A History Lesson on Handheld Games Consoles Handheld gaming consoles have been around for a little over 40 years. This might seem like a long time but handheld gaming devices are not all that old. Many young people born during the late 90s and up until the present time might believe that smartphones and tablets were the first handheld gaming devices. This is not true. Handheld gaming consoles have a short history and it will be described here.

The Introduction of Handheld Gaming Devices

Gaming is still a fairly new thing. It emerged during the 70s and it continues to grow in modern times. Back in 1976 Mattel released a game called Auto Race. This was considered the first true handheld gaming device. However, there were plenty of electronic table games that were made available to the public during the early 70s. Still these games were not considered true handheld units like Mattel’s Auto Race.

During the 70s electronic games and video games were more of a novelty or something did on the side. They did not start to become popular until the late 70s. Handheld gaming devices were enjoyed by a few people who knew what they were. The culture as a whole was not ready for these handheld devices because people were still enjoying board games and playing outdoors. This started to change during the early 80s when video games started to take off.

Handheld Gaming Consoles take off in the Late 80s

Games such as Pac Man and Space Invaders were being played in arcades which was the thing to do during the early 80s. At this time, handheld games started to be slowly introduced to the culture. There were some handheld units introduced during this time but most developers focused on arcade games because that is where the money and the trends were in those days. Arcade games started to slowly die out by the late 90s and then the first handheld gaming consoles started to become popular.

Nintendo’s Game Boy was released in 1989 and it defined mobile handheld back in the day. Many of the other handheld game developers modeled their units based on the Game Boy. Sega had their own version of handheld technology and it was called the Game Gear. This model was also popular but Nintendo dominated from the late 80s until the mid 2000s when mobile technology started to show up in society.

Mobile Devices and Handheld Technology

By the 2010s PlayStation introduced its own version of handheld games. This was an extension of their console and not necessarily a stand alone device with its own unique titles. Still, Nintendo handheld gaming units still dominate the handheld market. In today’s culture, handheld gaming units are more of a niche type of device. They are for people who enjoy playing titles that are not available on smartphones and tables.

Speaking of which, smartphones and tablets changed the handheld gaming market in 2008 with the introduction of the iPhone. Smartphones and tablets transformed the gaming market and impacted handheld gaming units. Ultimately, mobile technology has encroached on handheld electronic gaming consoles. They did not cause them to go away but many people now prefer to use these units for handheld video game play. Hope you learned about the History Lesson on Handheld Games Consoles.

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