It's fair to say that Nintendo's erstwhile rival Sega shocked everyone when it announced that it was creating a teeny, tiny version of its Game Gear handheld to celebrate its 60th birthday. Actually, we should back up a little there; the fact that the company was choosing to refresh a classic system wasn't surprising in itself – after all, we've had the NES Classic Edition, PC Engine Mini and Mega Drive Mini over the past few years – but it was more the manner in which Sega was resurrecting the console that dropped jaws.
The ¥4,980 / $50 / €50 Game Gear Micro really does live up its name – it's even smaller than the almost unacceptably dinky Game Boy Micro and the screen is around the size of a postage stamp – and it's available in five colour options which each come with their own selection of games. So, to experience the entire range, you've got to stump up the cash for all five. Crazy enough for you yet? How about the fact that the Game Gear Micro is totally exclusive to Japan?
Now, before we dive too deeply into Sega's seemingly deranged business practices, it's worth noting that the Game Gear Micro is, on face value, a lovely little product that is clearly aimed at a Japanese audience which loves tiny collectable trinkets. The packaging – which is smaller than a Game Boy Advance box, for reference – is utterly adorable and the unit itself feels solid enough. Even the minuscule 1.1-inch LCD display is better than we were expecting; it's pin-sharp and colourful, although staring at it for any length of time is likely to give most people an absolutely blinding headache.
There's no internal rechargeable battery, so you'll either need two AAA batteries or a Micro-USB cable to play it, but there is a 3.5mm headphone jack on the top, as well as a volume dial. Not that you're likely to actually play this thing all that much; sure, the buttons and D-Pad are enlarged (at least in terms of scale) and they're reasonably responsive, but that's about it. This is not a comfortable piece of hardware to use for prolonged periods of time, even if you do somehow decide that the display is acceptable (perhaps by using the optional 'Big Window' screen magnifier).
And don't get us started on the game selection. Splitting the available titles across all five units is understandable when you take into account that this is very much a collectable item and the Japanese sure do love hoovering up collectables, but it's also a really, really dumb move. Sega could easily have included all of the available games on each unit (and then some); the way things are, if you want to experience the best titles on offer here, you've really got to stump up the cash for every single unit, which could cost you anything up to $400 when you consider that the Aleste-focused system is A) more expensive than the others and B) has sold out everywhere and is now changing hands for way more than its RRP.
Sure, an effort has been made to add at least a little value – for example, the red unit we got also comes with 'easy' versions of two of its games, Megami Tensei Gaiden: Last Bible and Megami Tensei Gaiden: Last Bible Special – but four games per variant really isn't anywhere near enough when you consider the asking price.
For example, Sonic, Shinobi GG, Gunstar Heroes and GG Aleste II – four of the best Game Gear titles known to mankind – are all on different variants of the Game Gear Micro, so if you're after any of those, you're almost certainly going to have to buy a unit which also features at least one game you're either totally uninterested in or can't play because it's all in Japanese. We should perhaps be thankful that Sega included four games on each, as there were plans for it to be even less.
Had Sega opted to release each colour variant with 40 of the best Game Gear titles, then we'd be able to cautiously recommend this odd piece of hardware, despite its Lilliputian proportions. An even better outcome would have been to release a new Game Gear that's only slightly smaller than the bulky original model (say, the size of the original Game Boy Advance) and pre-load that with titles as well as the ability to run original cartridges. Given that Nintendo hasn't pounced on the idea of a Game Boy Classic Edition as yet, it would have been the perfect opportunity for Sega to steal a march on its former adversary and produce a portable that truly celebrates one of its most iconic pieces of hardware – and just in time for the lucrative Christmas season, too.
But alas, we're dreaming now. What we have instead is an impractical trinket that will look amazing on our shelf but does a pretty dismal job of highlighting Sega's amazing handheld legacy.
Thanks to Richard from Game Boy Shack for kindly loaning us his boxed Game Gear for use in this feature.
This article was originally published by nintendolife.com on Thu 15th October, 2020.
Apart from being a collector's piece, I really don't see the appeal in actually using one of these to play actual games. If they were going to do this properly, they need to have a bigger screen and issue one unit with multiple games. Give us a Dreamcast Mini Sega!
