Console Challenge

Console Challenge Day 9: Top 7 best Game Gear games!

So I’m glad we went after an older audience, developed the first rating system, helped form the Industry Association and the E3 show and passed Nintendo in share of market for a period of time which opened up the business to others.
-Tom Kalinske



We’re almost to the double digits tomorrow, NPCs!

Here for Day 9, though, is someone and something special. Kate of Esper Dreams was someone I met early on when I first joined Twitter when I was just barely feeling my way into the minefield of that social media platform. I was excited to meet writers outside of the WordPress community but of course I was nervous about it. Twitter’s not Reddit but I’d heard stories. My WP colleagues had almost entirely been the nicest neighbors a mage could want! Could I expect the same from other regions of the online world?

Turned out… I could!

Kate has been someone I’ve wanted to collab with for a long time now and it is a real treat for me to be able to proudly host even just a bit of her work here. She was one of the people I immediately gravitated toward on Twitter, recognizing her talent and personality. So here for your reading pleasure is Kate of Esper Dreams and her take on Sega’s colorful handheld, the Game Gear.

Definitely check out and follow her on Twitter!

-The Well-Red Mage



I was asked to write about any system for the month of June and pick seven games that I enjoyed. I chose my favorite handheld, Sega’s Game Gear. My sister and I received this as a gift for Christmas when I was 12 or 13. My sister, after a while, stopped playing, but I became hooked quite quickly. My parents, especially my dad, weren’t happy with the six batteries it took to play the system, but I didn’t care. I would happily become a battery detective, hunting down the location my dad would hide them in the house.

Here are the seven games that were my favorite. My list is a little random as I didn’t have a lot of games for the system, but the ones I did have, I really enjoyed.



#7. Ax Battler: A Legend of Golden Axe

Ax Battler: A Legend of Golden Axe was my first game for the system. My dad bought it because of how many times I would spend “millions” of quarters playing Golden Axe at the arcade. This game was completely different than what I was used to with the original Golden Axe. It played more like Legend of Zelda II and it took me some time to get used to the style of the game and once I did it was fun trying to see how far I could go.



#6. Taz in Escape from Mars

Taz in Escape from Mars was originally my sister’s game that I “borrowed”. It became a staple on the weekends to play this game after Saturday morning cartoons. I really enjoyed the cartoon feel of the game and how much fun it was to be Taz destroying everything in sight and driving Marvin the Martian to regret his decision to put Taz in his zoo.



#5. Columns

Columns was a game I enjoyed because of Tetris for the Gameboy. I really had fun with my dad playing this game. It was one we both enjoyed taking turns playing and trying to beat each other’s high scores. My dad was a genius when it came to figuring out where to put the colored pieces to get the most points and I was just all over the place, like I still am with most puzzle games. I never could beat my dad’s score though and I still wish he taught me his secrets on playing the game.



#4. Mortal Kombat II

Mortal Kombat II was a game I wasn’t allowed to have because my mom thought it might be too violent, but that didn’t stop my dad from buying it for me. I think a good portion of the novelty was that I wasn’t supposed to have it, but I honestly had fun trying with to beat the game with Johnny Cage and failing at doing the fatalites.



#3. Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a game that I enjoyed much more than the first Sonic for Genesis. I enjoyed how the game was the same but offered different mechanics like flying which I enjoyed. I would always take this game on day trips just play until we got to our destination. I really enjoyed the addition of Tails and he became my favorite character even now.



#2. Fatal Fury Special

Fatal Fury Special was my first experience into the series. I knew of the characters, the moves, and backstory from reading various gaming magazines. It was always one I wanted to play but could never find it at the arcades or even to rent. I was very happy to find it at KB toy store and took to it happily. I really remember just jumping into this game by playing as Mai and trying to master her moves. It was so much fun playing this game that I became a huge SNK fan and huge into this series.



#1. Shining Force: the Sword of Hajya

Shining Force: the Sword of Hajya is very dear to my heart as it was the first Shining Force game I owned and the first one I beat. I would not stop playing this game as everything from the character sprites, to the music, to the story and everything grabbed me from the get-go. I took to the task of saving the world by leveling up all the characters and searching everything for hidden characters which I only found one. This game made me more of a fan of Shining Force and one that I have fond memories of.



