Handheld gaming has never really had it’s full sway on me. I never had the original brick Gameboy, Tetris was just an arcade game for me and my first handheld would last 2 hours with 6AA batteries. So my first impression wasn’t great but I’ve bought a fair amount of hardware and software since. But still after the fact I only used them when I first got them or when traveling after the initial appeal died down. But since trading in all my current handhelds to Gamestop, I’ve have a craving to play with these machines all over again. Go figure as soon as I sold my DS, I wanted to play it. I’ve been so excited about the 3DS that just playing my old DS would be something to hold me over. So I started digging through my backlog of equipment and found a few treasures I forgot I still owned.

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First up to bat was my Sega Game Gear, this was my first handheld and it is a monster. Thanks to this beast of portable gaming glory, I know that rechargeable batteries exist. Not that they were of much help. I only ever owned 3 games for it but I played the hell out of each of them. I believe (if my memory doesn’t fail me) I got this as a Christmas/Birthday present. Which came with Super Columns and  my parents got me Spider-Man/X-men: Arcade’s Revenge as well. Being the ungrateful little devil I was as a child, I demanded a Sonic game. EnterSonic Triple Trouble, my favorite handheld sonic game. Probably a lot of that has to do with nostalgia but a very large part of it has to do with this one boss song. I know it sounds ridiculous to put a game on such a high pedestal for such a small part of the game. BUT IT’S SO GOOD. Back when I was little and I still had some sense of imagination, this song fueled images of being a super hero running across a speed bullet train, breaking the speed barrier to destroy the evil Dr. Robotnik! (Look I was 9 years old, watched the SatAM Sonic the Hedgehog show, Dr. Robotnik was a scary dude then). So while going through my old boxes to find this giant handheld, I was thinking about this song. How I had to relive that moment one more time on the actual handheld. So after searching through several boxes and finding a collection of N64 games I forgot I had. I popped 6 AA batteries into this bad boy and gave it a whirl. Holy shit, this was a horrible looking game. Even worse that the screen is kind of scratched to shitville. But I played through the routine 1st zone and even the first 2 acts of the 2nd zone then I got to the boss. That little mono speaker was blaring that fantastic bit of epicness and it gave me a huge smile. Thanks Game gear, you died on me everyday, but we’ll always have the 2nd act boss.

OC Remix of Sunset Park Zone Act 3

For years, I had put handheld gaming to bed. I would borrow the occasional friend’s old Brick Gameboy or maybe even their Gameboy Color back in the Pokemon days. But after a day of fiddling with the device, I’d return it to it’s owner and go back to my console/PC gaming structure. But after the Sega Dreamcast decided to ruin my sophmore year of High School (and by ruin I mean make it amazing and help me fail a few of my classes). I had to take a summer school class. My summer gaming days were being cut dramatically short. Cue the release of the Gameboy Advance. The first and only handheld I ever bought on day one (until the 3DS that is) and I cut class to do so. I think the only game I bought was Rayman. Which was fun but this was introduction to launch title games, there really wasn’t too much I wanted. So came the wait for Super Mario World, the Sonic Advance games and all the other amazing titles that came out on that little system. I pulled out my original Gameboy Advance. Smiled at it and continued to dive to the real one, my GBA SP. Since selling my DSlite, these are actually the only way I could play my GBA collection. And seeing how my SP was the newest handheld I currently own. I charged it up and started playing a ton of Mario and Luigi Superstar Saga. I never actually beat it before and honestly I doubt I’ll get to beating it this time too. But it’s been fun to start it over. I may actually have to pick up the DS sequels now (to play in my 3DS, Ooooo I’m so excited).

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So here I am with my handheld collection. It’s been funto reminisce but this Sunday can not get here any sooner. I’ve got planes to fly through hoops, submarines to sink and fighting tournaments to win.

Bryan Belcher

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