Friday, December 25, 2015

Gaming Bits: Bandai Wonderswan (56k Warning)

We did it, the Final console of it's era. Not many of you know what this wonder (pun intended) of a console is, that's because it was only released in Japan, and did pretty well there too. It even got an 8% market share of the portable games market in Japan. an honor the Neo Geo Pocket Color couldn't boast about. It all started when things went bad with Nintendo and one of it's developers, Gunpei Yokoi, the creator of the Game Boy.

The year 1995, The N64 was supposed to be released on Christmas of that year, but development took longer than expected, so Nintendo released the Virtual Boy (Codenamed VR32 in development). everything about it was rushed and sucky. It was bulk, sucked batteries like no one's business, it gave people seizures, headaches, and blurred vision. Yokoi was heartbroken when Nintendo scolded him for making such a disaster of a console (when really it's Nintendo's fault for greenlighting the damned thing), so he left Nintendo and founded his own company Koto Laboratory. His company's first and possibly only project, the Wonderswan. Yokoi never saw the machine come to life as h was killed when checking his car on the highway after an accident. Yes we all know the conspiracy theories behind this, I refuse to entertain to them because you and I know they're all BULLSH*T!!!!!! In 1999, 10 years after the original Game Boy (so Yokoi's life as the Game Boy's father posthumously comes full circle and you'll see why now) in March 4, 1999...

The black and white Wonderswan was released and it was distributed by Bandai. It 2 D-Pads (because some games could be played vertically as well as horizontally), 2 face buttons, a start button, a sound button, a 224 x 144 resolution, a 16 bit 3.072 MHz CPU, and it all ran on 1 AA Battery with 40 hours of life. It was released for 4,800 yen (around $40 in us money), This is why the handheld got an 8% market share from Nintendo. DISCLAIMER: The following information could be entirely BS, so take this with a very light grain of salt, because I could be entirely wrong on this. This is just what I've heard. The console was supposedly going to be released by Mattel in the US. but they just didn't want to compete with the Game Boy Line by Nintendo, and they haven't found compelling software. Keep in mind that japanese pop culture was still very much alien to dumb average joe Americans.


If you lost the Battery Pack to this thing, it'll become bricked, and loose battery packs aren't easy to come by, so don't screw yourself over.

A year later on December 9 of 2000, The Wonderswan Color was released. it could display 241 colors onscreen out of a possible 4096, up to 28 sprites could be displayed, The screen was bigger, and the Power button was now in front. and it had 512 KB RAM (Shared between video and work RAM). It could play it's own library of games along with classic Wonderswan games. 2 years later in July 12, 2002, there was the SwanCrystal, It was marginal yet major improvement over the WonderSwan Color. It was durable, sleeker, and had a better LCD Screen, but it had a worse battery life at 15 hours.

It had several peripherals here are just a few...

The WonderWave, Which can send information to a PocketStation...

The WonderBorg, a robot you could control with the WonderSwan.
(I knew that either Yoshiette 1 or 2 will say Big Bad Beetleborgs, so I trapped them in the Baboon exhibit at the zoo

The WonderGate, Where you could connect your Wonderswan to the Internet...

The WonderWitch, a Wonderswan development kit, some games developed on this were even published.


Most of the games on the Wonderswan were Japanese heavy, but there were plenty of English speaker friendly games on the system. Here are a few...

Final Fantasy's I, II, and IV were released for the system, they're a good reason that the Wonderswan did so well, and it was because of bad blood between Square and Nintendo.

The system had it's own share of Digimon games, special mention goes to the Battle Spirit series for it's Smash Bros style gameplay.

It also had it's own share of Gundam games, Like Operation U.C., which had shmup style gameplay...

Gunpey, Basically the Wonderswan's answer to Tetris. It got a color version like Tetris did.

The wonder witch Games are a couple of my favorites, but they're like Shantae (GBC) and Faselei (NGPC), in the way that they're the trophy games for the system. Judgement SilverSword is a Shmup similar to Radiant Silvergun, and Dicing Knight Period is a Zelda like Dungeon Crawler RPG.


Do I even Have to explain your options at this point? You could buy the system and games (which, while not ridiculous, have came up in price, made no better by the fact it wasn't released outside of Asia), or the easy and artificial emulation (there's only 1 good Wonderswan emulator, look up Wonderswan emulators and figure out what it is)... Welp, I'm done with this era of gaming, It was a era of great innovation, and creative flexing. See you on the next Gaming Bits...

Next Time:

^If you want super Japanese, look no further...^

*meanwhile at the zoo*

Yoshiette 1: Zookeeper! Zookeeper!!!!!

Yoshiette 2: Stop bonking on my head, YOU STUPID APE!!!!

Yoshiette 1: Watch out, he's going to fling poo at us.

Baboon: *Flings Crap*

*Screams and jumps up and down*

*Repeatedly Slaps Ass*

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