My return to handheld gaming....

It's been more than two decades since I last played or owned a handheld game. I bet some of you would be surprised to know that, considering my background of being a techie/gamer type of person. But it's true. I'm into PC and console gaming, but I never really bothered with handhelds. For the most part the consoles and the games themselves can be quite expensive, and the sound and graphics usually pale in comparison to full-size consoles.

Before we go further, here's a little trip down memory lane. How many of you remember owning a Nintendo Game & Watch? You know, those small games with monochrome LCD screens which keep time on the side?

Well for me, and probably for a lot of you as well, the Game & Watch truly represented my first foray into handheld gaming. I was still in elementary school when I remembered owning my first ever Game & Watch:

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Not long after that, I found myself with another:

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Donkey Kong Jr.

These two games gave hours and hours of fun back then, which is a testament to their elegant design. It's amazing how much playability you could get out of them despite their simplicity. I'd bet that if you put a working unit of any of the two games above in my hands now, I can still score up to 999, the maximum high score these devices can remember. Those were the days...

But that was more than twenty years ago, and I've either broken or lost those Game & Watches of mine. Quite a shame too, since if I'm not mistaken those things seem to be quite valuable to collectors nowadays.

Well after a hiatus of two decades, I've found myself owning a new handheld. By some fluke I was able to find an extraordinarily good deal for a Nintendo Game Boy Advance SP (GBA SP). The deal was good enough that I ended up getting two, one black, and one silver. The other one is for my son, who, at age nine, is being introduced to handheld gaming at about the same age as I was.

It's also quite ironic when you realize that the GBA SP is a direct descendant of the old Game & Watch of yore.

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Game Boy Advance SP.

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Neat and compact when folded.

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Look familiar?

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In silver, with carrying strap and silicone protection. A must for kids.

With a 32-bit ARM CPU, this device is about as powerful as the original Playstation. Which isn't bad for something you can fold up and carry in your pocket. And with more than 700 titles available, I doubt it if I'll be bored with it anytime soon.

Some of you may ask, why not a Nintendo DS? Or a Playstation Portable? Simple because I can't afford any of them. Not right now, anyway. Maybe someday, when the prices of these consoles and their games drop. Who knows? Perhaps in another decade or two. :-)


snglguy said…
Hehehehe, oh man! I was already in college when those things first came out. I remember playing popeye too but it wasn't in color like the one in the picture.... :D
Ronald Allan said…
Popeye was never in color...the colorful bits you see are permanently printed on the screen. All the moving bits are in black and white. :-)

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