Without fully realizing it, the mobile gaming scene we know today actually has its roots in the portable gaming consoles that started emerging in the last part of the previous century. Today, we’re going to look at how it has evolved over time and what are the most important landmarks in its diverse and rich history.
1989: Nintendo Gameboy
Nintendo’s creative marketing efforts, coupled with the Gameboy’s low price, resulted in the successful release of one of the most iconic portable gaming consoles in existence. In just the USA alone, this device has managed to sell more than 1 million units. Everyone remembers the good old classics like Tetris, The Legend of Zelda, and Super Mario Land, all of which set the cornerstones to what we consider a good game. In the end, there were 119 million units sold in total, making Nintendo Gameboy the second most popular gaming device ever.
1990: Sega Game Gear
Released a year after Gameboy, Sega Game Gear was designed to be its somewhat more mature alternative. It had better graphics and better sound. However, in terms of commercial success, it wasn’t nearly as strong, even though the early sales looked promising. Having a poor battery life and not-so-successful titles, it was abandoned 7 years later.
The original idea behind Tamagothci’s design was giving small kids an idea of how taking care of a small baby is like. In total, this rather unique gadget sold 76 million units. Its success is paramount to the evolution of mobile gaming, mostly because it was simple, affordable, and because it introduced a never-seen-before concept.
1988: Gameboy Colour
Compared to the original model, Gameboy Colour was thinner, had better graphics, and it was completely backwards-compatible with the original set of titles. Every kid on the block was playing titles such as Pokemon Red and Blue back then. Its huge sales success measured in 119 million devices sold.
2001: Gameboy Advance
Coming with a redesigned interface and newly-introduced shoulder buttons, better hardware, it was huge commercial success all around the world. Titles like Advance Wars, Pokemon Ruby and Emerald, Super Mario Advance 4 and others, all made a notable contribution to the history of mobile gaming.
2004: Nintendo DS and Sony PSP
Selling more than 154 million units, Nintendo DS (meaning ‘dual screen’) was the only portable gaming console that managed to beat the sales record of the original Gameboy.
Sony PSP, being released in the same year, was on a completely different level in terms of hardware specifications. However, it also targeted a different, generally more mature audience. More than 80 million units were sold in total.
2007 and beyond: Smartphones
From 2007 and onwards, the smartphone era has started taking the mobile gaming scene in a completely new direction. The hardware just keeps getting better and better, and although primarily being a smartphone, this device also functions as a portable mobile gaming console most everyone owns a copy of. Titles such as Final Fantasy and Angry Birds serve as a great example of how controlling the gameplay through a touchscreen can be equally as enjoyable in certain genres.
Just like everything else in life, the mobile gaming scene is not only changing on a consistent basis, but also gaining new dimensions in terms of hardware. If you haven’t jumped in already, why not do it now? It only keeps getting better and better with time.