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4 Handheld Systems That Changed Gaming


The technology for mobile phone gaming has definitely evolved. Now that even Nintendo is going into the mobile phone gaming market, people are predicting the end of traditional handheld gaming.

Not me.

Handhelds are an integral part of gaming. Looking into the history of video games shows an evolution of portable systems that are just as important as their home-console counterparts. Below, I take a look at some of the most important handheld systems of all time!

Game Boy Advance


Starting off this list is my personal favorite handheld: The Game Boy Advance. Hitting the scene in 2001, it was an instant success with gamers. It boasted a strong library of instant classics. Variants included the backlight-equipped Game Boy SP and the fun-sized Game Boy Micro. This was the end of the Game Boy era with Nintendo later switching gears with their Nintendo DS.

Notable Game Boy Advance Games: Metroid Fusion, Kirby: Nightmare in Dreamland, Golden Sun, Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire, Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow


Going into the new 21st century, people were ready for console like graphics in a handheld. Sony answered those woes with the release of their PSP. This system was able to produce graphics for a handheld system that were unheard of at the time. A great library of games were produced and its strength in RPGs makes it popular still. It’s a great time to collect for the PSP. Plenty of underrated gems to be found!

Notable PSP Games: God of War series, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, Persona Portable series, Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection

Nintendo DS

We’re sure you expected the Big N to be all over this list. After the success of the Game Boy Advance, Nintendo saw another hit with its DS. The gimmick: dual screens. The other gimmick: a touch screen. The other, other gimmick: a mic. Well, you get the picture. Nintendo loves its “features”, but, there is no denying the DS had a strong library of awesome games! It had a great run and was succeeded by the 3DS and New 3DS.

Notable DS Games: Contra 4, New Super Mario Bros., Retro Game Challenge, Dragon Warrior series, Mario Kart DS

Game Boy


Yeah, yeah. We know. Nintendo again. What handheld list is complete without the one that popularized the idea. Before the Game Boy, handhelds were a novelty. They never really caught on. The Game Boy changed all that. It was everything a handheld should be. Affordable, portable, and boasted one of the strongest libraries in gaming history. Nintendo proved that games are always the most important factors when it comes to systems. Battery life certainly helped too when comparing it to the competition.

Notable Game Boy Games: Tetris, Pokemon Red/Blue, Super Mario Land series, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening

Did we miss one of your favorite handheld systems? What did you want to see on the list? Let us know in the comments below and subscribe for more!

Johnny grew up sharing NES, Genesis, and Playstation games with his older brother. His first personal system was the Nintendo 64. After regaining most of his old games, he began to expand his collection. Eventually, his mission became to collect anything and everything retro related.