Sunday, April 15, 2007

Hopeless GameBoy Rivals: BitCorp Gamate

At least the Atari Lynx and the Sega Game Gear tried. They really did, and for a moment there, it even felt as if they actually had a chance to rob Nintendo of its glorious scepter of handheld domination. Not so with Bit Corporation's Gamate handheld. It was beyond hopeless.

The Gamate, which I admittedly tried playing with once, back in the mists of time when I was 12 or 13 years old and wasn't impressed and for which the worse video gaming mag ever to grace the planet (USER, they called it) waxed lyrical, was a travesty. It was a poor man's Game Boy, and considering the lacklustre quality of the GB screen, well let's just say the player's imagination was put to good use.

What's more,the games, all 40 or something of them, that is, were derivative and uninspired. If I remember correctly they were horrible too, despite cartridges that looked decent enough to pass for proper games. But, really, I don't believe I've tried anything worse than that Tennis thing. It was virtually unplayable on that crappy blurry little screen. Just to think it was supposed to take on the Game Boy version of the sport is heresy.

Then again, other Gamate games tried to take on Tetris. Yes, pathetic, I know. Shockingly though, rumor has it that King Fu Fighter and Treasure Hunter were pretty ok games.

As for the machine itself, well, it was obviously an 8-bit console with a particularly passive (a.k.a. barely visible) dot-matrix 128x96 screen, running on 4 AA batteries, manufactured in Korea, that sold poorly; mainly in Europe and Australia. 2 or 3 Gamates must have reached the Americas and another 5 must have been scattered in the wider Asia region. Surely Retro Treasures will investigate further, but I wouldn't be shocked if a single Gamate game set you back 15$ to 20$.

Further Gamate info can be found lurking inside the Ultimate Console Database, Wikipedia, Press Start and MobyGames, on the other hand, seems to ignore the thing.

Related posts: Game Boy Color, Sega Game Gear, Milton Bradley Microvision, Atari Lynx

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  1. That's a pretty detailed review for something that's meant to be a bit poo! Your dedication is to be applauded sir!

  2. Ah, but thank you very much dear Sir. :)

  3. Yes, sad, I know. Still bits of USER are (shockingly) alive in contemporary gaming mags, you know...

  4. I Own one of these IUnits and It is still in the box with the original documentation and about 3 or 4 games. I am trying to find out how rare it is and how much it is worth, but I cant find out.

    Does anyone know?

    PS: The other unit found its way to South Africa

    skype: benmichellejess

  5. Don't remember the average price, but they are rare and expensive.

  6. ive got this in france