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Thread: Hypothetical SEGA handhelds

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    The Future Is Yesterday Hedgehog-in-TrainingRaging in the Streets SegataS's Avatar
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    NGPC Hypothetical SEGA handhelds

    Purely hypothetical situation and ask others to toss in ideas. Tech knowledge and all. Dreamcast is doing well in sales. Not saying gangbusters. Not saying it's not either. Let's just say SEGA is financially sound in the late 90s through the early to mid-2000s for both scenarios. What 2 handhelds would be interesting to see from SEGA at that time period? Yes, we know Nintendo owned and still owns that space but even if they shared some market with them what would you like to have seen?




    I already know of Neo Geo's partnership with the Pocket. What I am thinking of is a system released in mid-2000. "32-bit" 2D handheld. Cart based. Similar design stylings as it's bigger brother the Dreamcast. The unit is roughly on par spec wise as the GBA. I'm bad at coming up with names but Pocket Dream? I dunno. If the GP32 didn't exist then I like the name of SEGA Game Park. I'm bad with specs so feel free to poke holes in this.









    SGP Specs.

    12-15MHz CPU
    24KB of internal memory. 80KB of VRAM
    320x224 resolution screen. Not backlit. (Thanks to Axel for a better resolution suggestion)

    2AA Batteries with 12 hour battery life.

    The main launch game is what would have been Sonic Advance.
    Chu Chu Rocket Pocket
    Tony Hawk
    Rayman
    Sonic Drift 2
    Army Men game.
    Castlevania either port of the new game.
    One licensed movie game because they were in every launch.

    Summer 2000. $99.99


    Lastly, SEGA tries to make some deals happen. Exclusive Grandia portable series of games. Maybe try to get those Wonderswan Final Fantasy ports. While I know it never had the same impact as Pokemon. Couldn't hurt either. Some exclusive Digimon games. Nice to have an alternative.
    If that system sells reasonably well. Well enough for a successor in 2005.

    This is where I am at.

    A powerful handheld. Uses Dreamcast on a chip. Now the DC on a chip in 2004 was more powerful than Dreamcast. It could push 2.1 Gigaflops. 5-6 MPPS. You could get some DC ports on this thing.
    https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/...cast-on-a-chip

    Again feel free to correct any specs I mention.





    Fall 2005 release. Clamshell design.

    250-300MHz CPU
    24MB of RAM.
    480x270 screen resolution. TFT LCD.
    SD card slot for up to 8GB
    Wifi built in.
    5-10 hour battery life.

    2 card slots. One for previous systems games. The other for smaller carts for current games. DS max cart size was 512MB but few games used it. For this new SEGA Handheld. Carts have a capacity of 256-512MB. Possible 1GB carts but not sure about in 2005. Maybe a couple years later.


    Dual analog.

    Launch lineup.
    DIMPS developed an Exclusive Sonic game.
    Madden 06 (US)
    Either Fifa or Pro Evo (EU/JP)
    Puyo Puyo game
    X-Men Legends
    Virtua Tennis
    Mega Man Maverick Hunter X
    Lumines (Exclusive instead of PSP)
    Need for Speed
    NBA Street 2
    Death Jr
    Genesis Collection


    Not a launch game but launch year. Thanks to it having dual analog. Capcom may bring Monster Hunter to this system instead of PSP. This is also assuming DC did well enough for a successor console. That's for another day tho.
    Last edited by SegataS; 01-13-2020 at 04:31 PM.

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    The portable DC would have been a good idea since as you point out there were already ways to build a mobile SH-4 and there would be no shortage of games to port over.

    I don't think the Game Park would have been that impressive since the Nomad came out several years earlier and already offered a better display than that.

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    The Future Is Yesterday Hedgehog-in-TrainingRaging in the Streets SegataS's Avatar
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    What display would you recommend? The other thing was I wanted to keep the specs modest for a modest price on the first system.

    Life!? ... What console is that on?



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    Quote Originally Posted by SegataS View Post
    What display would you recommend? The other thing was I wanted to keep the specs modest for a modest price on the first system.
    I would keep the resolution at 320x224, maybe 320x240 since that might have been more common for LCDs at the time. The reason I say that is because let's say Sega had a handheld out in 2000-2001, the main competitor would have been the GBA, which had tons of 16-bit ports. So it would be like a rematch of SNES vs. Genesis. But if both handhelds are at 240x160 then it's already tilted in favor of Nintendo, because the games only lose 16 horizontal pixels (about one column of tiles) and don't look that different on the smaller screen.

