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A Brief History Of Handheld Gaming

GizmondoAs Sony officially sends the PlayStation Vita out into the world in North America and Europe this week, 1UP has taken a look back at the many other handheld video game systems that have come before it and points out how each one succeeded, failed, or met somewhere in the middle.  You've heard the story of the Nintendo Game Boy before, sure, but the piece also includes some notable also-rans including the Watara Supervision, Wonderswan, Neo Geo Pocket Color, and the infamous Gizmondo.

Gizmondo arrived stillborn thanks to the shady dealings of its parent company. Even disregarding its terrible (and possibly criminal) business model, the Gizmondo wasn't a particularly compelling piece of hardware; its design bore a bizarre resemblance to a black rubberized taco with valves sticking out of the top. Its software lineup featured a handful of noteworthy third-party games and a whole lot of nothing. And let's not forget that Gizmondo's entire existence has been theorized to serve entirely as an excuse for its creators to fund nice cars and have fancy parties with the media.

It's impossible not to notice that the article ends up being a look at Nintendo vs The Other Guys across the history of handheld gaming.  If the company wasn't striking down Atari or NEC, it was matched with the likes of Sony or Sega.  Through it all, Nintendo is still there and still finding success.  There's certainly room in the market for two handheld systems and competition keeps everyone on their collective toes, and it's interesting to see how more recent handheld systems were designed in an attempt not to make the mistakes of the Lynx or Neo Geo Pocket.  Lessons have definitely been learned over the years.  Those who don't learn their history are doomed to repeat it with a Tiger