It's said that everything that was old eventually becomes new again. In recent years, game enthusiasts have developed new games for the original GameBoy, NES, and Genesis, but some fans have gone even further than that, designing their own versions of classic consoles. One Sega fan in particular has focused their attention on Sega's beloved 90s handheld, modifying and designing custom Game Gears.
The Sega fan runs a shop called RetroGear Customs where they install new components and screens into old Sega Game Gears and give them beautiful cosmetic upgrades. Many of the mods are themed after classic Sega characters; the Sonic handhelds stand neck to neck with the best Sonic The Hedgehog fan art, and the orange, Tails themed edition is particularly inspired, with a clear screen bezel showing off the system's inner workings.
The shop sells the custom Sega handhelds through its website and also offers customers the chance to request individualized Game Gears. With the updated screens and gorgeous exterior shells, RetroGear Customs' revamped Game Gears are garnering much more positive reviews than Sega's latest official portable venture, the Game Gear micros.
The RetroGear Custom Instagram page is filled with comments praising the designs, and with the multitude of colorful variants it's easy to see why. For any Sega fans who simply wants a new shell on their current Game Gear, RetroGear Customs also lists the shells on their own. Being larger than the tiny Game Gear Micros, though smaller than YouTuber ZHC's custom 10-foot PS5, the meticulously revamped Game Gears are not only beautiful, they are perfectly playable.
The gaming industry is fueled by nostalgia for old games. Whether it's porting old games to newer consoles like with Super Mario 3D All-Stars onto the Switch, or requesting full-blown remakes of classics, such as with Final Fantasy 7 Remake, gamers will never stop trying to relive the old days.
This is exactly the marketing tactic Playdate is going for, but the console is aimed to be a lot more than just a blast to the past.
Playdate is an upcoming handheld console, but unlike the Switch or discontinued PS Vita, it's focus will be not just on indie games, but console exclusive indie games as well. Its style is reminiscent of the Game Boy Color but modernized to look sleek. Much like older handhelds, it's small enough to fit in a pocket to be taken on the go, but the Playdate is gearing up to be the most niche console on the market, which could lead either to great success via hype or only a handful of sales.
Playdate is being developed by Panic, a Portlandian software company known for publishing Untitled Goose Game and Firewatch, in collaboration with Teenage Engineering. According to Panic, Playdate is "not super cheap, but not super expensive" at the price of $149, going on preorder sometime in early 2021.
What is most interesting about Playdate is its design. Its buttons are minimal with mainly the A, B, and menu buttons and a D-pad on the front surface, but the analog crank on the right side makes the handheld console stand out against any others out there. The crank will be used as a controller in several indie games on the console, such as one of the only ones to be officially revealed so far, Time Travel Adventure.
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