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Gaming Hacks by Simon Carless

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Explore the Bandai WonderSwan

How to recognize, buy, create, and emulate the best handheld you’ve never heard of.

Other hacks cover notable and obvious handhelds, such as Nintendo’s Game Boy and Game Boy Advance ( [Hack #20] ), as well as the marvelously versatile Korean GP32 handheld ( [Hack #23] ). There are other, more obscure fish in the sea worth exploring; primary among these is Bandai’s WonderSwan, released only in Japan and Asia. It includes both unofficial and official homebrew game-creation options.

Many Hardware Models, Much Confusion

It’s vital to note that several different types of the WonderSwan exist. All are pretty inexpensive. You can find even the most extravagant version, the WonderSwan Crystal, for $40 or less on eBay at the time of writing, though you may have to pay for shipping from Japan or Hong Kong. With the small differential in price, make sure you buy the latest and best variant!

WonderSwan (a.k.a. WonderSwan B&W)

The original, monochrome WonderSwan came out in early 1999 and fared pretty well. This thin, Game Boy-style handheld console has a 2.1-inch diagonal, 224 114 pixel screen and 512 KB of RAM. One unique feature is that you can play games either horizontally or vertically, thanks to two sets of direction pads. The horizontal mode is very similar to GB or GBA, with a direction pad and two buttons. You can often find this version for under $20 on eBay (though shipping may cost you more than that!), but there’s no point in buying one when a WonderSwan ...

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