The Sad, Insulting, Humiliating Tale of Tiger's GAME.COM

GhostWriter24

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The Game.com (styled as game.com but pronounced as "game com," not "game dot com") is a handheld game console released by Tiger Electronics in September 1997. It featured many new ideas for handheld consoles and was aimed at an older target audience, sporting PDA-style features and functions such as a touch screen and stylus. Unlike other handheld game consoles, the first Game.com consoles included two slots for game cartridges and could be connected to a 14.4 kbit/s modem. Later models reverted to a single cartridge slot.



At the time, the platform was almost completely ignored by the gaming press. Tiger used provocative and potentially insulting marketing, satirizing the condescending commercials of other gaming platforms with a video of a mock marketing spokesman bellowing "It plays more games than you idiots have brain cells!", which may have lost supporters instead of gaining them. Not only was the satirical nature of the commercial lost on the target audience, but most gamers assumed that it was a video of an actual Tiger press conference, despite the fact that the commercial ends with the marketing spokesman being overwhelmed by a mob of angry gamers. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dp460zM_PGA Courtesy Jaekwon15)

In an effort to revitalize their low sales, Tiger would later release the Game.com Pocket Pro. This was a smaller version of the game.com which had the same specifications as the original except that it had a single cartridge slot and required only two AA batteries. The initial version of the Pocket Pro featured a frontlit screen (advertised as backlit) and is distinguished by its rough-textured black case. A subsequent re-release omitted the frontlight and came in four translucent colors (green, blue, pink, and purple).

This re-release enjoyed very limited success, and the console would be canceled in 2000, along with its exclusive internet service. Most of the console's problems were due to a small lineup (only 19 games), poor quality of some games, lack of third party support, poor distribution, and poor marketing. Moreover, its display, like the original Game Boy's, suffered from very slow screen updates (known as "ghosting"), which makes fast moving objects blur and particularly hurt the fast-moving games Tiger sought licenses for. The Game.com Pocket Pro had a slightly better display than the first model — on par with the Game Boy Pocket's — with less of a ghosting problem.



To access the Internet, the user had to connect an external dial-up modem to the Game.com via a serial cable and dial into the Game.com-exclusive ISP. From there, the user could upload saved high scores, or check e-mail and view the web if they had the Internet cartridge (sold separately from the modem). The Game.com also supported other ISPs, although accessing them via text with the touch screen and stylus was far from user friendly. This process would end up being a matter of trial-and-error; both Tiger's now-defunct website and the included manual gave incorrect instructions for setting up a Game.com for internet access.

Web access was text-only, and the later, single-cartridge versions of the Game.com could not access the web or send e-mail at all. None of the games had actual online play with other people, only high score uploads. The monthly fee, two extra peripherals, and clumsy and confusing setup which required users to remain close to a phone line to connect the console to the modem meant that only a small percentage of Game.com owners had a subscription to the Game.com internet service.

Games (Released)


Cancelled Titles


An unnamed (and unannounced) RPG title can be seen in one of the game.com television commercials. It was later discovered that this was to be a game.com version of the PlayStation role-playing video game Shadow Madness.

Hacking and homebrew development

In early 2005, a group called game.commies was formed with hopes of hacking the Game.com hardware and creating new homebrew video games. In 2006 they announced a working game.com emulator was in their possession, but denied a public release of it was forthcoming. This emulator was originally distributed to Game.com developers, in the same vein as Ensata. A preliminary driver for the Game.com hardware was added to the MESS emulator in 2006. In October 2011, the official Game.com emulator for developers was released on the internet.

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Did anyone else totally buy into the hype of this fucking thing and think it was the greatest Christmas gift ever? Tell me I wasn't the only one. It wouldn't be the first time I'd receive a soon defunct product during the holidays though, I also received a Cybiko (a sort of portable PDA that texted, played games). Fucking Tiger.

 

BocoDragon

or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Realize This Assgrab is Delicious
Dec 5, 2005
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Did anyone else totally buy into the hype of this fucking thing and think it was the greatest Christmas gift ever? Tell me I wasn't the only one. It wouldn't be the first time I'd receive a soon defunct product during the holidays though, I also received a Cybiko (a sort of portable PDA that texted, played games). Fuck you, Tiger.
The hype? What hype? Lol, yeah, you probably were the only one. In the world of gamers in 1997, it was an oddity and a joke, much as N-gage was. I think the only hype was directly between advertisements and foolish parents/kids. :p

How it managed to get ports of major PS1 games (MGS, RE2, SotN... even if they were never released), I'll never know
 

Coxy

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I was super hyped for Fighters Megamix but couldnt afford a saturn so I got this super cheap. It was absolutely terrible though and I ended up only ever getting batman and robin with it. I eventually got my saturn and FM though, disaster averted!
 

Chittagong

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Jun 8, 2004
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Wow, game.com and n-gage threads both in one day. Ok now we MUST get a Gizmondo thread. Their crash filing is stuff of legends.
 

krae_man

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Playing the bonus stages in the Sonic game is crazy. "Find the Blue Spheres". There are no blue spheres, just different shades of Grey.

Wow, game.com and n-gage threads both in one day. Ok now we MUST get a Gizmondo thread. Their crash filing is stuff of legends.
If I wasn't at work, I could do this. And do a Mega Duck thread, a Gamate thread, a Game Pocket Computer thread, GP 32 thread...
 

