Gamate
Gamate Logo.svg
Gamate.jpg
Gamate and 3 games
ManufacturerBit Corporation
United Microelectronics Corporation
TypeHandheld game console
GenerationFourth generation
Lifespan1990–1994
MediaROM Card
CPUUMC UA6588F (earlier revision)
NCR 81489 (later revision)
both 6502 based
Memory16KB RAM
DisplayLCD in 4 greyscale
Graphics160 x 152 pixels
SoundGeneral Instrument AY-3-8910[1]
mono internal speaker
Power6V, four AA batteries
Dimensions16.7 × 9.7 × 3.3 cm (6.58 × 3.82 × 1.3 inches)

The Gamate,[2] known as 超級小子 (pinyin: chāojí xiǎozi, literally "Super Boy") in Taiwan and 超级神童 (pinyin: chāojí shéntóng, literally "Super Child Prodigy") in China, is a handheld game console manufactured by Bit Corporation in the early 1990s, and released in Australia, some parts of Europe, Asia (Taiwan and China), Argentina, and the United States.

The only emulator that supports it is MESS,[3] with games also playable on a MiSTer. Over 70 games, not all dumped, are known to have been produced for the system.

History

The Gamate appears to be the first of the many handheld consoles released in reaction to the success of Nintendo's Game Boy.

UK magazine advertisement for the Gamate
UK magazine advertisement for the Gamate

It was originally released by the Taiwanese game company Bit Corporation[4] in conjunction with local distributors around the world, such as Alston Research in the USA, the joystick maker Cheetah Marketing in the UK, toy company GIG in Italy, video game importer Uranium in Switzerland, ITMC subsidiary Yeno in Germany, Famiclone manufacturer Electrolab in Argentina and PlayMix in Sweden.[5]

Bit Corp. ceased operating in 1992[6] but UMC and its subsidiary Funtech continued to produce Gamate hardware and software.[5]

Hardware

Unlike other Taiwanese or Hong Kong Game Boy competitors, such as the Watara Supervision, Hartung Game Master and the Mega Duck, the Gamate's internal hardware contains no epoxy covered chips and was assembled in a quality manner. The build quality is relatively akin to that of the Game Boy. The shell is made of thick plastic and with batteries installed, the unit feels very similar to the weight of a Game Boy.

Screen

The screen on the Gamate is very similar to the Game Boy. It is a greenish color, with manual contrast adjustment, and non-backlit. Backlit screens were not common in 1990. Moving objects appear blurry and faint - the quality known as "ghosting" - which can make game play very frustrating.

The Gamate seems, however, to have had two different types of LCD screen used throughout its lifespan. The easiest way to tell which type one has is by turning the Gamate on without a game in - the "bad" one displays vertical lines while the "good" one displays a slightly corrupted checkerboard pattern.[7]

Sound

The Gamate internally uses an AY-3-8910 sound chip that can generate 3 channels of square waves and one for noise. The Gamate's mono internal speaker is of poor quality, giving off sound that is quite distorted, particularly at low volumes.[7] However, if a user plugs into the headphone jack, some of the sound channels are mapped to the headphone's left/right channels that forms stereo audio, and the output is of a relatively high quality.

Shell

The G1001 Gamate is dark grey in color and has a "x" D-pad and small speaker vents. The G1002 Gamate are dark grey in color and have a "+" D-pad design and large speaker vents. A variant in this design, with a white shell and red buttons also exists.

Serial numbers

All Gamates have a seven digit serial number near the card port on the rear of the console. The first two digits represent the year of manufacture, while the last five represent the unit's chronology. Therefore, a unit with the number "9001687", was the 1687th produced in 1990. The newest unit thus far discovered was produced in 1993.[7]

Specifications

Expansion

Games

Snowman Legend screenshot
Snowman Legend
Tornado screenshot
Tornado
Treasure Hunter screenshot
Treasure Hunter
Screenshots from three Gamate games

Games cartridges for the Gamate are slim plastic cards with exposed pins, similar to PC-Engine or Sega Master System cards.[8] Within the large illustrations are the game title and, unlike most systems, a simple numerical designation (C1-001, C1-002, etc.), making organization reasonably simple for collectors. The exact number of games released remains unknown. Some articles regarding the Gamate state it has "about 35 games or so", but the true number may be closer to 70. One contributing factor to this ambiguity is that as Bit Corp. had passed into bankruptcy, games continued to be published by UMC, but very few left the Asian market.

Many titles are clones of popular games from the era (Tetris, Bomberman, Lode Runner, Battle City, etc.). Bit Corp. (and later UMC) is given sole credit within each game, but inconsistencies in game content and labeling make it far more likely that several developers were involved in designing individual games; two external developers are currently known, Gamtec and Hengmao Electronics.[5] Some titles suffer from assorted bugs. A few titles seem to be original concepts, and a great many more remain mysterious due to their scarcity.

While in general the higher-numbered games were released later and in smaller quantities, there seems to be little correlation with this principle prior to the C1-040's, with random numbers inexplicably difficult to find.

