The Game.com (pronounced "game com", no "dot") was a 1997 handheld system made by Tiger Electronics, famous for making LCD games long beforehand. The system can be seen as revolutionary for its time, as it had a touch screen and rudimentary Internet functionality long before other video game companies tried their hand at it, along with other curious features like having two cartridge slots (initially).
Unfortunately for Tiger, it was far too ahead of its time and failed to catch on with consumers, though its infamous advertising campaign insulting Tiger's potential customers certainly did not help, but that was probably the least of the Game.com's worries. While the system's CPU is theoretically on par with the Game Boy released almost a decade earlier (and a slightly bigger 200×160 screen), it was crippled by the Operating System's constant processing overhead. This meant that games ran notoriously slow, as in low single digit FPS. Its audio capabilities, while theoretically superior to the Game Boy (supporting PCM audio right out of the box as well as wavetable synthesis while the Game Boy could only do pulse synthesis), were held back by the system's slow CPU, making any music from the system sound more like a slow, atonal series of beeps and boops. What also didn't help was that the touch screen barely functioned and the internet function of the device was virtually useless for the reasons outlined in the previous paragraph. To make matters worse, the much anticipated (and technically superior) Nintendo Game Boy Color would come out the following year. Tiger would attempt to respond with a smaller budget version of the Game.com called the Game.com Pocket Pro in 1999 with an added frontlight and the second cartridge slot and internet capabilities gutted, to no avail. (Perhaps this was for the best, as the router used to connect the game.com to the internet was a nightmare to hook up, and both the instructions that came with the system and the ones on Tiger's website were incorrect.) Tiger would discontinue the Game.com line in 2000, having sold less than 300,000 units total.
Nonetheless, it's still an interesting little nugget of video game history, and it got a decent amount of games with recognizable brand names on them (though the games themselves were rarely up to snuff).
- Batman & Robin
- Duke Nukem 3D
- Fighters Megamix
- Indy 500
- Lights Out (packed in with original Game.com units)
- The Lost World: Jurassic Park
- Mortal Kombat Trilogy
- Quiz Wiz: Cyber Trivia
- Resident Evil 2
- Solitaire (built in to each console)
- Sonic Jam
- Tiger Casino (shipped with new Game.com handhelds; only sold separately through the official website)
- Wheel of Fortune and Wheel of Fortune 2
- Williams Arcade Classics (a Compilation Rerelease of Defender, Defender II, Joust, Robotron: 2084, and Sinistar)
In addition to the above, Game.com Internet and Tiger Web Link were released as part of internet-connection accessories.
- A Bug's Life
- Command & Conquer: Red Alert
- Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (Prototype leaked onto the internet in 2022 - was relatively far along in development before being canned)
- The Legend of the Lost Creator
- Metal Gear Solid
- Name That Tune (the released pictures indicate it was at least visually based on the 1984-85 revival)
- NBA Hangtime
- Shadow Madness (seen in a Game.com TV advert, but never named or even announced)
- WCW Whiplash
- Awesome, yet Impractical: The Internet link function and touch screen were ahead of its time, but in function they were lacking. The touch screen was not very functional, and the Internet function negated its portability, since you needed to hook it up at home to use it.
- Flawed Prototype: By all right, the idea was sound, as many portable consoles would go on to incorporate internet integration, and in some ways it could be considered a precursor to the modern smartphone. The problem was the tech was just not there in 1997 for a portable internet experience, not to mention the line up of games being of poor quality and barely ran on the system they were actively designed for.
- Take That, Audience!: One of the ads for the game had an angry dwarf shilling the handheld, yelling that it "plays more games than you idiots have brain cells!" The dwarf is immediately swarmed by the angry crowd. And given the handheld only had 20 games released for it, and that not even a successful console could ever hope to achieve a number of games larger than the number of human brain cells because the human brain has, on average, 86 billion cells, no wonder they were so angry!