Wednesday 30 April 2014

Handheld Memories

Besides consoles, Genki cut its initial gaming cloth on the Nintendo Game & Watch. The local toy shop Romer Parish had a counter dedicated to such wares adding to their mystique (and stopping possibly grubby fingers from messing up their LCD screens.) A veritable Aladdin’s cave for the eyes with fold down screens, single screen and the unbelievable two control pad systems. The colour effect and clever use of mirrors made the Panorama systems a real find. Sadly Genki never had a Nintendo produced watch. Probably best to have missed out or risk getting it confiscated in class. Not only are Game & Watch cherished here in the UK, but also do they command a hefty whack in Japan. They no doubt inspired the interchangeable cart nature of the GameBoy which popped up at the local Chips store unannounced. Such was the way with coverage limited to a handful of magazines, but perhaps it suited its understated tones and humble cream shaded cover to arrive without modern day launch razzmatazz. The monochrome screen insisted developers fully focussed on gameplay. But what a development to have gaming on the go which was a dream of those thinking of gaming watches a mere few moons ago.
The Game Gear's screen had such delightful colour and it seemed in the likes of Mickey Mouse that big brother Mega Drive titles were getting converted by simply miniaturising them.
On a handheld roll, Genki couldn't resist the lure of the Atari Lynx. Unfortunately, whilst hard wiring the handheld to the power pack to avoid annoying cut outs due to the loose connection, Genki managed to get the screws mixed up and was pretty shocked to see the new handheld with two screws poking through its
grey shell casing. Still it meant that those good for nothing tokers could be hunted down in APB. Perhaps an early runner for GTA, All Points Bulletin had players drive around the city trying to bring in the quota of speeders, drunks or anyone else bending the rules. All done in Atari's loving, homely style. Electrocop had a unique feel of its own too with a robot style view on the 3D levels. Slime World worked a treat on the small screen with not too shabby dimensions, but it was California Games that seemed to bring home some of that West coast sunshine in its sports based action. Genki vaguely recalls seeing an advert for the Lynx with eight handhelds hooked up under the toilet cubical door. Hats off to anyone who has sampled such multiplayer mayhem. 

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