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volume 1, issue 41

Today in loonygames:

New!! The Archives have been cleaned up, fead links fixed, and printable versions restored! Also, don't miss the new comments on the front page!

Livin' With The Sims: theAntiELVIS explores the wild and wacky world that is Will Wright's The Sims, asking the inevitable quesiton, "is The Sims the first step toward a virtual life where everyone is Swedish?"

Pixel Obscura: Josh Vasquez on Omikron: The Nomad Soul.

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Game Boy for President: Nick F's love for the Game Boy.

Game Programming in the 21st Century: James Hague's look at the future of the industry, and how the GameBoy will affect it.

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Put a Little Love in Your Pocket!

By Jason "loonyboi" Bergman


The next attempt at taking on the GameBoy came from NEC of all people. While the TurboGrafx-16 never managed to do especially well in the US, overseas it was a big success, and prompted several versions of the system, including the PC Engine GT, or as it was known in the US, the TurboExpress. Since the TurboGrafx-16 used such small game carts to begin with, it was the ideal platform to build a portable system around. The TurboExpress resembled an odd hybrid of a Game Gear and a GameBoy, with its sleek curves and slim shape. It was heavy, no doubt about it, but what it did manage to do was play the exact same titles as the standard TurboGrafx-16 system, and it did so in brilliant color. Like the Game Gear, there was also a TV Tuner available for the system, and while it still wasn't great looking, it was definitely a step up. But, as the TurboGrafx completely tanked in the States, the TurboExpress did as well.

The Nomad was neat, but a spectacular failure.

While the Game Gear was never particularly successful, the Genesis was a big hit for Sega. Arriving before the Genesis, and managing to cut into Nintendo's awesome audience, the Genesis really took off with the release of Sonic the Hedgehog in 1992. Two years later, towards the end of the 16-bit era, Sega tried to hang onto their audience with several failed tactics: the disaster that was the 32X (an "upgrade" for the Genesis system) and the Nomad. The Sega Nomad was an interesting thing. It was a portable Genesis, complete with six built in buttons (which had become a popular add-on, but wasn't part of the original Genesis controllers) and a nice sized color screen. It was a lot clunkier in shape than the TurboExpress, as the Genesis cartridges were never designed for mobile gaming, but it was a technological marvel nonetheless. What killed the Nomad ultimately was its high price. When it was released, Sega asked for $179 for the thing…already $100 more than the GameBoy, and way more than their own Game Gear system (which had custom ports of many of the Genesis' top titles). The Nomad was also scarcely available in most places…it was a common sight in Toys R' Us stores, but good luck finding it elsewhere. The system was doomed since it was announced, and many retailers smelled a stinker when they heard one. Fortunately for Genesis enthusiasts, not everyone saw the system's failure coming. The Nomad has become quite popular with collectors these days, as it can be picked up for as little as $45 in some places, and games for under $10.

Cool idea, big flop.

Another last-ditch effort by Sega was the CDX, an attempt at marketing a Genesis/SegaCD hybrid that also doubled as a portable CD player. It wasn't a portable system in the sense that you could actually play games on the go…it still needed a joystick and a television to play games, but it was quite portable, and very stylish nonetheless. Needless to say, it was too little, too late, and tanked as well.


(Continued on next page)


Credits: Illustration © 1999 Michael Krahulik. This article is © 1999 Jason Bergman. All other content is © 1999 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited, so don't try it, or I'll sick my Pikachu on your ass.