The LeapFrog Leapster Learning Game System is a handheld video game system released in 2003. The Leapster is an educational system targeted at children 4-10 years old with games to teach phonics, spelling, math, art, music and animal facts. It features a 160x160px color touch screen controlled by a stylus as well as a D-Pad and various buttons. The device is by far the most popular educational console in history, with a library of over 40 games and an install base of over 4 million. In 2008 the Leapster was succeeded by the Leapster 2.
The Leapster was designed to be visually appealing, easy to use, and durable. The device features multiple methods of control including a 2.25" touch screen, directional pad, and two buttons on the right side of the unit. The screen is backlit and large enough to support most games adequately, although some drawing/art games may be cluttered. The Leapster has no hardware graphics acceleration, so graphics are simple and two dimensional, but are appropriate for the intended age range. The device has a large, mono speaker in the bottom right corner of the device. It runs off 4 AA batteries, and an optional rechargable battery pack was available called the L-Max Recharging System. Only one model revision was made to the Leapster in it's 5 years as a portable console called the Leapster L-Max, released in 2004. The L-Max had slightly smaller dimensions and could output video to a TV via a composite cable. In 2005 a fully consolized Leapster unit was released called the Leapster TV.
- ARCTangent 5.1 running at 96MHz.Memory
- 2MB onboard RAM, 256 bytes non-volatile.Media
- Cartridges of 4-16MB with between 2 and 512kb non-volatile storage.Graphics
- No hardware acceleration.Audio
- Proprietary hardware audio acceleration.Screen
- 160x160px color.
Leapster cartridges are compatible with all three Leapster models and include a large range of children edutainment software. Many licensed characters are present in Leapster games such as SpongeBob Squarepants
, Thomas the Tank Engine
, Dora the Explorer
, and Batman
. LeapFrog also created their own character Tad who narrates a few games. Two games are pre-loaded onto the device: Rabbit River, a sort of educational Frogger clone and Color Corral, a problem solving and coloring activity suite. Over 40 additional titles are available. All games on the LeapFrog are educational, developed and produced by LeapFrog, have multiple skill levels, and carried MSRPs of $24.99. All games also feature a hint system so children don't get stuck for too long, which will bring up visual or audio clues. If a child answers a question incorrectly too many times, Edison the firefly pops up and coaches the child to teach them the concept they do not understand.