Which System To Buy As a N00b?

Takumaji

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Recently I had a chat with a friend who wants to go back into handheld gaming. She had a Game Boy for about a year as a kid which she traded in for a Game Gear. Now she wants to pick up the pieces so to speak and is looking for a system that is mostly focussed on classic games from the late 80s and 90s.

As I'm not a big handheld fan and consequently know jack shit about that stuff, I thought I'd put this question here for our resident portable gaming device experts. Looking forward to your suggestions.
 

joe8

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I would recommend the Game Gear over the Game Boy, if you're talking about vintage hand-held systems. The Game Boy had a lot of important games- so you could say historically it's the more important system of the two. But the monochrome screen and simple graphics are its handicap, IMO.
The Gameboy Advance was more like the SNES in terms of graphics & sound.
The Atari Lynx and Turbo Express are also good.
There are a lot of choices these days, with the newer handheld systems that have come out in the last 10 or 15 years.
 

StevenK

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I would recommend the Game Gear over the Game Boy, if you're talking about vintage hand-held systems. The Game Boy had a lot of important games- so you could say historically it's the more important system of the two. But the monochrome screen and simple graphics are its handicap, IMO.
The Gameboy Advance was more like the SNES in terms of graphics & sound.
The Atari Lynx and Turbo Express are also good.
There are a lot of choices these days, with the newer handheld systems that have come out in the last 10 or 15 years.
This is an absolutely terrible answer to the question.

Tak - if it was me, I wouldn't want to fuck around with all the roms shit on the newer chinese hack jobs and would probably just buy something like the evercade
 

@M

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Many inexpensive Chinese handheld options that can emulate GB, GBC, GBA, NES, SNES, and MD. GG/SMS/PCE emulator support is less common until you get into the more robust and expensive handheld units that use Linux/Android. The X7 I have only cost about $28 and runs most GB/GBA/SNES/MD ROMs great. It's not a "serious" system, but, decent for what it is and the price.

As far as legitimate handhelds go, I'd recommend a GBA SP, which can also run GB & GBC carts too.
 
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Superfamifreak

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PS Vita(Slim) + CFW.

Get an SD2Vita adaptor, a 512GB memory card, then install retroarch and all the cores and roms and you're good to go.
 

Burning Fight!!

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I bought one of those reworked gbcs with backlit LCD and chinesium transparent cases and my happiness lasted 5 minutes which is when I realized those tiny buttons were cramping my adult hands...

I feel like a PSP or a Vita, modded, is still overall the best portable you can get.
 

RAZO

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I'm not a handheld guy either but I've had a some experience with them growing up. The Original Game Boy and Game Boy color from a nostalgic stand point are king. There are still a bunch of fun games on those handhelds even though they are a bit dated.

The GBA is still one of the best if you want a similar experience to the Snes. The GBA is a 2000s handheld but has a shit ton of 2d goodness. A bunch of 80s and 90s games. This is the winner if you're looking for a combination of old school and newer school games. Buy a cheapo ds lite and you'll have a ridiculous library of games. You'll be able to play gba and ds cartridges.

I don't like to count the turbo express just because its technically a handheld pc engine. It didn't have original games. Similar to the Sega Nomad which was a portable Genesis player.

Being a big Sega and Genesis fan the Game Gear never really did it for me. That's just my opinion. I think the Original GB and GBC have inferior graphics but a much bigger library and better games. It has more heart. There are a handful of good games on the Game Gear that I enjoyed but not enough there to ever warrant owning one.

I can't speak on the Lynx since the only experience I had with it was at friends house when I was a kid. Probably messed with it for like 20 min.
 

StevenK

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I'm not a handheld guy either but I've had a some experience with them growing up. The Original Game Boy and Game Boy color from a nostalgic stand point are king. There are still a bunch of fun games on those handhelds even though they are a bit dated.

The GBA is still one of the best if you want a similar experience to the Snes. The GBA is a 2000s handheld but has a shit ton of 2d goodness. A bunch of 80s and 90s games. This is the winner if you're looking for a combination of old school and newer school games. Buy a cheapo ds lite and you'll have a ridiculous library of games. You'll be able to play gba and ds cartridges.

I don't like to count the turbo express just because its technically a handheld pc engine. It didn't have original games. Similar to the Sega Nomad which was a portable Genesis player.

Being a big Sega and Genesis fan the Game Gear never really did it for me. That's just my opinion. I think the Original GB and GBC have inferior graphics but a much bigger library and better games. It has more heart. There are a handful of good games on the Game Gear that I enjoyed but not enough there to ever warrant owning one.

