Your Move: Game Gear

May 3, 2018

The NPD Group is a market research company that releases a report each month of every single video game that is sold. Usually these reports are fairly predictable: Lots of sales for the current consoles and PCs, fewer sales for the last generation systems, and that’s about it. But in last month’s report, there was something that nobody expected: one game was sold for the Sega Game Gear.

The Game Gear was available from 1991 to ‘97, and was a contemporary of Nintendo’s Game Boy. In a lot of ways, it was better than the Game Boy - it had a full-color screen, better sound and graphics, and it could even tune into TV broadcasts with an adapter. But, the system only ran for a few hours on six AA batteries, and because of Nintendo’s licensing restrictions at the time, many popular games on other systems couldn’t be ported to the Game Gear. Sales of the system weren’t horrible, but they were just a fraction of the number of portables Nintendo sold.

So this makes it even more odd that a game was sold for the system in 2018. The game in question, 1992’s Sonic the Hedgehog 2, wasn’t a used game sale - NPD only tracks new games sold. So, somewhere in the country, there was a brand new copy of Sonic 2 sitting on a shelf, unsold for two and a half decades.

The theory that makes the most sense to me is that the game was sold as part of the nationwide Toys R Us clearance - stores are getting completely cleared out, and I can just imagine a lone Game Gear game being found behind a fixture that hasn’t moved in 20 years. I’d buy it too, just for the nostalgia.

In fact, I think I’ll go dig out my own Game Gear tonight... as soon as I find half a dozen batteries.

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