If there’s one area of gaming that seems to have gone under the radar in recent years, it has to be handheld gaming. The likes of the Game Boy and the PSP haven’t been seen on shelves in many years, but in the modern age, the spirit of the handheld lives on, and pocket-sized devices have become vital to how modern society operates.
Handheld gaming seems to have been popularized by early endeavors from the likes of Nintendo with the all-conquering Game Boy and Atari’s Lynx. The developments of such consoles in the late eighties and early nineties brought more full-fat titles to a pocket-sized device with the original runs of Pokémon and California Games becoming big successes on both devices. This was then followed up – certainly in the case of Nintendo’s Gameboy – by a flurry of follow-up devices such as the Gameboy Color and the Advance, as well as some intriguing accessories such as a camera and printer.
It’s the handheld gaming sphere that has been responsible for some of gaming’s biggest commercial failures, most notably that of the Gizmondo. The story of Tiger Telematics’ fledgling offering is one that has been well told since its demise some fifteen years ago but is nonetheless one that still sparks plenty of interest. However, even by today’s standards its feature set still seems incredibly forward-thinking. Having been built on a ported version of Windows CE, the Gizmondo was meant to have been one of the more modern handhelds out there, having been bundled with GPS and web browsing capabilities. After all, the console was originally intended as a GPS tracker.
The last few years have undoubtedly seen a major shift in the way that people game on handheld devices. Given the pronounced rise of smartphones in the last five to ten years, it should come as little surprise that such devices are being used for practically everything, including that of handheld gaming. The ways in which games are played on phones can now take more forms than expected including the more classical forms of downloadable apps from Android and iOS app stores, as well as a port for cloud gaming services such as Microsoft’s Project xCloud or the Shadow PC service that means phones can play AAA titles.
There is indeed another way of playing games in a handheld manner on phones, which involves those within browsers. Browser games and entertainment are nothing new within the tech space, but the scope of the games that can be played in browsers has increased. For example, games such as those featured on the Fruit Kings site are now considered a key part of those games played within browsers and also fundamental for paving the way for future developments in the sectors.
A site like Fruit Kings can act as a testament to the sheer variety of settings and options players have within this particular sphere of entertainment with games ranging from those set in ancient Rome to ports of popular television shows and games such as both Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and Monopoly.
It’s fair to say that handheld gaming has come a long way since the inception of the Game Boy in the late eighties. That console from Nintendo has acted as a major catalyst for the further developments that characterized both the 1990s and the 2000s. What’s more, while the likes of the Gizmondo weren’t commercially successful, such tech paved the way for the modern age of do-it-all smartphones that have become everyone’s companion in the 21st century.