The WonderSwan is a handheld video game console that was released on March 4, 1999. It was only available in Japan
. The console was released by Bandai
, with one of the lead designers being Gunpei Yokoi
(famed creator of the Game Boy
and producer of the Metroid
franchise who was killed before the release of the system). The WonderSwan was created to try and compete with other industry leaders; the Neo Geo Pocket
and the Game Boy. The WonderSwan Color
was eventually released, but many WonderSwan Color games are also compatible with the original WonderSwan. The WonderSwan was originally available in ten different colors.
The WonderSwan was designed to be played either vertically or horizontally. Games varied on this aspect, with a wide variety of games. The games for the system were primarily Japanese, as the console was designed for this market, but some still feature English as a language. Many popular RPGs were ported to the system, such as Final Fantasy
, Final Fantasy II
, Final Fantasy IV
, and Front Mission
. In addition, the WonderSwan did have its share of original games.
The WonderSwan had a variety of accessories as well. This included a headphone adapter (which allowed the console to have surround sound), a link cable (for multiplayer games), rechargeable batteries (which required a special recharger), WonderWave (a communication adapter that could be used to exchange data with some PlayStation
games), MobileWonderGate (a game cartridge that had a web browser and email), WonderBorg (a robot that could be controlled via a WonderSwan cartridge), WonderWitch (a game development kit that included a programmable WonderSwan cartridge and Microsoft Windows compatibility), WonderCoin (an accessory that made the D-pad on the WonderSwan feel more like a directional stick), screen protectors, a case, and a screen light.
- CPU: 16-bit NEC V30 MZ processor, 3.072 MHz
- Screen: FSTN reflective LCD, 224 x 144 pixels, 2.49 in.
- Display: 512 characters per layer, 128 sprites
- Graphics: 8-shade monochrome
- Audio: 4-channel stereo sound, mono speaker or headphones, three volume settings: loud, medium, mute
- Size: 74.3 mm x 121 mm x 24.3 mm
- Weight: 93 g or 110 g (depending on whether or not there are batteries in it)
- Power: 1 AA battery rechargeable batteries
- Ports: Link port, headphone jack, cartridge port
- Cartridge capacity: ROM/RAM max - 128 Mbit
Where to Find the Console and Games
Rising Stuff ( www.risingstuff.com/store) is about the world's largest English-speaking distributor of WonderSwan games. They also have a forum dedicated to WonderSwan games and information: ( www.risingstuff.com/forums). Other than that eBay often has them.