The Game.com (pronounced Game Com), released in 1997, was Tiger Electronics's attempt at creating a handheld that could directly compete with Nintendo's Game Boy. It sported a few features that were years ahead of their time, including a touch screen, two cartridge ports (although later models did eventually move back to a single port), and internet connectivity through an optional 14.4 kb/s modem.
Tiger was primarily a producer of single-game LCD handhelds, based on popular film, television, and videogame licenses. They released cartridge based R-Zone in 1995, but it was short-lived, as the Game Boy dominated the handheld market, and Tiger's simpler titles were less appealing to gamers. In an attempt to compete directly with the Game Boy, Tiger released the Game.com in 1997 with a puzzle title, Lights Out, as the pack-in game. IP license agreements secured for the portable LCD games remained in effect, which Tiger expected to fully leverage on the Game.com. Popular console titles such as Mortal Kombat Trilogy, Williams Arcade Classics, Sonic Jam, and Fighters Megamix were released either at launch or shortly after alongside adaptations of popular Tiger handheld products including Henry and Quiz Wiz, plus a promotional booklet teased ports of Road Rash, EA Sports titles and games based on upcoming films such as Batman & Robin and The Lost World: Jurrasic Park (few of which were actually released).
Additionally, the Game.com was to be the first handheld system to feature internet connectivity. This was, in fact, the handheld's main selling point. Internet connectivity would prove difficult, however, as access required a phone cord and jack, as well as a bulky external modem. Users were required to use Tiger's own ISP to get online with the devices. Like most WAP-enabled devices of the day, the Game.com was equipped with a text-based web browser that allowed users to access online scoreboards and other WAP and Game.com specific content. Users could also check their email through the service, but due to the high cost of getting the Game.com online, adoption rates for the console's online services were low.
Later in the console's lifespan, Tiger released a new, smaller version called the Game.com Pocket Pro. It features a smaller screen, one cartridge port, a lit screen (in the first few production runs), and eliminated the console's online functionality. New games, including ports of Resident Evil 2 and the modernized versions of Centipede and Frogger, were released alongside the console. In 2000, when both the original Game.com and the Pocket Pro failed in the marketplace, Tiger pulled support, leaving games such as Metal Gear Solid, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Giga Pets, and Foreman Boxing (supposedly with force feedback capabilities) unfinished.
While the console was a commercial failure, internet capabilities in handheld gaming devices became a popular feature in later handheld consoles. The console also featured a touch screen before the Nintendo DS made touch-screen gaming popular in the handheld market. The console's failure caused Tiger to leave the gaming market and focus on developing consumer electronics aimed at children.
In 2005, an online group referring to themselves as the "game.commies" announced they would be working on hacking the game.com platform to enable emulation. An emulator was released in 2011.
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