To think that the higher-ups at Sega greenlighted this complete waste of time, resources, and money. Outside of being a desktop curio, there is zero practical use for this thing. Remember folks, this is the same company that doesn't want to take risks on any of their mountain of beloved IPs not named "Sonic". But they have time and money to blow on garbage like this; seems appropriate for a 60th Anniversary "celebration" given what the company's been reduced to over the past third of that span.
This really was a waste. Clould have been pretty cool with a little more effort.
Shows how different the culture is in Japan if this turns out to be a big seller there. Sega were right not to release it in the west, it's useless in every way except for as a wallet-lightener.
Great subheading with the Zoolander reference xD
It does make me wonder how Sega will approach a Dreamcast mini if it ever becomes reality!
Even smaller than the GB Micro.. yikes.
If it was bigger and offered more than 4 games I would definitely get this. But I’ll pass on this.
What is this!? A GameGear for ants!?
Yes. Yes, it is.
Expensive collector's items. Interesting but that is about it.
apart from the big hands issue the eye strain trying use it
Well, at least I now know what to buy for my hamster this Christmas.
@Damo How much zoom did you need to get those photo's that sharp?
This is the dumbest ***** ever.
I loved my Game Gear as a kid and my heart skipped when I heard they were making a Mini Game Gear. And then I stared in disbelief it was a ridiculously small gimmick novelty joke item.
Why? Why couldn't they have just made a replica Game Gear with a modern LCD, rechargable battery and built in games? Maybe slim it down here and there dimensions eise. That would have been perfect.
This is just foolish.
....someone is bound to post this gif sonner or later, might as well be me.
@Friendly A microscope was involved.
lol waste of plastic.
I fail to see how these mini- and micro-consoles can be of interests for collectors when its not even the original hardware shrunk down, just generic SoC.
It's a shame because they are super cute and I totally want one, but not with only four games. Batteries is a let down as well.
I'm really hoping Sega Toys don't drop the ball on the astro city mini. That could be the Sega celebration for me this year if they can just nail the emulation. I've got a pre-order in and I reckon I'm going to stick with it, but the chances of it being a dud are reasonably high. Optimism!
It's the PlayStation mini all over again
I don't think the Gameboy Micro was meant to be taken as a challenge
@Friendly Lots! Haha!
I'm using a Lumix GH5 with the standard lens at max zoom, combined with the aperture priority mode. Gives you sharp focus with a lovely, soupy background.
Sega, oh lord, you do know how to funk up peanut butter on toast if you try.
It’s sold out in a lot of places, so it sounds like it was a wise decision by the higher ups.
This product was made with Japan in mind and is a Japan exclusive. The Japanese love tiny stuff like this. It’s not the Game Gear mini you or I would have wanted, but that’s ok. It’s not made for us.
It is asinine to bash this product from a Western perspective. SEGA knows this product isn’t for you. This product was designed for the Japanese and so long as they like it and buy it, it is a success.
Should have been maybe 50% bigger, had a better quality screen, and came with maybe 20 of the best Game Gear game pre-installed--then it would have been something to get more excited about.
It's SEGA. Messing up their hardwares are their thing.
Wait, they stuck RPGs on this thing? How can you even read the text?
Wait, they have Megami Tensei games? I did not expect that.
I owned a Game Gear when it originally came out. I have no desire to own one or a retro remake of one ever again. It wasn't a good system and IMO, it didn't have a good collection of games.
On top of this, I think this thing is a joke, and I'm unwilling to pay the asking price for a joke.
I feel like sega missed the point with this one.
Sega never ceases to bewilder with their idiotic business decisions.
What a fantastic novelty! They need to come to the UK immediately! I want all four immediately, love love love!
How can anyone complain about CHOICE!?!
Ironic that you have a Japanese screen name and yet you fail to realize that this product was designed for the Japanese market, which adores tiny things like this.
If you live in the West and are thinking “this just isn’t for me” well guess what? SEGA agreed. They know this product isn’t what Europe or North America wants. They didn’t make it for you. It is designed by and for Japan and should be judged on that basis.
$50 for a McDonalds toy. Hope you can atleast jailbreak these and run it as a mini emulator. As a mini emulator, this would actually make it worth the 50 dollar price tag
"I'm not drunk, You're Drunk?!"- Sega
I just don't get it! Why are they wasting time on this instead of a mini Master System or mini Dreamcast? Why did they price something so small and impractical as high as 50 quid?!
