Earlier this week, Sega announced it was releasing the Game Gear Micro, credit card-sized reproductions of the original Game Gear. There were four variations, each with four games a piece for about $46 each. As of this moment, this is limited only in Japan and has not been announced for international release.
But what if it was?
I did a bunch of articles way back when speculating about various Nintendo Mini consoles after the SNES Classic Editions, so why not do the same for this when it comes over? Given that most of the games on the Japanese Game Gear Micros were never released outside Japan, it’s likely most of them will be changed should the system cross over.
Now, let’s put in some qualifiers before I begin my list.
1) If this does indeed leave Japan, I very, very much doubt they will keep the whole “4 systems with 4 games per system” thing the Japanese version has. I believe they will release one system with many games, probably around $40, maybe $50 if they use a decent screen. I don’t think they’ll change the dimensions.
2) For this list, I’m going to go with 16 games, same as Japan overall. I CAN see them bumping it up to an even 20, but we’ll cross that bridge later.
3) No licensed titles. That means no sports games, no Disney games, and no Power Rangers games. I know some Disney titles made it onto the Genesis Mini, but I don’t think Sega will do the same for the Game Gear Micro.
4) Since the Japanese Game Gear Micros are only using games Sega owns outright, I’m going to limit myself the same way. That means no third-party games. No Mortal Kombat, no Mega Man, no Ninja Gaiden.
5) I’m only using games released in North America and/or Europe. If a title was only released in Japan, it’s not eligible. Sorry, Megami Tensei fans.
Now, onto the list!
Obviously, you need a Sonic game on here. After all, Sega wouldn’t be stupid enough to release a console/handheld without a Sonic platformer on it, right? Anyway, there are five Sonic platformers on the Game Gear: Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic Chaos, Sonic Triple Trouble, and Sonic Blast. I chose Sonic Chaos because it was made specifically for the Game Gear, unlike the first two Sonic games, which were ports of the Master System versions. While nowhere near as fun as the console Sonic games, Chaos has a lot of unique features to set it apart, and can be completed rather easily. Plus, you can play as Tails!
The sequel to Sonic Chaos, Triple Trouble brings in not only Knuckles, fresh off of Sonic 3, but also debuts Nack the Weasel as the third bad guy for Sonic to fight (alongside the aforementioned Knuckles and the old standby Robotnik). The graphics emulate the classic 16-bit Sonic style as best as the Game Gear could get, and level design was a lot of fun. This was the peak for Game Gear Sonic games. I know Sega could very well just port Sonic 1 and 2 for brand recognition (and possibly trick unassuming customers into thinking they’re the Genesis versions), but I put Chaos and Triple Trouble on here because they’re generally accepted as the superior games.
Racing games for the Game Gear are few and far between, especially in English, and Sonic Drift 2 is probably the most well known of the bunch. All-Star Racing Transformed it is not, but it does feature a good size roster and some fairly decent gameplay for the time. Sadly, I don’t think the game had multiplayer to begin with and I very much doubt Sega will include a wireless function in this to begin with.
Puyo Puyo has had a hard time gaining traction outside Japan, and only recently has the franchise become somewhat mainstream thanks to Puyo Puyo Tetris and Sonic Mania. Most people, however, know the franchise under the American rebrand known as Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine. While it lacks the polish of its console cousin, the Puyo Puyo gameplay is as good as ever, though I can only imagine how hard this will be to play on the Micro’s tiny 1 inch screen. Either way, this was the only Game Gear Puyo Puyo game to get an English release, so of course it’s going on here.
While one of the Game Gear Micros does have three Shining Force games on it, only one of those was ever released in North America. RPGs as a whole were limited on Sega consoles to begin with, but luckily, Shining Force is one of the standout franchises, and the Game Gear version packs as much as it can in its little cart. Just be sure to play with reading glasses or something in order to read the tiny, tiny text. And before anyone asks, I do not believe they’ll translate one of the other Shining Force Game Gear games just for this thing.
Hey, Golden Axe! Beat-em-ups could translate relatively well to the Game Gear right? Well....I got some bad news for you. This isn’t like the Golden Axe games on the Genesis. No, this is a Golden Axe RPG. A Golden Axe RPG where the titular Axe Battler fights using a sword. Look man, the Game Gear did the best it could, all right? Not all its games were great. Actually, now that I think about it, most of its games sucked pretty bad. But it tried, OK?
