Sega, however, was pretty confident that it could win the handheld war, by releasing a full colour machine. Now get a load of this controversial opinion: in many respects, the Game Gear was the better hardware. At least you could play it in low light situations, and it never gave anybody the clap (legal disclaimer: neither did the Game Boy, probably).
Admittedly, it wasn't quite as pocket-friendly as the Game Boy, and it chewed through batteries like a dog with an advent calendar, but it was essentially a hold-in-your-hand version of Sega's Master System, and that's a pretty remarkable thing. Heck, with the TV tuner add-on you could even watch Going For Gold and Fort Boyard on it.
Unfortunately, where the Game Gear stumbled was its game library - lots of Master System ports, basically - which simply wasn't as diverse or strong as the Game Boy's. And yet... there were some surprising gems in there which bucked the trend.
Here are 10 Game Gear games which might just make you think again.
Well, that was a bit unnecessary.
Also a Master System title, Land of Illusion was a sort of sister game to the Mega Drive's brilliant Castle of Illusion. While "it" boasted some nice animation and bright colours, it obviously doesn't look quite as good as Castle, but get this: it might actually be the better platformer.
It's more involved - with collectable items able to endow the Mickster with new abilities, and appearances from his special cartoon friends, such as Jym Ryvvers, Fort Boyard, and Calpol.
And you could play it while watching Fort Boyard! On the toilet (if you had a toilet near your television)!
Indeed, had it been released earlier in the Game Gear's life - and not right at the arse-end - it's possible that the handheld wars might've turned out quite differently. Aside from a spot of sprite flicker, and a lack of parallax scrolling, the brightness and detail on the characters could almost convince you this is the Mega Drive version.
It even has that weird wobbly tree thing from the first level. Imagine if Fort Boyard had one of those!!!!
The puzzle-based platforming is broken up with underwater shooting sections, and... well... I'm boring myself writing about it. But really: lovely animation.
Obviously it didn't have the polygons of the arcade and Saturn versions, but it did its best to compensate with a storyline. Now get this: it looked really good, it felt like Virtua Fighter, and it played well. Unfortunately, it was absurdly easy.
Other than that though... oh-hoh, Johnny!
Yes, there's a lot of repetitive scenery, and the explorin' and shootin' isn't the most stirring (it's no Fort Boyard), but - y'know - it demonstrated that the Game Gear had the potential to be a contender.
Best to ignore Sonic Triple Trouble, mind. That was like following up the first two series of Fort Boyard with a show set in a pervert-owned diarrhoea factory.
It even managed to add a level of depth that was missing in the Mega Drive versions, with players required to retrace their steps to access new areas once they'd acquired the items to unlock them. Its non-linear structure and multiple ninja characters - with differing abilities - were all enhanced by a brilliant soundtrack from Sega music legend Yuzo Koshiro.
It was no Fort Boyard title music, but then... what is?