    On the other hand going from 320 to 240 is a much bigger jump. Now you either have a 25% smaller playing window (making the game more difficult and maybe requiring more changes to the engine) or you have to redraw the assets, which costs money. Also the Genesis games no longer have the advantage of higher resolution but still have the disadvantage of fewer colors, unless you go back and add additional palettes.

    I won't even mention the issues with Sonic Genesis since hopefully they'd handle that better on their own console.
    Last edited by axel; 01-14-2020 at 01:06 AM.

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    The Future Is Yesterday Hedgehog-in-TrainingRaging in the Streets SegataS's Avatar
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    Interesting thanks. I shall change it then. Also curious what would be your SEGA handheld specs and such? I'd like to see more peoples own take on what they would have liked to see.

    Life!? ... What console is that on?



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    Quote Originally Posted by SegataS View Post
    Interesting thanks. I shall change it then. Also curious what would be your SEGA handheld specs and such? I'd like to see more peoples own take on what they would have liked to see.
    If it was possible to make a Nomad that's lighter and gets better battery life I would have just gone with that. The Pico is basically a portable Genesis and that was supported until 2005, so it would have fit in with the company strategy of the time. If the Genesis is looking too old at this point maybe add a second VDP and more CRAM and VRAM, that should get you all the layers, sprites and colors you need, maybe a simple DSP for 3D math.

    I had fun with the GBA library but the hardware itself was not that impressive, Nintendo got away with crappy screens (probably for battery life) and low quality audio because they had no real competition for portable consoles. Today when I want to play a GBA game I grab my DS. Sega could easily have made a better portable at the time.

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    I DON'T LIKE POKEMON Hero of Algol j_factor's Avatar
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    I have read that the "real reason" for the lack of a Game Gear successor around 1997 is because Sega spent a year negotiating a merger with Bandai, which very nearly happened. Notice that the WonderSwan came out in Japan in 1997. I presume/hope that if it had ended up being the Sega WonderSwan, it would have at least been in color from the start. There is absolutely no reason they couldn't have skipped the monochrome version and released the WonderSwan Color in 1997, btw. It was kind of pathetic that it took until late 2000 for the WonderSwan Color to come out. Both of those moves (waiting until 2000 for the color, and having a b&w version in the first place) were done to keep the price very low. It was cheaper than it needed to be.

    The WonderSwan Color in 1997 still isn't impressive compared to the Nomad, but that's really not how the industry was looking at the time. The lesson of the Game Boy's lopsided victory was perceived to be that price point and battery life were the top concerns, and people cared far less about graphics or screen quality. That's why the WonderSwan, Neo Geo Pocket, and Game.com were all cheap monochrome devices, even though they were launching against the Game Boy Color. I think the "lesson" was essentially correct but they took it too far by omitting color. Black & white in 1998 was just too weak. But I think a color WonderSwan from Sega in 1997 was probably the best realistic scenario for another Sega handheld to do decently. Probably because even under Bandai I still think it would've done better as a color system from the start (with the appropriate increase in MSRP).


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    Quote Originally Posted by j_factor View Post
    I have read that the "real reason" for the lack of a Game Gear successor around 1997 is because Sega spent a year negotiating a merger with Bandai, which very nearly happened. Notice that the WonderSwan came out in Japan in 1997. I presume/hope that if it had ended up being the Sega WonderSwan, it would have at least been in color from the start. There is absolutely no reason they couldn't have skipped the monochrome version and released the WonderSwan Color in 1997, btw. It was kind of pathetic that it took until late 2000 for the WonderSwan Color to come out. Both of those moves (waiting until 2000 for the color, and having a b&w version in the first place) were done to keep the price very low. It was cheaper than it needed to be.

    The WonderSwan Color in 1997 still isn't impressive compared to the Nomad, but that's really not how the industry was looking at the time. The lesson of the Game Boy's lopsided victory was perceived to be that price point and battery life were the top concerns, and people cared far less about graphics or screen quality. That's why the WonderSwan, Neo Geo Pocket, and Game.com were all cheap monochrome devices, even though they were launching against the Game Boy Color. I think the "lesson" was essentially correct but they took it too far by omitting color. Black & white in 1998 was just too weak. But I think a color WonderSwan from Sega in 1997 was probably the best realistic scenario for another Sega handheld to do decently. Probably because even under Bandai I still think it would've done better as a color system from the start (with the appropriate increase in MSRP).
    Yup, color handhelds were available even in 1989, the only reason the Gameboy took off was because of its battery life and solid line-up of games. But by the late '90s rechargeable batteries were common so this was less of a concern IMO. I would rather have had a color, backlit handheld that needed daily charges than a crappy grayscale screen that can run for a week. A Wonderswan Color (maybe retitled Game Gear 2?) at the same time as the GBC with an international release and a strong line-up of Sega games would have been interesting.

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