Apologies to my friends who run cool portable-focused sites like Tiny Cartridge and Modojo. I’m not trying to threaten you. It’s just that I keep burning through the world’s allocation of words related to portable gaming without consideration for your efforts. My apologies for that. It’s quite selfish of me.
Today, I published a surprisingly (to me) lengthy piece on Bandai’s WonderSwan, which celebrated its 15th anniversary on March 5. I really liked the WonderSwan – despite the fact that the “Skeleton Green” system I bought back in the day looked almost exactly like a bar of Irish Spring thanks to its hue and gentle curves, I honestly had a better time with WonderSwan (yes, the black and white one) than I did with Game Boy Color. It felt like a full evolution of the Game Boy hardware rather than the weird half-measure that GBC represented. Metal Gear and the Oracles notwithstanding, it was home to better software, too.
It’s also interesting in hindsight to see all the WonderSwan releases that eventually migrated to Game Boy Advance – unlike the Neo Geo Pocket (which I love, don’t get me wrong), WonderSwan feels like a part of Game Boy’s continuity, despite being a somewhat obscure sideline. Those Final Fantasy ports made their way to GBA. Gunpey showed up on DS. Klonoa: Moonlight Museum established the tone for the GBA Klonoas. And so on, and so forth.
The video above runs through my personal favorite titles for the WonderSwan family, while the article has more to do with the hardware. OK, there’s a small lie in the video… I’ve never played Dicing Knight. I just wanted to freak out momentarily over the prospect of a portable game that costs upwards of $750.
And I forgot to mention the crazy Beatmania add-on peripheral! And the weird Evangelion ripoff of Tamagotchi in which you play the role of Kaji raising Adam (yes, the First Angel) from its embryonic state. Ah… I miss the days when something like WonderSwan could even exist – an entire “hidden” console packed with dozens of solid, accessible games for the adventurous to discover.
Anyway, yes, Neo Geo Pocket is next.