You think handheld gaming, and the apex predator at the top of that food chain is Nintendo. The Big N may have achieved worldwide success with the NES and SNES consoles back in the day, but its handheld division is arguably where it solidified its legacy and future. In the 1990s, the Gameboy was the hottest handheld on the market, with many a brand attempting to dethrone Nintendo and failing miserably in the process.
For a brief moment in time though, a new challenger looked set to give the Gameboy a run for its money, as Sega threw its hat into the portable gaming ring. The Sega Genesis Nomad was a huge upgrade in the scene, featuring a kickass design, amazing visuals, and Sega’s top-tier games playing on a colourful LCD screen. It was doomed to fail though, thanks to a trio of factors: Piss-poor marketing, a price tag that was beyond the reach of many consumers and a tendency to guzzle batteries like a bastard penguin gulping down fish.
It’s still a fantastic console from the history books though, and in a rare behind the scenes moment, Sega’s Hiroyuki Miyazaki showed off the hadheld’s prototype which was developed under the codename of Venus:
I like it its ergonomics, but it doesn’t have the unique silhouette that the Nomad featured. Or a bin full of spent AA batteries next to it. The Sega Nomad didn’t have much of a lifespan when it was released, ending its run in 1999. By then Nintedo had already released the Gameboy Colour, the Gameboy Advance successor console was on the horizon and Sega was facing other troubles in its main hardware division.
Even though it was hobbled by the energy technology of the day and a screen that was roughly the size of a postage stamp, the Sega Nomad was still a ballsy attempt by the House of Sonic to take over the handheld market, and you’ve got to love the company for its can-do attitude and confident energy from that era of gaming.
Last Updated: December 1, 2020