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New Sega Master System Game Gear Hybrid Portable from AtGames

Written By: E. Thomas

October 25th, 2014

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Introduction:

The Sega Master System was the company's third foray into the video game console market. It was also the first Sega console to be released in the US. The Master System brought us such great games as Shinobi, Fantasy Zone and Alex Kidd. Several years later the company debuted the Sega Game Gear portable game system. The new hardware was basically a portable Master System. The hardware was so similar that a third party company created an adapter that allowed you to play Master System cartridges on the Game Gear. Now AtGames has released a new handheld game system that combines the two machines into one enticing package.

Introducting the Sega Master System + Game Gear Arcade Gamer Portable.

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This unboxing video gives you a close up look at the package and the hardware.

Two Systems In One:

As I mentioned earlier the hardware for the Master System and the Game Gear is almost identical. Combining the two systems into one small package seems like a natural idea. The final product is a nicely built piece of hardware. The curved edges on each side of the unit make it very comfortable to hold in your hands. The screen quality is good, with bright colors and a decent resolution for it's size. The speakers are strong with little audio buzz or static. Audio can sound a bit canned at times but that's to be expected with small speakers of this size. There is also a small problem with a crackling noise that appears in certain games, but that is related to the system hardware and not to the actual speakers.

The system has two face buttons and a circular d-pad. While some may prefer the classic "plus" style d-pad, this version works well with most games. The "A+B" buttons are low and responsive. The device also has menu and start/pause buttons on the face of the system. Pressing the menu button during a game will bring you back to the game selection screen. On the top edge of unit there is a power switch and a volume control dial. The system also has a video out plug that allows the unit to be hooked up to the AV ports on your TV. (AV cord sold separately.) A standard 3.5mm headphone jack is located on the bottom edge of the system.

The unit runs on three AAA batteries. The battery cover is held on with small phillips head screw. This is somewhat annoying because you need to use a precision screwdriver every time you need to change the batteries. Fortunately the system has outstanding battery life. In my tests I achieved results well over 8 hours while playing games at full volume.

Games Galore:

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The system comes with 30 built in games. There are 17 from the Master System and 13 from the Game Gear. The Master System titles include some of the most popular games for that console. You get three games featuring Alex Kidd, two Fantasy Zone tiles, Astro Warrior, Bomber Raid and many others. Hardcore Sega fans will also recognize Snail Maze as the secret game that was built into the Master System hardware. On the Game Gear side we have a number of titles featuring Sonic the Hedgehog and his pal Tails. This includes main series games and spin off titles such as Sonic Spinball and the kart racing game Sonic Drift. Over all there is a nice assortment of genres for both systems that range from puzzle games, arcade ports, platformers, racing games and shooters.

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This brief gameplay demo video gives you a quick glimpse of the Arcade Gamer Portable in action. I have also provided a complete list of every game on system.

Master System

Game Gear

Alex Kidd in Miracle World
Alex Kidd in High Tech World
Alex Kidd and the Lost Stars
Assault City
Astro Warrior
Aztec Challenge
Bomber Raid
Fantasy Zone
Fantasy Zone II
Gain Ground
Golden Axe
Global Defense
Kung Fu Kid
Penguin Land
Quartet
Snail Maze
The Ninja

Baku Baku Animal
Columns
Dragon Crystal
Dr. Robotniks Mean Bean Machine
Ecco: The Tides of Time
Putt and Putter
Ristar: The Shooting Star
Sonic Chaos
Sonic Drift
Sonic Spinball
Sonic Triple Trouble
Super Columns
Tails Adventure

System on a Chip:

As with many products of this type the Arcade Gamer Portable is built around "system on a chip" hardware. What this basically means is that the internal hardware of a console or portable is now reduced to a single chip which emulates the original hardware. While this is a convenient design for a handheld game system it can also cause problems when trying to faithfully replicate gameplay and sound. As I mentioned earlier there is a crackling noise that appears in certain games. This problem is caused by the system on a chip hardware. It's one of the small drawbacks of this technology.

Pros and Cons:

The Arcade Gamer Portable does have a few small drawbacks. First and most importantly is that a few console games do not translate well to the small screen. For example in the Master System game Bomber Raid it can be difficult to see your ship when it passes over certain areas in the game. The enemy bullets are also very small and hard to spot. It's not a game breaking flaw but it can be somewhat annoying when you're going for a high score. Another console game that suffers in the translation is Gain Ground. Again, the problems in this title are similar to those found in Bomber Raid. As you might expect the Game Gear titles are better suited for play on the small screen. They were originally designed for a portable game system with a smaller screen.

Anyone who owned the Sega Game Gear knows the system had a nasty problem with screen blur and ghosting. I am happy to report that these problems do not exist on the Arcade Gamer Portable. The screen is bright and the graphics are sharp and colorful. Also, as I mentioned earlier the system has outstanding battery life, that's definitely something you cannot say for the Sega Game Gear.

The Final Word:

If you're a big fan of Sega and retro gaming this product is for you. It's a perfect item for Sega collectors and portable gaming enthusiasts. It's also available for a great price. I was able to acquire my system for only $30. Don't let the budget price fool you into thinking this is a cheaply made product. It's actually very well built and a great value for the money. It will surely give you many happy hours of retro gaming fun.

About The Author: Elliott S. Thomas loves handheld gaming systems. He was a gadget enthusiast from an early age. Elliott has over 40 different portable gaming systems in his collection. He carries at least one system with him at all times.