SEGA lows are so low... yet hope springs eternal! A decent 3D Sonic and a mini Dreamcast - one day. Surely!
It is never any wonder to me why Sega doesn't make consoles anymore.
Kind of represents what Sega is now; smaller and redundant.
Imagine playing games on a screen the size of your fingernail.
Sega still being Sega.
Could have been a great idea, but they ruined it.
Gamegear was a decent system with a solid selection of games. They could have made a really good Micro Console but no, instead we get an unusable Japan-only Curio. Sigh and double sigh.
BE MORE POSITIVE, EVERYONE !!!
@electrolite77 it`s for Japan only, so maybe they like it.
I hope for a bigger size Game Gear Mini with more games on it, but what I want most of all is a Master System Mini and a Saturn Mini.
If Sega do a Dreamcast Mini, it better have F355 Challenge & Skies of Arcadia. Of course I'd expect 30-40 games but those are the main ones for me.
It's all about the branding with collectors.
@JoakimZ Yes, an MS Mini. Chances are they'd leave Sonic Chaos out of it which would annoy me 😂
A proper Game Gear Mini would have been amazing, but this is pretty much just a joke.
I’m pretty sure the whole mini thing kind of works best with consoles. Handhelds are already mini. Or mini enough, rather.
Still, I sort of want one, the only thing holding me back is the limited selection of games on each color.
Sega could had give this another chance and make a bigger one for us internationally and with more games. For every one good idea Sega makes, they seem to go two steps backwards and make this.
@Slowdive That's the problem with Sega this year, they are throwing money away when they should be making money. The Astro City Mini would had sell like hot cakes here. Sega had more fans oversea than they had in Japan so I don't get why they couldn't take advantage of that situation.
An actual GameGear mini would be kinda neat.
Heck; I'd love to get a Lynx mini. Something maybe the size of an iphone or something with all the Lynx games.
Would be insta-buy for me.
I don't understand selling these retro consoles that can't take cartridges. So stupid.
It would almost certainly have Skies of Arcadia. F355 is unlikely though, due to licensing requirements.
So clearly these were made for a different culture, and in 2020 many items get snatched up at launch and scalped immediately after, but are people buying those scalped Game Gear Micros? Do we have any "item sold" screenshots on Japanese secondhand market sites? That, IMHO, would indicate any "real demand" the item may or may not have.
@RushDawg True, but if Sega can hash a deal with EA & Disney for their MD Mini they probably could for Ferrari too.
Weird that they got M2 to work on this, but not the Astro City Mini.
If this was made by Nintendo then I would buy it, no way i'd buy sega.
NL: This is terrible, nobody should by it
Also NL: Sold out and scalping for big bucks.
I don’t think you get the points. These aren’t meant to be everyday carry machines. They are meant to be tiny and look adorable on the shelf.
@sikthvash it’s meant to be a collectors piece, not an everyday game playing machine.
@AtlanteanMan have you thought that maybe it’s not meant to be practical?
@Heavyarms55 I've looked at @ritouf 's comment a few times, and nothing that your response suggests is in there is. Nothing about how they're a "weird offshoot of humanity"; nothing about their "tastes and preferences and needs", and certainly not how those are "totally different"; no mention whatsoever of hands or eyesight, or any suggestion that anything is "freakishly small ... or extra sharp". You were objecting to an entire range of points that weren't there, which might mean nothing; but nobody is as worried about being stolen from as a thief, and nobody mistrusts people less than a liar, so you may wish to do some self-examination.
THEY PUT LAST BIBLE ON THIS
ARE YOU SERIOUS
you know what if it's a collectible trinket kind of thing I'd get the red one solely for those games to add to my MegaTen collection
@JimmySpades Righto dude. Make up whatever nonsense you want.
Ultimate decadence. Buying expensive novelty gaming devices that you are not really intended to actually play.
Indeed. Which is part of what makes it such a missed opportunity.
@DamienMcFerren - LMAO... That is the best headline and sub-head I have read in a long time! I genuinely LOLed. Thank you!
The screen itself is already too small, but that D-pad is practically unusable for anyone over the age of 8.
Even if i lived in Japan, i still wouldn't get it.
