Friday, 3 January 2014

The 12 Generations of Gaming - Handheld

On the hand(held) gen of gaming,
The world sent to me,
Easier ways, to play.

On the hand(held) gen of gaming, 
Nintendo sent to me,
Many clamshell-els.

On the hand(held) gen of gaming,
Sony sent to me,
Another PSP.

Handheld: 1977-Present

Nintendo Game and Watch
Milton Bradley Microvision
Epoch Game Pocket Computer
Nintendo Game Boy
Nintendo Game Boy Colour
Nintendo Game Boy Advance
PlayStation Portable
Nintendo DS
Nintendo DSi
Nintendo 3DS
PSP Vita
Nintendo 2DS

Popular Games:
Pokémon Red and Blue

And so, we come to the handheld genre of gaming and I know what you thinking (maybe, but probably not) it's not even a gen of gaming! Well, I know this but as there has only been eight gens of gaming and I haven't had the space to write about the other types of gaming other than consoles so I have decided to make the next three posts about the other three platforms for gaming (what are they? You'll have to wait and see). Now, back to the post.

Handheld's are consoles that are well... held by your hand. Think of them as the laptops of the gaming world. The ones included in this post are not smartphones however (for reasons you shall see soon enough - hint, hint) and I will write about 4 of the most influential, of which Nintendo own three, as well as 2 of the biggest and most influential games on the platform.


Nintendo Game Boy:
This is generally said to be the handheld that popularised handhelds (even if they had been around for quite a few years previously). The Game Boy was released on April 12, 1989 in Japan, August 1989 in North America and September 28, 1990 in Europe and was the first in the Game Boy line of handheld consoles as well as being the second handheld console that Nintendo developed, after the Game and Watch Series. The console was created by Gunpei Yokoi and Nintendo Research and Development 1 who were the same people that had designed the Game and Watch series as well as many popular games on the NES. In the first two weeks of sale in Japan the whole stock of 300,000 was sold and in its lifetime, the Game Boy sold 87.66 million and its legacy is now kept alive by the 3DS Virtual Console.

Nintendo DS:
The Nintendo DS was announced on the 13th of November, 2003 as a new console that would not succeed either the Game Boy Advance or the GameCube. Nintendo created it to renew its image as well as bring gaming to the 21st century. Its original codename was Nintendo DS (DS standing for Development System or Duel Screen) before being changed to Nitro in March 2004 and then being changed back to Nintendo DS May 2004 and finally being named Nintendo DS in July 28, 2004. The DS features a clamshell design to add mobility as well as two screens, one of which was an LCD and the other was a touchscreen. It also featured a microphone and supported wireless connectivity as well as being able to connect to the internet through the (un reliable) Nintendo Wi-Fi. The Nintendo DS (and the rest of the DS family) sold 156.96 million making it the second best-selling console ever.

PlayStation Portable:
The PSP is the only non-Nintendo handheld console I will be featuring here and is also the only handheld console featuring a CD drive rather than a cartridge system. It was released in Japan on the 12th of December, March 24, 2005 in the PAL regions. It also features a large viewing screen as well as connectivity to the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3. The PSP has been re done many times by making it slimmer with names such as PSP 1000 and PSP GO. It has sold 80 million units and was succeeded by the PS Vita in 2012.

Nintendo 3DS:
Obviously, the main point of the 3DS is the 3D aspects which is rendered through the use of stereoscopic 3D. The 3D is actually added depth rather than jump out of the screen 3D but it does not require glasses. It also features an analogue stick and a StreetPass and SpotPass system. SpotPass is a system that lets you download things for games automatically whereas StreetPass registers when you pass by another 3DS and lets you use their Mii in a collection of mini games. To begin with, the 3DS didn't sell with a high price and numerous health warnings about how the 3D can melt your eyes and such (this is not true by the way) but then came a price drop and some great games and well... the rest is history. But what to do about the people that had bought the console earlier and with a heftier price tag? What about these ambassadors of Nintendo? Well, Nintendo, being Nintendo, decided to give out 20 free games from the NES and Game Boy era (I just wish they had done it for the Wii U as well). Nintendo had always wanted to do things with 3D but had never managed to pull it off. They had tried it with the Virtual Boy (we all know how that went, don't we) as well as thinking of implementing it with the GameCube and Game Boy Advance. The 3DS has had two more variations, the 3DS XL and the 2DS (a 3DS without the 3D).   


Tetris is a tile matching game originally created by Alexy Pajitnov of the Soviet Union. It was released on June 6, 1984 and its name is derived from the Greek word tetra and Pajitnov's favourite sport, tennis. The gameplay is that of the player trying to order falling blocks (or tetrominos) into a line without any gaps as they fall down. While, Tetris is the on just about every platform ever, I felt I had to include it here due to its success on the Game Boy, 30.26 million copies to be exact. The legacy of Tetris is that of dozens of remakes and becoming an icon for the video game industry.

Pokémon Red and Blue/Green:
Pokémon Red and Blue are the first in a series of games that are my favourite of all time. The game was released on the 27th of February, 1996 in Japan and then in September 30, 1998 for North America and finally October 5th in Europe. The idea of Pokémon originally stemmed from the idea of insect collecting, which was a childhood hobby of games designer Satoshi Tajiri. However, he noticed that kids were staying inside instead of going outside and so he came up with the idea of a video game based around collecting insects. The idea of battling came about as a way of children relieving stress but the Pokémon do not die, only faint, due to Satoshi not wanting to fill the world with any more pointless violence. Trading came from the the Game Boy having a link cable and the two versions of the game came from wanting to increase the trading aspects. The name was originally called Capsule Monsters but due to trademark difficulties, this changed to Pocket Monsters. Even though both Nintendo and Satoshi did not expect the game to sell (Satoshi did not even expect Nintendo to make the game) it did (very well). To increase hype even further Satoshi announced a secret 151st Pokémon called Mew which was only available in a Nintendo promotional event until in 2003 a glitch was found which enabled people to get it. When it was localized for America, Nintendo tried to get Satoshi to 'beef up' the Pokémon, saying that America would not respond well to the cuter Pokémon. However, Satoshi disagreed and the game was a hit. The legacy of the game is that of dozens of games and merchandise as well as spawning the second most successful gaming franchise ever.

Goodbye for now, Harry

And the blog's collective knowledge

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