I can't speak on the Lynx since the only experience I had with it was at friends house when I was a kid. Probably messed with it for like 20 min.
The game gear was just a portable master system
 

RAZO

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The game gear was just a portable master system
I don't know much about the game gear. I purchased a bundle a long time ago and it came with it. I messed with a Sonic game and Streets of Rage. The screen was washed out and games inferior to the Genesis so being similar to the Master system makes sense.
 

sirlynxalot

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You should consider if she is truly someone who wants to play new games, or if she is someone who wants to relive a few memories for nostalgia. If the former, get a GBA, it supports every Gameboy game that came before it. If the latter, get an original monochrome Gameboy or gb color.

Forget the Chinese handheld pre loaded stuff. Scrolling through lists of 1000 games kills anyone's and enjoyment in gaming. Makes it too impersonal and casual. The player values the game higher and emotionally invests in it more, and ultimately has a more fun experience if the game is physical cart instead of a random digital file among thousands of others.
 

famicommander

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Evercade EXP. Comes with a bunch of games already, nothing to configure, all of the carts (except the discontinued ones) are 20 bucks and come with several games each. A noob isn't going to want to fuck around with configuring emulators, tracking down ROMs, or paying stupid prices for old stuff.
 

fenikso

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What is she looking for?
Does she want to mess with emulation and modern games, too? Steamdeck.
Does she want to only mess with emulators and teh roms? One of the better Chinese handhelds (I don't really follow these, so I can't give a recommendation)(we have a whole thread for it)
Does she want the authentic experience (large and diverse library all in one handheld)? GBA or DS Lite, as already mentioned.
Is she looking to get into collecting for fun? OG Gameboy or Game Gear with upgraded screens. These are both excellent places to start. Game Gear especially since the majority of games are still cheap.

Avoid the cheap fly by night x-in-1 handhelds they are pretty much all trash as near as I can tell.
 

Takumaji

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Thanks for the suggestions, guys.

I have about 20 tabs open right now and checking all the options listed here. Sandra is interested in classic games but also open-minded when it comes to newer stuff, tho I don't see her playing 3D games on a PSP or Vita. PSPs are cheap but I have to weigh in my own role in this, read, if she would choose to go the PSP route or similar, any installation and maintenance work would have to be done by me... :)

A refurbished GBA SP + SD cart and a reasonable screen seems to be a great option but I also really dig the Evercade portable system. The games library is limited compared to a GBA but I can see her liking it, it's also easy to use and legal, no idea if that's an issue for her but it can't hurt to mention it.

A Steamdeck might be a little too much for her, I will suggest it to her anyway because it's a modern system with a content that goes beyond the usual handheld stuff.

Oh, and the features of the Analogue Pocket sound awesome, it's a bit steep but seems to bring a lot to the table. Do you think it's worth the price?
 

terry.330

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Oh, and the features of the Analogue Pocket sound awesome, it's a bit steep but seems to bring a lot to the table. Do you think it's worth the price?
Absolutely not. It's also incredibly fragile.

I'd recommend the GB Advance over the SP if she goes that route because it's more ergonomic. The shoulder buttons on the SP suck.
 

RAZO

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Thanks for the suggestions, guys.

I have about 20 tabs open right now and checking all the options listed here. Sandra is interested in classic games but also open-minded when it comes to newer stuff, tho I don't see her playing 3D games on a PSP or Vita. PSPs are cheap but I have to weigh in my own role in this, read, if she would choose to go the PSP route or similar, any installation and maintenance work would have to be done by me... :)

A refurbished GBA SP + SD cart and a reasonable screen seems to be a great option but I also really dig the Evercade portable system. The games library is limited compared to a GBA but I can see her liking it, it's also easy to use and legal, no idea if that's an issue for her but it can't hurt to mention it.

A Steamdeck might be a little too much for her, I will suggest it to her anyway because it's a modern system with a content that goes beyond the usual handheld stuff.

Oh, and the features of the Analogue Pocket sound awesome, it's a bit steep but seems to bring a lot to the table. Do you think it's worth the price?
A steam deck is for current gamers, fuck that monstrosity shit. She wants the classics, give her a gba. It's decided.

PSP is one of my favorites but its not a classic and would need to be hacked if your planning on running emulators.
 

CORY

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I'd also go with an ips GBA + flashcart. One thing with the GBA everdrive though, the GB/GBC games will only work through an emulator. If you want them to run natively through the GBC backward compatible mode of the GBA, you also need to purchase a GBC flashcart.
 
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