Handheld Generations

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scotland
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Handheld Generations

Postby scotland » December 4th, 2016, 8:18 pm

I don't recall when gamers started dividing things up into generations, but it was designed for consoles. Handhelds are definitely an afterthought. According to wikipedia, the 4th generation is about 16 bit processors and elaborate color, for instance. Yet the 8 bit monochrome Gameboy is considered fourth generation, just because its release date.

What do you think about handheld generations.

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Stalvern
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Re: Handheld Generations

Postby Stalvern » December 5th, 2016, 1:47 am

The systems' releases are so staggered that the term doesn't even apply. Power doesn't have the importance for handhelds that it does for consoles, so the companies just release them at their own paces instead of timing them to have directly competitive hardware. And now that everybody and their mom has a smartphone, even the basic idea of a "handheld game system" is getting pretty diluted.

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Rookie1
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Re: Handheld Generations

Postby Rookie1 » December 5th, 2016, 6:09 am

Hard to tell. First you need to figure out what you actually consider a handheld game. Handheld electronic games go back to the early early 70's. Are those early games included in the generational divide? Wikipedia says the "first" handheld game was in 1976, but there were handheld electronic games well before that such as Waco Tic-Tac-Toe.

Consoles seem a little more finite, even though they are staggered a bit. It basically revolves around the "big 5." Atari, Nintendo, Sega, Sony, and Microsoft. Anything pre-2600 is gen 1. 2600 is gen 2, NES gen 3, SNES/Sega gen 4, and so on.

Its hard to lump handhelds in to that because, for example, the original Gameboy was on the shelf for almost 15 years. And there wasnt much innovation to it during that time other than the addition of a slimmer design and non-backlit color pallets, nor could anything even compete with it. The Lynx and GameGear launched at pretty much the same exact time as the GB, as well as the Tiger games which were massively popular. So you had this huge spectrum of stuff all released at the same time. Is a Tiger game a 4th gen handheld as well, or does that not count?

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scotland
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Re: Handheld Generations

Postby scotland » December 5th, 2016, 7:35 am

Rookie1 wrote:Handheld electronic games go back to the early early 70's. Are those early games included in the generational divide? Wikipedia says the "first" handheld game was in 1976, but there were handheld electronic games well before that such as Waco Tic-Tac-Toe.


The 1976 date is from Mattel's auto race. Its credited with being the first digital, all solid state handheld. Nothing is mechanical except controls and on switch. Note it has a computer AI, there is a PCB in there, with a microprocesser (a calculator chip, so I would guess 4 bit) and 512k of code in that chips assembly language. Companies lkke Wico and Tomy made some fun electronic handhelds before auto race, but they usually have mechanical components and lack a microprocessor. So 1976 is a good date to start at.

If we called dedicated 'only plays what came with it' handhelds generation 1, like pong era consoles, then Tiger games are still generation 1. Unfortunately, so are handhelds made recently by companies like Excalibur, so it never ends.

I think handhelds need other break points, but its hard to figure out where. Sure, LCD came later than LED, but it was awhile before the gameplay was any better. Then came dot matrix or pixel lcd displays, then touchscreens, etc. Maybe screen tech is the way to go. Or maybe just group them by dates is the best we got.

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Rookie1
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Re: Handheld Generations

Postby Rookie1 » December 5th, 2016, 11:03 am

scotland wrote:
Rookie1 wrote:Handheld electronic games go back to the early early 70's. Are those early games included in the generational divide? Wikipedia says the "first" handheld game was in 1976, but there were handheld electronic games well before that such as Waco Tic-Tac-Toe.


The 1976 date is from Mattel's auto race. Its credited with being the first digital, all solid state handheld. Nothing is mechanical except controls and on switch. Note it has a computer AI, there is a PCB in there, with a microprocesser (a calculator chip, so I would guess 4 bit) and 512k of code in that chips assembly language. Companies lkke Wico and Tomy made some fun electronic handhelds before auto race, but they usually have mechanical components and lack a microprocessor. So 1976 is a good date to start at.

If we called dedicated 'only plays what came with it' handhelds generation 1, like pong era consoles, then Tiger games are still generation 1. Unfortunately, so are handhelds made recently by companies like Excalibur, so it never ends.

I think handhelds need other break points, but its hard to figure out where. Sure, LCD came later than LED, but it was awhile before the gameplay was any better. Then came dot matrix or pixel lcd displays, then touchscreens, etc. Maybe screen tech is the way to go. Or maybe just group them by dates is the best we got.


Like I said, you would have to figure out what should and should not be lumped in. Lets not forget about early cell phone games, palm OS games, and other such things. Even the dreamcast had handheld games attached to its memory cards, do those count? Such a crazy market mobile gaming has been. And literally every single bit of it has been destroyed by Nintendo.

Maybe we should just go by Nintendo as a guide. Pre-GB is Gen1. GB/GBC is Gen2. GBA/GBAsp is Gen3 etc. Seems like Nintendo is the only thing that matters in the handheld market up until the PSP and then to iOS and Droid based games. VGC can pioneer the definitive handheld generation guide.

