While home consoles are most certainly the way to go if you want a cutting-edge gaming experience, there's something intrinsically appealing about handheld gaming.
The ability to take a gaming system with you anywhere you go is a boon, especially when you're younger and don't have full access to the TV. If you're over the age of 30, you've no doubt got your own memories of playing your Game Boy in the back of the family car after visiting relatives, desperately trying to get the best view of the screen in the passing street lamps.
It's little wonder, then, that gaming site Retro Dodo and boutique publisher Lost in Cult had no trouble filling the lavish pages of A Handheld History with nostalgic musings and charming anecdotes. This labour of love is a tribute to the joy of mobile gaming (no, not that kind of mobile gaming, thankfully), and is sure to resonate with anybody lucky enough to have owned a portable console in their lifetime.
The book's 270 pages cover every major portable gaming platform of the past few decades, kicking things off with Nintendo's Game Boy and Game & Watch lines before moving through history and ticking off the likes of the PSP, Atari Lynx, Sega Game Gear, Nintendo Switch, PS Vita and even the mighty Mega Duck. Pleasingly, A Handheld History devotes a lot of space to portable gaming's most notable failures, each of which has its own story to tell and its own devoted fans, despite the lack of commercial success.
Each chapter features a text write-up, some of which are historical summaries and others are based on the author's personal memories and experiences. Speaking of which, the book is pretty stacked when it comes to writing talent; alongside Retro Dodo's Brandon Saltalamacchia – the driving force behind the whole project – there are contributions from the likes of Jason Bradbury, Jeff Grubb, Mike Diver, Larry Bundy Jr., Stuart "Ashens" Ashen and Nintendo Life's Austin Voigt and Alex Olney.
To complement these words, Retro Dodo and Lost in Cult have commissioned a selection of artists to produce bespoke illustrations for the book, and alongside these, you'll find some absolutely stunning product photography, too. Stephen Maurice Graham's utterly exquisite cover artwork rounds it all off.
Presented in hardback and printed on 130 gsm paper, A Handheld History is a lush love letter to the pleasures of portable play and one we'd highly recommend to anyone who has ever been a fan of gaming on the go.
Move over, Wonderswan, the Mega Duck is coming through. When the Game Boy was new, it felt revolutionary after the LCD handhelds of the time. I did take it places, but it was nice playing in other rooms of the house too. I spent a lot of hours playing Final Fantasy Adventure in 1992. After that, I developed an appreciation for doing interesting things with lesser hardware. After that, the Neo Geo Pocket and Game Boy Advance were important to me because I wanted to stick with those older style games. I was even involved with a Neo Geo Pocket website with a friend of mine back in the day which was pretty cool to be a part of.
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