Their whole 60th anniversary celebration is just plain weird. First this, and then this week they're putting a couple games on Steam in a way that one-ups the limited run of Mario 3D All Stars a thousand-fold: a vertical slice of an aborted Golden Axe reboot, Yakuza-reskinned Streets of Rage 2, and a Bomberman: Act Zero-esque remake of Fantasy Zone, all only available until the 19th. :
They didn't need to make it this small. The size of the original, they could've made it GBA size and it would still be micro.
does it come with a pair of tweezers?
As impractical as it is to try to play two untranslated JRPGs on a screen that tiny, I really NEED to have that Last Bible version of this console.
solely for those games to add to my MegaTen collection
@TheFrenchiestFry Please, don't encourage them. You know how hard it can be to get SMT stuff even now, let alone teases like this.
... sighing but who am I to tell you what to buy?...
The execution of this is utterly disappointing. We could have had a proper mini handheld console. Sega, you dumb head
we are not the target audience and they absolutely don't care what the rest of the world thinks.
@ritouf Logical fallacy: large corporation need not be concerned with customer opinions! But you, NL reader, should be concerned with ritouf's opinion!
To all those defending Sega by saying "Why should Japanese care what outsiders think??":
If any developer outside Japan - including evil Westerners - should release a product which disregards a large portion of the planet, I fully expect that you will refrain from commenting about that narrow-minded, chauvinistic, supremacist et cetera et cetera...
This just makes me think of the tiny everything joke on family Guy. Maybe this'll be a hit in it's land of origin, but I'm kind of wondering what's going on at Sega, I can't really remember the last time I heard about them making a new game after Bayonetta and vanquish (I know they had to have made something over the last 7 years, but I cannot remember).
I don't see the appeal. But if this is marketed for Japan consumers their response is really all that matters.
I loved Sega.
But modern Sega is terrible.
It’s a bit humorous that it runs off of two AAA batteries compared to the six AA’s.
@COVIDberry You have no idea that you just outed yourself as a supremacist, do you?
@RushDawg what is ironic about my user name? If you would like to have a conversation about marketing and product demographics you can do so with civility. My paying respect to my favorite seiyuu or admiring the qualities of the seiryu have nothing to do with my statement. Not only
that my nationality is on my profile.
Would you like to try again to open a dialogue without the attempt at snark?
We are reminded again why Sega gave up on hardware
Nice attempt at deflection. Sorry I hurt your feelings, but it doesn't change the fact that it was you, not SEGA, who missed the point with this one.
You're just not keeping up with SEGA, they've been pretty active. .
Just this year they've launched a reboot of the Sakura Wars franchise. The new Yakuza game (#7) is coming out in a few weeks too, on pretty much every console except the Switch.
More broadly, the Yakuza franchise has gained a lot of popularity in the West recently. Yakuza 0 in particular made a big splash when it was released in 2017.
Speaking of 2017, Sonic Mania, arguably the best Sonic game ever, also came out that year.
Lastly, SEGA also owns Atlus. Persona 5 was a huge success and the recently released 13 Sentinels Aegis Rim is getting rave reviews.
This is kinda neat but it's also just way too small to be useful. They should have made it bigger so I could actually enjoy playing games on it. As it is I just gotta pass on this despite being a big Sega fan.
We need Mini Saturn.
@RushDawg I'm aware of those games even own a few and that's the thing I'm having the problem with when it comes to remmebering, they don't even seem like Sega games. That probably has to do with most of them being only on the playstation until recently and other Sega games have been multiplat since they dropped out of console making.
They could have spent money optimizing Yakuza: LaD to run half decently on.....any one system. Instead, they did this.
Supposedly even the VMU has a bigger screen than this.
This is way too small and pointless.I want one.
THERE RICH IN JAPAN
I think the point has been rather spectacularly missed. This is a collectable, a novelty, a deluxe gashapon toy. That it actually plays games is cool bonus.
@ritouf LOL What are you talking about? Seriously, please clarify.
@Ryu_Niiyama I more or less agree with you. I mean, Sega has released a number of Yakuza games now without English dubbing, and we stupid, xenophobic Westerners eat them up, so I'm not sure why folk are playing this game of exclusivity. As for your nationality... I'm always down to discuss astrophysics
"What is this, a game gear for ants?" Well, It would better suit a tarantula... We need a N64 mini. Or a GameCube mini..... Smash 64 would be nice, but... IT's not melee.
