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.
- Batman & Robin
- Duke Nukem 3D http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcxbR8xzQw8
- Fighters Megamix
- Indy 500
- Lights Out
- The Lost World: Jurassic Park
- Mortal Kombat Trilogy
- Quiz Wiz: Cyber Trivia
- Resident Evil 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiTkmvwGMN4&feature=related
- Sonic Jam
- Tiger Casino (shipped with new Game.com handhelds; only sold separately through the official website)
- Wheel of Fortune
- Wheel of Fortune 2
- Williams Arcade Classics
- A Bug's Life
- Command & Conquer: Red Alert
- Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
- Metal Gear Solid http://29.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_kvqqjtC6HO1qzp9weo1_400.jpg
- NBA Hangtime
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.
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.