Last year VGChartz ran a series of articles that ranked the top ten games for a number of modern systems including the 360, Wii, and PS3. The voting was handled by the staff and a small “reader’s choice” section was added with the reader’s opinions. A year has come and gone, and tastes change, so we decided to see what kind of games you guys wanted listed in a top ten this time, except we are handling things differently this time. Not only will the list be compiled entirely by you, the fans, but we will go through a large number of game systems all the way back to the 1970’s with the Atari 2600 to modern day. We hope to do these over a few weeks, so stay tuned for your favorite systems! Since our readers are a diverse group, be prepared for some surprises!
Our voting was carried out on the forums, where we asked patrons to list their top 5 Game Gear games in order, and numerical values were placed on the rankings. After compiling all the totals, this is the list that we came up with.
Once technology improved a bit, it was time for Sega to try an entry into the fledgling handheld market enter the Game Gear. The system was essentially a handheld version of Sega’s Master System, and shared a few games with it. The Game Gear was touted heavily in America due to the success of the Sega Genesis. Ads hyped the fact that it was in color, and had better graphics than its closest rival, the Nintendo Gameboy. The system was pretty well loved despite a few problems. The main problem many had was the insanely tiny battery life that came with having a color screen and better sound, this was later rectified with better batteries. While the Game Gear did not do as well as Nintendo’s Gameboy, it was able to scrape up a respectable market share in America and was fairly successful compared to other handhelds of the time, such as the Atari Lynx.
What about the games?
10. Shining Force: Sword of Hayja
To start our list off, we have an entry by the VERY popular Shining Force Series. Also known as Shining Force Gaiden II, Sword of Hayja tells the story of the prince of a country called Cypress and his prolonged battles with the Kingdom of Iom. Prince Nick has had his hand turned to stone, making it impossible for him to wield his sword and fight. He hires Deanna and a rag-tag group of hired guns to take it to the evil Iomites. As with many of the main-line Shining Force games, the combat plays out in the classic strategy RPG way.
9. Sonic 2
Next up on our list is the first of what I would assume is many Sonic games. As with any Sega related list, expect the blue speed freak to appear multiple times. Sonic 2, not to be confused with the Megadrive / Genesis game, made great strides for the series on an 8-bit console including the ability to gain back lost rings and the ability to smash through walls, abilities taken for granted on the 16-bit games. This game was notable for its use of gimmick levels such as a mine cart stage and a hand glider stage which set itself apart of pretty much any Sonic game of the time. Aside from a few slight alterations the Game Gear version of this game did the original 8-bit game justice.
8. Shining Force Final Conflict
Shining Force Final Conflict is the third game in what is called the Shining Force Gaiden series with Sword of Hayja being the second. As with the original Gaiden game, this one was sadly excluded from a western release, but gained a lot of popularity to long time fans on emulated ROMs and fan translations. The game is fairly popular due do its notoriety as a sequel to the very first game in the series. The story follows Max, the leader of the Shining Force, chasing the witch Mishaela to stamp out any remaining minions of Darksol, villain of the first game.
7. Shinobi II: The Silent Fury
It was a rule in the 90’s that every system needed at least 10 ninja based games, all of which were usually awesome. The Game Gear was no slouch in this regard as it had some pretty good ninja games including the popular Shinobi series. Shinobi II expanded the gameplay from the first game to include a multitude of elemental ninjas that you had to rescue. Each one had a different power, and once unlocked you could switch to them at will.
6. The Lion King
Handheld systems have a great share of licensed games as they are usually seen to be marketed to kids despite a large adult handheld gaming population. Disney, during the 16-bit era, had a handful of hits that were actually fairly good games, well above the usual level assigned to licensed movie games. One of these games was The Lion King for the Game gear. While the Genesis version of Lion King got the most attention, many feel the Game gear version was better in both difficulty and gameplay.
5. Game Gear Shinobi
Thought you saw the last of Shinobi? THINK AGAIN!! The original 8-bit classic got a sequel of sorts with the Game Gear Shinobi also called G.G. Shinobi. The game follows Joe Musashi, the red Shinobi, as he is sent into a dangerous city to help his multicolored ninja brothers. As with Shinobi II, once freed you get aided by the ninjas you save and can utilize their powers.
4. Power Rangers the movie
Every generation needs a badass giant robot fighting show to get behind. As a child of the 80’s I grew up with Voltron, while a lot of younger folks on here were probably into the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers at one time. Bases on the movie of the same name, this game went a different way than the 16-bit games, in that it stayed a competitive fighting game. Portions of each level were set up as a “beat ‘em up” segment, but the meat and potatoes of the game were the giant robot battles.
3. Sonic Triple Trouble
What a coincidence as Sonic Triple Trouble is number three on the list. Instead of being a port of any number of Master System or Genesis Sonic games, Triple Trouble was built for the ground up for the Game gear, resulting in a huge handheld experience. Levels were bigger, Sonic had more abilities, and the choice of characters which at that time was standard on the console systems.
2. Sonic Chaos
Sega released many Sonic the Hedgehog games on the Game gear after the success of the character on the Sega Genesis and Master System. While many were ports, fans adored them thus making them some of the best selling games on the system. Sonic Chaos was developed for both the Sega Master System and the Sega Game Gear. While it looks like a game based on the second genesis Sonic game at first glance, the game has a bit of innovation including the fact that it was the first game in the series to allow you a direct control of the flight of Sonic’s fox friend Tales. Another innovation was that Sonic actually runs faster in this game than the two Genesis games up to that point.
HERE IT IS! The number one game as voted by our readers. Sega’s answer to the megahit that was Tetris came by way of Columns which looks similar in a superficial way to Tetris, but relied on the hectic nature of cascading blocks, chains, and multiple modes to enjoy. Columns was a pack-in for a while, so many folks got to try it out, which leads to its popularity on here. Much like Mario Bros, Sonic on the Genesis and even Wii Sports, the game chosen to be the “pack-in” usually is of the highest quality and fun.
So there you have it! Tune in shortly for another top ten in this series, where we see Nintendo’s first handheld!