@ritouf Right-o, but Sega is a multinational actively engaged in trying to expand their mindshare, and with a history of success in the Western Hemisphere. But, you know, it's their dime, they can do what they want. I guess we'll have to agree to disagree, ritouf.
I can't read Sega's mind... a truly terrifying thought! But I get the idea that this was made more for people who like to collect novelty gizmos more than as a legitimate way to play games.
This thing looks absolutely pointless. Who seriously thought this was a good idea. The screen is about 1 inch!!! Even a screen with 9 times the area would be considered small (3 inch across). Never mind the tiny d pad. It not even nice to look at or display on a shelf since it doesn't even have the original proportions.
I guess the packaging is pleasant...
They should of added the ability to connect it to a monitor as well as being able to connect a full size controller.
I hope a hacker finds a way to dump the ROM for the exclusive Aleste game. Aleste is the best series of vertical shoot-'em-ups. ("Aleste" is a Japanese misspelling of "Arrester".)
@durr I love Sega, but they will never beat nintendo although they got better game library. Why don't they spend money to make new games like golden axe, shinobi, virtua fighter and many more? The huge success of streets of rage 4 proves that people still love Sega titles.
I bought the Black model, and I enjoy it for the novelty it is, especially for one who owned a hand-me-down Game Gear at a very young age. I am not mindlessly bashing it for not being bigger with more games, or not being the Dreamcast Mini people were demanding. (honestly, a Master System should be next)
Yeah this is Dr. Johnny Bananas crazy. I had a Gameboy micro for a short time, I can't imagine something even smaller. The only thing I like is that it takes normal batteries. I love to keep things forever, and my original Gameboy from when I was a kid still works and I still play it. Will any of my 3ds models be in playable condition in 20 years? Doubtful, although maybe my original one piece 2ds could survive it, but in 5 years I've already worn out 2 Nintendo replacement batteries and reglued the slide stick cover back on multiple times...
Rambling comment aside, this is silly. If gonna go down the "silly" road at least make it cool. Reissue the first 1989 Gameboy to exact specs, and give those old cartridges a go of production. Make some new Gameboy games. Why the hell not? Makes more sense than this
Sega blew a massive chance to make some good money and also beat Nintendo to the market in the mini-console market by being the first company to offer a mini based on an old Handheld System.
People keep talking about a Nintendo 64 mini, but a bigger moneymaker would have been a Game Boy Color mini that was loaded with the best games from the Game Boy and Game Boy Color.
Sega had a chance to make some waves here and offer something to their loyal Sega fanboys like myself.
I would have loved to spend for a Game Gear mini that was loaded with 30-40 games from the Game Gear libary.
They had the right idea by making a Game Gear mini, they just screwed it up by making consoles that had four games and were too small to play!
Come on Sega, you blew a massive chance to make an impact in the mini console market.
As this is Japan only we might yet see a different version for the rest of the world. 🤞🏻
Meanwhile counting down the days till the new Game & Watch is out. 🥳
It is kinda insane and that is why i want one
All of that and it uses real batteries. Forget it what a pos for not even having a small lithium.
@RushDawg Noone here is buying it.
Nowhere is even bothering to sell it.
Amazon reduced the price two days after launch.
@sword_9mm if you want lynx games buy an Evercade. Next month they are releasing 2 Atari Lynx carts with 25 games in total. They will be the 13th and 14th carts for the console with 3 more announced for q1 next year so far. Great little console.
Interesting novelty, but no way would I ever drop £40-50 on one. Oh well.
I prefer it that way, i just use rechargable ones.
So it is easier to get new ones, not to forgett to have the easy way to change them.
My guess is, kawaii culture in Japan is what makes this product marketable there.
Where are you getting this information from? Anecdotal from your own experience or do you have broader retail data for Japan?
I'm definitely not seeing a discount on Amazon. I just checked Amazon Japan, and:
-The black model is selling for ¥8000
-The blue model is selling for ¥5478
-The yellow model is selling for ¥5478
-The red model is selling for ¥5478
The MSRP is ¥4980
So from what I'm seeing, this thing is selling like hot cakes on Amazon at least and is already going for more than its MSRP. No discounts as far as I can tell.
Do people honestly believe that just because something is being marketed to released in their region that they have no right to comment on it?
That seems like censorship.
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