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scotland
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Re: Handheld Generations

Postby scotland » December 5th, 2016, 11:43 am

Good reply. I like you.

If we actually had numbers, I bet Tiger sold close to as many game units as Nintendo did Gameboys. Yeah, its not fair since every tiger game is a discrete handheld device, but I am giving Nintendo credit only for the GB unit, not each game pak.

I would say to count something has to be primarily a gaming device. So the VMU is primarily a memory card, early calculators were calculators despite games that could be played on them, and phones are out as primarily phones. However, the Ngage was billed as kinda both, so I guess its in.

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Re: Handheld Generations

Postby Rookie1 » December 5th, 2016, 1:56 pm

Alright, so lets flesh this out then.

Gen 1 (Pre-GB era) - This will cover the entirety of the first digital solid state handhelds. This includes all LCD style games regardless of their release date, including all Tiger LCD games. For example, the R-Zone came out in 1995, but would not get a generation upgrade as it is just a basic LCD style game.

Gen 2 (GB era) - This includes the original GB, GB Pocket, & GB Color. There wasnt a significant upgrade between those to warrant a generation upgrade. We will also add the Lynx, GameGear, Nomad, Turbo Express, Neo-Geo Pocket, & Game.Com. Granted, these were all technically better than the GB (well, maybe not the Game.com), but did nothing to swing the market. All had relatively short shelf lives, did not offer significant competition, and never even lasted long enough to see Nintendo's next significant handheld era.

Gen 3 (GBA era) - This includes the GBA, GB Micro, and GBA SP. There wasnt a significant upgrade between those to warrant a generation upgrade. This category also includes the N-Gage as it was the only commercially advertised and marketed sign of competition during this era.

Gen 4 (Nintendo DS Era) - This will include the entire DS line. DS, DS Light, DSi, DSi XL. There wasnt a significant upgrade between those to warrant a generation upgrade. This will also include the PSP & PSP Go.

Gen 5 (Nintendo 3DS Era) - This will include the entire 3DS line, including the 2DS, New 3DS, and all variations thereof. This also includes the PS Vita.

Gen 6 ????? Possibly the Switch? Also, Nintendo has jumped to the mobile market, so we might officially bring in iOS for this generation.

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Re: Handheld Generations

Postby Sut » December 5th, 2016, 2:56 pm

Rookie1 wrote:Alright, so lets flesh this out then.

Gen 1 (Pre-GB era) - This will cover the entirety of the first digital solid state handhelds. This includes all LCD style games regardless of their release date, including all Tiger LCD games. For example, the R-Zone came out in 1995, but would not get a generation upgrade as it is just a basic LCD style game.

Gen 2 (GB era) - This includes the original GB, GB Pocket, & GB Color. There wasnt a significant upgrade between those to warrant a generation upgrade. We will also add the Lynx, GameGear, Nomad, Turbo Express, Neo-Geo Pocket, & Game.Com. Granted, these were all technically better than the GB (well, maybe not the Game.com), but did nothing to swing the market. All had relatively short shelf lives, did not offer significant competition, and never even lasted long enough to see Nintendo's next significant handheld era.

Gen 3 (GBA era) - This includes the GBA, GB Micro, and GBA SP. There wasnt a significant upgrade between those to warrant a generation upgrade. This category also includes the N-Gage as it was the only commercially advertised and marketed sign of competition during this era.

Gen 4 (Nintendo DS Era) - This will include the entire DS line. DS, DS Light, DSi, DSi XL. There wasnt a significant upgrade between those to warrant a generation upgrade. This will also include the PSP & PSP Go.

Gen 5 (Nintendo 3DS Era) - This will include the entire 3DS line, including the 2DS, New 3DS, and all variations thereof. This also includes the PS Vita.

Gen 6 ????? Possibly the Switch? Also, Nintendo has jumped to the mobile market, so we might officially bring in iOS for this generation.


I'd go along with this logic it's a nice combination of release dates and of tech used. As a console equivilent the Amstrad GX4000 released after the MegaDrive but is definitely third gen tech and was aimed at that marketplace.
Likewise the Tiger LCD games are 'gen 1' handheld tech released later. Not sure about the R-Zone as that had interchangeable games but it's tech is definitely Gen 1 (like the PC-50x I suppose).
Gaming since the Acorn Electron.

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Stalvern
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Re: Handheld Generations

Postby Stalvern » December 5th, 2016, 3:14 pm

You forgot the Gizmondo! The fans will riot!

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scotland
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Re: Handheld Generations

Postby scotland » December 5th, 2016, 5:04 pm

Stalvern wrote:You forgot the Gizmondo! The fans will riot!


Forget the fans, watch out for the Swedish mafia.

I like the structure. Where does the Dingoo fit in? Gen 4? There are also modern Android players now - gen 5?

One issue with handhelds is that the generations may have start dates but no end dates. for instance, you can buy handheld famicoms, or the new Atari flashback portable, etc. These system on a chip may be like generation 3-4, etc. Its complicated.


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