Sega Game Gear

From Sega Retro

For the American automobile manufacturer, see Mercury (company).
Gamegear us logo.svg
Sega Game Gear
Manufacturer: Sega
Release Date RRP Code
Sega Game Gear
¥19,80019,800 HGG-3200
Sega Game Gear
Sega Game Gear
Sega Game Gear
Sega Game Gear
Sega Game Gear
Sega Game Gear
Sega Game Gear
Sega Game Gear
Sega Game Gear
Sega Game Gear
Sega Game Gear
Sega Game Gear
Sega Game Gear
Sega Game Gear
₩198,000198,000 SPC-150
Sega Game Gear

The Game Gear (ゲームギア) is a handheld video game console developed by Sega and released in late 1990 as a response to Nintendo's Game Boy handheld . It is a full colour console and was Sega's first attempt to compete in the handheld games market (the second being the Sega Nomad — a handheld Mega Drive). In South Korea it is known as the Handy Gam*Boy (핸디겜보이) and Handy Aladdin Boy (핸디알라딘보이).

After development of the Sega Saturn began, the Game Gear was retroactively given the codename Mercury[9].


The Game Gear is a "portable" device which was designed to address problems with Nintendo's Game Boy. It is held lengthwise at the sides (preventing the cramping of hands which plagued Nintendo's system) and has a backlit, colour LCD screen, allowing for clearer and more vibrant visuals than its main rival.

Similarly to the Mega Drive, which at the time was Sega's main focus in the home console market, the Game Gear is derived from the earlier Sega Master System. Unlike the Mega Drive, however, the Game Gear is largely identical to the Master System, the major difference being a VDP capable of displaying palettes consisting of a wider variety of colors, and the playback of stereo sound. Game Gear games traditionally run at a smaller resolution too, although with a screen built similarly to televisions of the era, the Game Gear is fully capable of playing games in higher resolutions.

Like the Master System, the Game Gear features a D-Pad and two buttons, 1 and 2, but also adds a third,  START . This is one button short of a Game Boy.

Unfortunately, due to technical limitations of the era, the Game Gear demands six AA batteries to be played on the go, of which the fluorescent backlight on the LCD screen will eat through in three to five hours (though a battery pack provides longer playtime). Furthermore, the system gives off more heat than the Game Boy, often leading to "sweaty palms" after prolonged use. The system was also considered not to be very "portable" - its bulky size means it does not fit in many pockets, and the power-draining backlight of the LCD screen (which cannot be turned off) meant Game Gears were unusable after a short period of time. An AC adaptor can be plugged into the system so that it runs off the mains, but this was not considered practical for consumers of the day.

Game Gears were also manufactured at a time where capacitor problems were rampant across the electronics industry. As a result, screen and audio failures are common, and fixes are not always simple.


Main article: Game Gear consoles.

Technical specifications

See Sega Master System specifications for further specifications

The hardware is largely identical to the Sega Master System, with some of the differences mentioned below.

  • Speed: 3.579545 MHz (same as NTSC colorburst)
  • Colors on screen: 32
  • Sprite size: 8x8


Main article: History of the Sega Game Gear.

Localised names

Also known as
Language Localised Name English Translation
English Game Gear Game Gear
Japanese ゲームギア Game Gear
Korean 핸디겜보이 Handy Gam*Boy
Hebrew גיימגיר


Main article: Sega Game Gear games.

Production credits

Developer mentions[12][13]

Magazine articles

Main article: Sega Game Gear/Magazine articles.

Promotional material

Main article: Sega Game Gear/Promotional material.

Logos by regions

Logo Region
International logo
Used in Japan, Asia and Africa
Used in North America, Asia
and parts of South America
Used in Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay
and Uruguay
Used in Western and Eastern Europe,
Asia, Africa and Australasia
Used in Arabian Peninsula
Used in Scandinavia
Used in South Korea


External links

  • Sega of Japan catalogue pages (Japanese): Game Gear
  • Console Database - Sega Game Gear info and FAQs
  • SMS Power - Technical information and more on the Game Gear and its bigger brother, the Master System


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Topics Sega Game Gear | History | Magazine articles | Promotional material | Merchandise
Hardware Japan | North America | Western Europe | Eastern Europe | Asia | South America | Australasia | Africa
Wide Gear
Add-ons Pro Action Replay | Game Genie | X-Terminator | Master Gear Converter (Gear Master | Nuby Converter) | Stereo FM Tuner | TV Tuner
Cases Carry-All | Deluxe Carry-All Case | Gear Bag | Holster Case | Standard Carrying Case | Soft Case | Third Party (Play & Carry Case)
Accessories A/V Cable | Battery Pack | Car Adaptor | Car Antenna | Cleaning Gear | Gear-to-Gear Cable | PowerBack (Third Party) | Screen Magnifier (Wide Gear | Super Wide Gear | Third-Party)

Handy Gear | Master Link Cable