14 replies »

  1. I have never owned a Game Gear, but I have played some of the Sonic games available on the Game Gear as part of the Sonic Adventure DX: Director’s Cut game, although I am not sure if that actually counts. My 7 games would be:
    7. Sonic Spinball (this game had an interesting pinball gameplay),
    6. Sonic Blast (this game used some interesting level designs, but was affected by graphical limitations),
    5. Sonic Chaos (the levels in this game used some interesting gameplay ideas),
    4. Sonic Labyrinth (this game used an explorative gameplay and one level was a maze),
    3. Sonic the Hedgehog (this game had a cheerful soundtrack and aesthetic),
    2. Tails Adventure (I enjoyed the complex gameplay and using the different objects),
    1. Sonic Triple Trouble (I enjoyed the different special stages in the game and liked the level designs).
    I would have considered adding Sonic 2 to the list, but I found the game too difficult. I actually knew someone who said that, when they played the Mega Drive, their dad refused to play any of the games, except Columns.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My sister had a Game Gear, I had the Game Boy. I remember that Taz game. I haven’t played these, so I have no clue how they’ve held up.

    1. Sonic: Triple Trouble
    2. Lion King
    3. Aladdin
    4. Sonic 1
    5. Taz Escape From Mars
    6. Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
    7. Tails’ Adventure

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m glad that this absolutely incredible Shining Force game took the top spot, both because it completely deserves it and also because it let’s me talk about the game series without sounding all rude and saying: “ohhhh, why didn’t Shining Force make the list.”

    The series gets no respect whatsoever. Half of the time people haven’t heard if it, and the other half people refuse to give it a try. It’s one of those series where if you’re into it, you know you’ve got something really special, and you just have to accept that the series will never achieve wide popularity. This Game Gear game, easily the best RPG on the system, is just another piece of evidence that early to mid-90’s Shining Force is unmatched in quality.

    Obviously, Kate, I like your list. Nice job! 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! 🙂

      Shining Force is one of those series, like you stated, either you heard of it or you haven’t and it really needs more love. If people just gave it a try they be surprised at how much fun and challenging this series is especially since the series has so much to offer. It has something for anyone who is into traditional RPGS like darkness and holy ark and action rpgs with Wisdom. I’m just a huge fan 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you kindly, 🙂

      I didn’t have a lot of games either as handhelds wasn’t huge and my parents weren’t thrilled with us using batteries to play. I just wish I still had my game gear. It be nice to play them again.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Lovely list. I never got to play a Game Gear as my brother had his stolen and by the time it got around to me getting a handheld the Pokemon craze hit full swing so the Game Boy was the only obvious choice. It’s interesting to read as it looks like there were a variety of great games that took advantage of the Game Gear’s colour capabilities too! I bet Shining Force would have been great, as I know Kate is a big fan of those games and having an RPG like that on the go would have been so cool.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was so much fun playing Shining Force on the go. The game was just so easy to get into more so than the Shining Force for Genesis. 🙂

      If you can hun down the GBA Shining force it’s also a load of fun.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is an awesome list! I’ve been looking for Ax Battler for a little while now and haven’t come across it yet, but hopefully I’ll be able to play it some day. I didn’t love the first Sonic game for Genesis, so I wonder if Sonic 2 on Game Gear is the answer to my prayers for more good retro 2D Sonic.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Woohoo! Thanks for participating in this event, Kate! I owned a Game Gear for a little bit but mostly what I remember were the commercials. They were hysterical. I barely remember what games I had but I think one of them must’ve been that Sonic the Hedgehog 2.


  7. Some great choices there! Taz Escape From Mars was a great game. I think that Sonic 2 is one of thsoe great examples of Sega doing things well too, both this and the Master System version were compeltely different beasts to the Mega Drive version, and I thin kthat really helped them as games. There was no toning down an existing title, there was jsut working with the abilities of the consoles.

    Liked by 1 person

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