As if Sega was going to release a compilation of games without Columns! LOL. There’s not really much to talk about with this. It’s basically a tiny version of the original puzzle game without many bells and whistles. It has a bit more polish than Mean Bean Machine, as the changing backgrounds are pretty cool, and it’ll be hell trying to make out the various tiny pieces on the Micro’s screen, but who cares? It’s fucking Columns!
While Aerial Assault might be visually more appealing to Western consumers, that game sucked ass, so we’re going with the classic staple Fantasy Zone. This version is still a lot of fun and adds some variety to the games list, since there was no After Burner on the system. The screen crunch here isn’t too, too bad, and it should also be relatively playable even on such a tiny screen.
Also known as GG Shinobi, this is, well, a Game Gear version of the original Shinobi. It actually translates relatively well, offering a fairly fun action game with some tight controls and relatively beautiful graphics. I will admit that one could very easily put the sequel, Shinobi II, on here instead, but I went with the original since this is the one on the Japanese Game Gear Micros.
The mere fact that this game is at least somewhat playable on the Game Gear might be a miracle. If you can ignore the failure to make the outer edges of the enemy tiles transparent, I could even venture to say this is an outright adequate way to play the classic arcade game on the go. The game is a ton of fun to mess around in and offers a shooter experience that hasn’t really been duplicated in any other game since.
Streets of Rage on the Genesis is a classic beat-em-up that is still fun today. The Game Gear version... is fine, I guess? The graphics are kind of ugly, and the general slowdown of most Game Gear games can take its toll, but as long as you’re not expecting the console versions, you’ll have fun with this game. One could suggest putting the sequel on here instead, and I have no objections to that, but I feel like Sega would use the original first.
Yes, the Game Gear actually had a dungeon crawler. And it wasn’t all that bad, either. Controls could be a little stiff and the simplistic sprites can take some getting used to, but otherwise this a neat little oddity from the Game Gear lineup and will likely be easier to play on the Micro’s tiny screen than Shining Force, even if not by much.
This might be one of, if not the, best Genesis ports the Game Gear has. Not only does it translate the gameplay into the Game Gear’s smaller frame very well, but it also includes a lot of detail, fluid animations, and a solid framerate. While no one would ever recommend this over its Genesis counterpart, the Game Gear version of Ristar is certainly one of the best titles on the system, maybe even THE best?
An underrated classical RPG for the system, Oasis is not going to topple Final Fantasy as far as exciting narratives go, but the game is relatively simple and fun, offering a nice starter RPG experience for Game Gear fans. RPGs weren’t plentiful for Game Gear fans in North America, so this one gets a bit more attention than it otherwise would have. Still, it rounds out the RPG section of the Game Gear library quite nicely.
Wonder Boy has always been underrated, and its Game Gear port keeps everything that made the original great. The colorful sprites look great on the Game Gear, there’s enough room to react to enemies, and the soundtrack is rather catchy. I would obviously recommend the remake on the Switch if you really wanted to play this on the go, but this is a fun second option. Plus, this should be much easier to play on the Micro than a lot of other Game Gear games.
OK, I’ll admit, this game will be borderline unplayable on the Micro’s screen. You can already barely see Ecco against the blue background on this blown up YouTube video, trying to see it on a tiny 1 inch screen will be hard as hell. However, the game still does have name recognition for casual gamers and, more importantly, I’m running out of eligible games to put on here without resorting to more Sonic games. I suppose you could replace this with, say, Streets of Rage 2 or Crystal Warriors. After all, the Japanese Micro doesn’t exactly have variety, but I decided to go with variety in the lineup for this article.
Now, in all honesty, I can see Sega adding four more games to bump this up to an even 20, just to make this slightly more enticing to impulse shoppers at Walmart. If they do, I would add Streets of Rage 2, Shinobi II, and maybe Crystal Warriors. The fourth game I would like to add Out Run Europa, however, despite it being an Out Run game, according to Wikipedia it wasn’t released by Sega, so I don’t know if they out the game outright or not. If they do, add it in, maybe even replacing Ecco on the main list. If not, eh, throw in Sonic Labyrinth just for shits and giggles.
How many of these games do you think you could reasonably play on a 1-inch screen? What games would you guys like to see on the Micro?