The Gizmondo (2005, $ 400 or $ 229 with “Smart Adds”)
The only handheld game console of all time, as far as we know,freed by ex swedish mafia members, the Gizmondo looks pretty good on paper. Simultaneously, an MP3 player, GPS (to keep your children safe, see), texting device, Y game console, the strange digital potato feels smooth enough when you see it working. And if that $ 400 price tag seems outrageous, well, just go for a “Smart Adds” -enabled model, for almost half the cost, in exchange for seeing a few streaming ads per day, of course. (This may be the most ahead of its time aspect of this entire piece, now that we think about it.)
Launched by Tiger Telematics (unrelated to Tiger Electronics), the Gizmondo didn’t even have to wait for Nintendo to smash it; Massive promotional overspending, incredibly lax sales, and what were supposedly some pretty shady financial transactions led to a swift bankruptcy for the other Tiger in 2006. The DS may have overdone with the new features, but at least Nintendo He didn’t go out and buy a majority stake in a modeling studio just to help promote the damn thing.
digiBLAST (2005, $ 90)
One of several devices on this list that were essentially embryonic tablets, two years before Apple finally got a good shot at cracking the concept with the original iPhone, Nikko’s digiBLAST is a classic case of trying to do too much with too little. Released primarily in European markets, the strange little square was both a media player and a gaming device, allowing kids to watch (muddy) versions of their favorite TV shows on their (decidedly muddy) screen, before switching cartridges to reproduce fuzzy renditions of Rayman or Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4.
In Nikko’s defense, Nintendo also tried to address this video player idea back in the GBA days. (May we interest you in a sample of the GBA cut of Beginning?) But in 2005, the company had embraced the idea that its devices were first and foremost gaming machines, and the only thing that was possible, perhaps because it had seen so many other competitors come out of the race trying to be everything to all the kids. .
Caanoo (2010, $ 150)
Throughout this history, we have focused primarily on the role that Nintendo’s software library has played in driving sales of portable devices. Well we’ve finally come up with a system that can what’s more Take advantage of all Mario’s hard work, through the magic of, uh, stealing. (Or emulation, if you want to be specific). Launched by GamePark Holdings of South Korea, the Caanoo was one of the few notebooks to hit the market during the DS era that distinguished itself by being open source, meaning anyone could write software for them, without worrying about getting certified. from Nintendo or anyone else. These boxes, which included the Dingoo and later Pandora, were essentially little laptops that anyone could program. And what they were usually programmed to do was play old NES, SNES, Game Boy, and Genesis games, because honestly why wouldn’t you?
The Caanoo itself didn’t last long, but open source handheld platforms have only accelerated in interest, despite what Nintendo, notorious for its intolerance of anyone who fucks with its copyrights, would probably prefer. (God only knows what they do with it Arduboy, an Arduino-powered riff on Nintendo’s most famous handheld that is about the size of a credit card).