he Retrobear packs up his trunk (I know its not Retroelephant) for a short break. This leaves him contemplating which retro handheld to take and also the future, which is a rather odd combination, don’t you think?

Originally Posted to GameFancier.com on August 5th 2010

Gameboy Advance (GBA)

The only handheld you'll ever need

As I’m embarking on a short weekend, the old column inches have taken a hit somewhat. I have had to balance getting all my holiday gear ready against writing this weekly piece for my fan in Rotherham. If I don’t get either right then I am on a hiding to nothing. So, this week if you will allow me to indulge in a few snippets of wisdom, I promise for next week that normal service shall be resumed.

After the epic trawl through video games based on films, I have revisited a couple of titles this week, all of which are on the Gamecube. I am thoroughly enjoying Star Wars Rogue Leader, From Russia with Love and 007: Everything or Nothing. There is no better feeling than replaying old games you remember with fondness and still finding them a joy to play. It’s like meeting your hero and finding them to be alright as opposed to the self righteous twat that everyone told you they would be.

I find it difficult to get excited about remakes of old games, with what is classed as a “Next Generation” makeover: Bionic Commando – I just don’t get it. The arcade game was side-on, as were the home conversions, so why does someone feel the need to take it and completely turn it on its head making a game that splits people the same way Marmite does? Being retro orientated, you would expect me to side with the original and in most cases I do. However, the new version of AfterBurner is absolutely awesome, which goes to show you that you can get it right.

I own a lot of machines and am trying to find out which one I don’t feel a lot of love for. My Saturn sits there gathering dust (mainly because my mate Jim still has my RF lead), as does my Dreamcast, despite the fact I have plenty of software for them both. Do you detect a hatred for all things Sega? No, absolutely not. My first proper console was a Mega Drive and I played that to death when I first had one. It got me through college and university alongside lengthy sessions on Championship Manager (German Club Edition), and I now have another one. The one machine I cannot get to grips with is the humble grey plastic toaster that is the NES. I have six games for it, but can’t feel the love at all. I won’t cast it aside, after all that’s sacrilege to even consider, but as it sits there getting dustier and dustier it must wonder if it’s ever going to get a fair crack of the whip. That and its connectors needing a good clean too.

This weekend will give me ample opportunity to play on the various handheld consoles that I have, although I shall probably just take the Gameboy Advance as it is backwards compatible with all Gameboy software. The GBA is an odd one for me, as I don’t think it was raved about the same way as Nintendo’s original Gameboy. That said there are some great games for it and given time over the weekend I may try playing Pokemon on it. I have decided against taking the Sega Game Gear as I don’t have 74 batteries spare (a quick tip if you have one – the Mega Drive power adaptor plugs into it and runs from the mains).

Anyway a quick peek at next week. I am going to try something new which I hope to alternate every 2-3 weeks depending on time and all that other stuff that gets in the way. Yes, finally I am going to start playing some games in depth and letting you know what they are like. I am going to call it the Retro Bear Russian Roulette of Retro (work in progress). Each week Mrs Retro Bear is going to pick me six games from a cross section of systems and I am going to play them. No arguments, no fudging, no cheating. However for the first one I am restricting her to the C64, so tune in next week and see how I get on. It could be a total disaster or rather cool – we shall wait and see!

Till the next time Retromaniacs (and to my fan Maurice in Rotherham) – Good Luck 007!