In June 1991 (US) Sega released the Game Gear System, its first portable console. The Nintendo Game Boy had been a runaway success when it was released in 1989. Sega strove to make its portable system the more impressive of the two. The Sega Game Gear console features a color LCD screen unlike the monochrome Game Boy. It contains the same 8-bit Z-80A processor that powered the Sega Master System. The Game Gear screen is 3.2 square inches compared to the 2 square inch Game Boy display. Segaís system is capable of exhibiting up to 32 colors at one time. The original retail price of Game Gear was $149. Cartridges ranged from $24.99 to $29.99 each. They were molded black plastic with a rounded front for convenient removal. The original Game Gear pack-in title was Columns. It was similar to the Tetris cartridge that Nintendo had included when it launched the Game Boy. There were six software titles available at the time of the Game Gearís release. The Sega Game Gear display is backlit allowing it to be played in dim lighting conditions. While this feature is not included on the Game Boy it does provide a disadvantage -- the Game Gear requires 6 AA batteries that only last up to six hours. The Nintendo Game Boy only requires 4 AA batteries and is capable of providing up to 35 hours of play The Game Gear was powered by many 8-bit conversions of Genesis titles, such as Sonic the Hedgehog, Desert Strike, World Series Baseball and Streets of Rage. Although Game Gear did achieve some moderate success (actually becoming the second most popular portable gaming system of all time), it was never able to really compete with Nintendo's Gameboy. With about 200 different titles to choose from, there are many classic games available for the Game Gear.
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