Game Boy Pocket ( 1996) - slimmer and lighter Game Boy with clearer display
  • Tiger Game.com (1997) - with touch screen; Modem available as an accessory
  • Nintendo Game Boy Color (1998) - with infrared interface
  • Cybiko (1998)
  • SNK Neo Geo Pocket Color (1999)
  • Bandai WonderSwan (1999) - developed by Gunpei Yokoi after leaving Nintendo
  • Bandai WonderSwan Color ( 2000)
  • Game Park GP32 (2001) - Open source handheld with multimedia functions
  • Nintendo Game Boy Advance (2001) - 16 -bit Nachfoger the Game Boy 's multiplayer support for up to four players with only one Game Pak
  • Bandai SwanCrystal (2002) - slightly improved WonderSwan Color
  • Nokia N -Gage (2003) - handheld game console and GSM mobile phone, including MP3 player and radio; Multimedia Cards used as carriers for games and media files, Bluetooth for wireless multiplayer games, GPRS for online games
  • Nintendo Game Boy Advance SP ( 2003) - Game Boy Advance in collapsible compact design with switchable backlight and built-in lithium -ion battery
  • Tapwave Zodiac ( 2004 ) - Palm OS PDA with game functions
  • Nokia N -Gage QD (2004) - revised, cheaper N -Gage without MP3 player and radio
  • Nintendo DS (2004/2005) - with two screens, including touch screen, built-in microphone and connector for external headset and Wi- Fi for wireless multiplayer features offline and online; Download multimedia content such as possible in cinemas
  • Sony PSP1000 (2004/2005) - with optical media, Score storage on memory sticks and multimedia functions
  • Tiger Gizmondo (2005) - with GPRS network support; including GPS for location- based games and camera.
  • GP2X (2005) - successor to the GP32
  • Nintendo DS lite (2006) - improved version of the Nintendo DS
  • Sony PSP2000 "Slim & Lite " (2007) - improved version of PSP1000
  • IPod touch first generation (2007) - Portable Media Player, advertised by Apple as "mobile console "
  • Sony Ericsson F305 (2008) - cellular phone with extra gaming buttons and motion gaming support
  • Sony PlayStation Portable 3000 (2008)
  • IPod touch Second generation (2008) - new design, more memory, Nike iPod function
  • Nintendo DSi (2009) - improved Nindendo DS Lite with (among others) Wi-Fi, memory card slot and built-in camera for 640x480p Photos
  • GP2X Wiz (2009) - official successor to the GP2X
  • PSP -go (2009) - latest version of the Playstation Portable
  • IPod touch Third generation (2009) - new software version 3.0, based on the iPhone 3G
  • Sony Ericsson Yari (2009/2010) - cellular phone with Gesture gaming support, while the front camera is used as a motion sensor.
  • Nintendo DSi XL (2010) - an enlarged version of the Nintendo DSi
  • Pandora (2010) - Hybrid of handheld and UMPC; unofficial successor to the GP2X, open source
  • Nintendo 3DS (2011) - the successor to the DS systems, with a special 3D technology.
  • Sony Playstation Vita ( 2011) - Sony's successor for the Playstation Portable, with touch panel and touch screen as well as in certain models with 3G.

See also List of video game consoles (including handheld consoles ).