Game list (incomplete)

Serial number Title AKA title(s) Developer Release year
C1-001 Cube-Up[9] Bit Corp. 1990
C1-002 Witty Apee Bit Corp. 1991
C1-003 Box Forum Bit Corp. 1991
C1-004 Mighty Tank Bit Corp. 1990
C1-005 Enchanted Bricks Bit Corp. 1990
C1-006 Mini Golf Bit Corp. 1990
C1-007 Galaxy Invaders Bit Corp. 1990
C1-008 Legend of Dragon Knight Bit Corp. 1991
C1-009 Tornado Bit Corp. 1991
C1-010 Bump N' Run[citation needed]
C1-011 Money Maze Bit Corp. 1990
C1-012 Pharaoh Revenger Bit Corp. 1991
C1-013 Dino Bibo Bit Corp. 1991
C1-014 Time Warrior Bit Corp. 1990
C1-015 Kill Shot Bit Corp. 1991
C1-016 Volcano Panic[10] Bit Corp. 1991
C1-017 Devil Castle Bit Corp. 1991
C1-018 Kung-Fu Fighter Bit Corp. 1990
C1-019 Dino Ball Bit Corp. 1991
C1-020 Bad Bud Chou Chu's Adventure[citation needed]
C1-021 Myth of Asamia Bit Corp. 1990
C1-022 Pipemania Bit Corp. 1991
C1-023 Tennis Bit Corp. 1991
C1-024 Marauder Bit Corp. 1991
C1-025 Jackpot[citation needed]
C1-026 Flipuzzle Bit Corp. 1991
C1-027 Monster Pitfall Bit Corp. 1990
C1-028 Vindicators Bit Corp. 1990
C1-029 Brick Blaster Bit Corp. 1990
C1-030 Beach Volleyball[citation needed]
C1-031 Bomb Blaster Bomb Blast Bit Corp. 1990
C1-032 Cosmic Fighter Bit Corp. 1990
C1-033 Fist of Thunder Bit Corp. 1991
C1-034 Superboy[citation needed]
C1-035 Treasure Hunter Bit Corp. 1990
C1-036 Jewelriss Bit Corp. 1991
C1-037 Nightmare of Santa Claus Bit Corp. 1991
C1-038 Mars Voyage Bit Corp. 1991
C1-039 Bomb Blaster Bomb Blast Bit Corp.
C1-040 Money Maze Bit Corp.
C1-041 Mighty Boxer[citation needed]
C1-042 Flying Goblin Bit Corp. 1991
C1-043 Boom! Bit Corp. 1991
C1-044 Snowman Legend Bit Corp. 1991
C1-045 World Cup Soccer
C1-046 Kiki Inland Kiki Island Bit Corp. 1992
C1-047 Fortune 'n Luck[11] Fortune and Luck Bit Corp. 1992
C1-048 Baseball Super Baseball Bit Corp. 1992
C1-049 Punk Boy Bit Corp. 1992
C1-050 Fortress of Fierceness Bit Corp. 1991
C1-051 Incantational Couple Bit Corp. 1992
C1-052 Famous 1) 7 Famous
2) Famous 7
UMC 1993
C1-053 Metamorphosiser Tough Guy UMC 1993
C1-054 Magic Jigsaw Bit Corp. 1991
C1-055 (unknown title, possibly unreleased)
C1-056 GP Race Bit Corp. 1992
C1-057 Fantasy Travel UMC 1993
C1-058 Heaven Clash QuizFighter UMC 1993
C1-059 (unknown title, possibly unreleased)
C1-060 Further Adventures of Hannibal The Cat Phinnex Co., Ltd. 1993
C1-061 Dinosaur Park Phinnex Co., Ltd. 1993
C1-062 (unknown title, possibly unreleased)
C1-063 Basketball
C1-064 Bao Qing Tian The Legendary Judge 1994
C1-065 Hot Hero Huǒbào Yīngxióng 1994
C1-066 (unknown title, possibly unreleased)
C1-067 Robin Hood Phinnex Co., Ltd. 1994
C1-068 The Golden Pyramid 1995
C1-069 Riddle of the Ancient Tomb Bǎozàng Zhī Mí 1994
C1-070 Insect War UMC 1995
C1-401 4-in-1 (Mini Golf, Cube-Up, Brick Blaster, and Vindicators) Bit Corp. 1991
K1-001 One Million Whys Lǜyě Mí Zōng UMC 1993

References

  1. ^ Kevtris. "Gamate Inside".
  2. ^ "Meet the Gamate, the Handheld Which Tried to Take on the Game Boy and Failed". 13 February 2014.
  3. ^ "MESS Git (2015/03/14)". EmuCR. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  4. ^ Lane, Gavin (17 April 2019). "The Handheld Rivals Which Tried And Failed To Beat The Game Boy". Nintendo Life. Retrieved 19 May 2022.
  5. ^ a b c taizou. "Gamate: Other Companies". Neo Fuji. Retrieved 26 June 2010.
  6. ^ 普澤、昇友停權. Toybase (in Chinese). Archived from the original on 3 May 2010. Retrieved 26 June 2010.
  7. ^ a b c taizou. "Gamate: Hardware". Neo Fuji. Retrieved 26 June 2010.
  8. ^ Gamate Archive Archived 2011-05-11 at the Wayback Machine, Video Game Gazette. Retrieved 14 June 2010.
  9. ^ taizou. "Gamate: Games". Neo Fuji. Retrieved 27 June 2010.
  10. ^ "Image: g13l-161.jpg, (1316 × 2000 px)". togonogo.com. 9 January 2015. Retrieved 5 September 2015.
  11. ^ "Image: g13s-175.jpg, (537 × 800 px)". togonogo.com. 9 January 2015. Retrieved 5 September 2015.