GhostWriter24

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1. I hope no one quotes Carl Sagan in this thread.

2. "Fuck you, Tiger" is a great ending to your OP. Great work with that.
Indeed. Fuck them for creating a game system they likely knew would be sent to die against the superior game boy pocket.

Anyone who owned one of these and was hit with the tidal wave of disappointment upon playing it Christmas morning will agree with me.
 
Apr 25, 2011
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I feel your pain. I asked for one of these for my birthday based on TV ads which made it look immense compared to Game Boy. Such disappointment, plus the few games that came out were nigh-on impossible to get hold of in the UK.
 

BocoDragon

or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Realize This Assgrab is Delicious
Dec 5, 2005
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It was actually a pretty forward-thinking console, and a smart move on Tiger's part to TRY and compete with the cartridge machines that were eating its LCD handheld lunch.

It just failed before anyone learned to like it, so now we laugh :p
 

Alex

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Jun 7, 2004
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I think Ashens just did a good video in this thing. Pre gba sp handhelds give me a headache to even look at now
 

RyuHayate

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Man, Cybiko was the hottest thing around when I was in fifth grade! I was so happy when I got one for Christmas that year.

Too bad the keys on it were so damn small. And that stylus included to press on them wasn't that great, either.
 

Amagon

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I bought the first Game.com when it came out around my birthday. I forgot why I was hype but it was a silly pos which had a couple of quirks that I like but I remember the ghosting issue was one of the reason why I didn't like the system. Duke Nukem I remember being actual fun and Fighters Megamix was descent or was it Mortal Kombat? (Getting too old for this shit) Was hyped for Castlevania but that never came out. For the better I guess but seeing the Japanese developers making games for the portable was pretty awing to me at the time. But, after a month playing with it, I was like "fuck this" and sold it to my friend. Could of bought a Virtual Boy but noooooo. Stupid me!

So when is the Tiger R-Zone thread going to be created?
Dude, totally forgot about that thing. Man that was awesome at the time but I remember playing Mortal Kombat on it and shit was atrocious.




"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe."
-Carl Sagan
 

Chaucer

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Sep 13, 2006
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All this information and nothing about how "game.com" was a porn website back when it first launched and the company had to explain that their system, game.com, had nothing to do with the website by the same name.

That's how I remember it anyway.
 
K

kittens

Unconfirmed Member
Sorry, OP, I was a smart kid and didn't get caught up in the hype of cheap Tiger-style gadgets. I was playing my Gameboy Pocket and building lego castles and shit.
 

GhostWriter24

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Sorry, OP, I was a smart kid and didn't get caught up in the hype of cheap Tiger-style gadgets. I was playing my Gameboy Pocket and building lego castles and shit.
My apologies. Unlike you, my wise consumer instinct likely didn't kick in until age 12.

Seriously though? Tiger made this thing out to be fucking incredible. Look at the resolution and clarity of the games from the commercial and compare it to what you actually got (blurry, horrendous ghosting). Wasn't just me, a lot of kids got this piece of shit.
 

DangerStepp

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Wow. I completely forgot this thing existed until I read the thread title. Thanks for the retrospective. I had always wondered what happened to Tiger as a company.
 

Takao

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Mar 19, 2009
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Wow. I completely forgot this thing existed until I read the thread title. Thanks for the retrospective. I had always wondered what happened to Tiger as a company.
They were bought by Hasbro, and made junk like Furbies, Video Now, and the NetJet. I owned a NetJet and it was a piece of shit. The hardware was nicely built, but the games ran like crap no matter your hardware set up, and many were just flash games.
 

whitehawk

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Jan 27, 2008
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Don't forget Tiger Electronics second try, the Gizmondo



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gizmondo

Came out in 2005 and I remember it was meant to go up against the DS and the PSP (lol as if). Thing failed miserably, I don't think even 1 person on GAF owned it. Apparently only 25,000 units were ever sold.

edit: nvm it wasn't made by Tiger Electronics, it was made by Tiger Telematics
 

KamenSenshi

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I remember the rumor of VF3 making an appearance on this system. Would have totally gotten it for my brother. He actually beat Duke on this somehow. I remember that game having more fade in than the original Daytona for Saturn.
 

Lumpy Onion

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I don't even want to imagine what a game.com version of Shadow Madness would even look like. Sounds absolutely horrifying.
 

Eusis

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Sorta followed it, but never did take it very seriously despite the novel features. In hindsight I don't think the technology was really there to do this to a satisfactory level until about 2004, given the n-gage also tried for some similar stuff but failed miserably.

Then again, maybe it's more a combination of technology and a company that knows how to make it a compelling device through marketing and design, given Nintendo did very well with the 3DS and Apple completely broke open the market for this sort of stuff.
 

Vamphuntr

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That RE2 port seems like a snore fest too. Leon's animation is poor and the ghosting isn't helping either.
 
Apr 3, 2007
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My brother had one and I remember playing a kid's game com on the school bus since he had mortal kombat for it. I also remember a lot of kids at school having cybikos. Those things died off so quickly. :lol
 

Parallax

best seen in the classic "Shadow of the Beast"
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I used to have a game com. It was nice, but the one game I wanted for it(fighters megamix) wasn't available anywhere nearby me at the time. I was also really excited for SOTN, but for some reason, they thought it would be better to sell revisions of hardware than actual software. Oh, and batman and robin sucked ass.