In honor of the company’s 60th anniversary, Sega has announced the coming Japanese release of the Game Gear Micro. What Sega is calling a “portable mascot” will ship in Japan on October 6 for an MSRP of ¥4,980 (about $50). No release plans have been announced for other markets.
The “Micro” moniker is well-earned here—the system measures just 3.14-inches wide, 1.69-inches high, and 0.79-inches deep (80mm×40mm×20mm). That’s roughly a 92-percent volume reduction (or an 86-percent “footprint area” reduction) from the original Game Gear, which was bulky even by early ’90s portable console standards. That also means the Game Gear Micro is set to take the “smallest gaming portable” crown from 2005’s Game Boy Micro, which held the previous record at 4×2×0.7 inches with a 2-inch diagonal screen.
Despite the tiny size, the Game Gear Micro’s 1.15-inch screen manages a 240×180 pixel resolution, which actually improves on the 160×144 pixel resolution of the original Game Gear’s 3.2-inch screen. That puts the display at roughly 260 pixels per inch, or just short of Apple’s roughly 300 dpi “retina display” standard.
And while the original Game Gear needed six AA batteries (for just three to five hours of play time), the Game Gear Micro can run on two AAAs or a USB micro power adapter. Sega even managed to squeeze a mono speaker and headphone jack in there, too (eat your heart out, Game Boy Advance SP).
Splitting the market in four
Like previous “plug and play” TV-based retro systems, the Game Gear Micro will only sport a limited selection of pre-loaded games, with no way to add more (at least officially). But in what seems like a blatant move to spur the collector’s market, Sega is including four different games on each of four different colors of the Micro system. Here are the line-ups.
- Out Run
- Puyo Puyo 2
- Royal Stone
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Baku Baku Animal
- Gunstar Heroes
- Sonic & Tails
- Sylvan Tale
- Shining Force Gaiden: Expedition to the Land of Evil
- Shining Force Gaiden II: The Sword of Hajya
- Shining Force Gaiden: Final Conflict
- Nazopuyo Aruru no Ru
- Game Gear Shinobi
- Megami Tensei Gaiden: Last Bible Special
- Revelations: The Demon Slayer
Japanese customers who pre-order all four models for ¥19,800 (about $200) will also get a working miniature replica of Sega’s “Big Window” magnifier to make the tiny screen a little less squint-inducing. A translucent “Smoke” mock-up model is also available as part of a “DX” bundle from the Japanese Sega Shop, though this model does not actually play games. Other Japanese shops will offer other bundle freebies like T-shirts and pins.
With the Game Gear Micro, Sega becomes the first company to take the recent trend of self-contained retro systems into the portable realm. We can only hope a massively successful release will convince Nintendo to follow Sega’s lead and give us the miniature Virtual Boy we all crave.
Oh, and a new “Game Boy Classic” retro package would be nice, too, we suppose.