Gamate

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Gamate
Gamate Logo.svg
Gamate.jpg
Gamate and 3 games
Manufacturer Bit Corporation, UMC
Type Handheld game console
Generation Fourth generation
Retail availability 1990–1993
Media ROM Card
Power 6V, four AA batteries
CPU UMC UA6588F (earlier revision)
NCR 81489 (later revision)
Memory 16KB RAM
Display 160×144 resolution, 4 shades of grey
Dimensions 16.7 × 9.7 × 3.3cm

The Gamate, 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, parts of Europe and Asia, Argentina, the USA, and possibly other regions.

It never sold in numbers comparable to the Game Boy or even the Watara Supervision, and as a result information on the console and its games remains scarce - no emulator or ROM dumps exist. However, over 70 games are known to have been produced for the system.

History[edit]

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

It was originally released by the Taiwanese game company Bit Corporation in conjunction with local distributors around the world, such as Alston Research in the USA, the joystick maker Cheetah Marketing in the UK, and toy company GIG in Italy.[1] Bit Corp. ceased operating in 1992[2] but UMC and its subsidiary Funtech continued to produce Gamate hardware and software.[1]

Hardware[edit]

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 a thick plastic and with batteries installed, the unit feels very similar to the weight of a Game Boy.

Screen[edit]

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 horizontal lines while the "good" one displays a slightly corrupted checkerboard pattern.[3]

Sound[edit]

The Gamate's mono internal speaker is of poor quality, giving off sound that is quite distorted, particularly at low volumes.[3] However, if a user plugs into the headphone jack, the sound is revealed to be programmed in stereo, and of a relatively high quality.

Shell[edit]

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[edit]

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.[3]

Specifications[edit]

  • CPU UMC UA6588F (earlier revision); NCR 81489, 8 bits (BIT WS39323F) in a QFP-100 shell (later revision)
  • ROM 2 KB (UM6116M-2L CMOS static RAM, pin compatible with ROM/EPROM chips)
  • RAM 16 KB (2 × CXK5864M-15L chips) of static RAM
  • Size : 16.7 × 9.7 × 3.3 cm (6.58 × 3.82 × 1.3 inches) in grey plastic
  • Keys D-pad, A, B, START and SELECT
  • Screen LCD in 4 greyscale, 160 × 144 pixels
  • Sound internal mono speaker, external stereo headphones
  • Media ROM card, very similar to Hu-Card (PC-Engine), My Card (Sega SG-1000) and Sega Card (Sega Master System) 19×2 pins
  • Input/Output
    • Cartridge Slot
    • Stereo headphones
    • Power
    • External link connector (for 2-player games)
  • Power: 6V (four AA batteries)

Expansion[edit]

  • Gamate link cable
  • Ni-CD battery pack

Games[edit]

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.[4] 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.[1] 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)[edit]

C1 series[edit]

# Serial number Title AKA title(s) Developer Release year
1 C1-020 Bad Bud Chou Chu's Adventure
2 C1-064 Bao Qing Tian
3 C1-048 Baseball Super Baseball
4 C1-063 Basketball
5 C1-030 Beach Volleyball
6 C1-031 Bomb Blast Bomb Blaster Bit Corp. 1990
7 C1-043 Boom! Bit Corp. 1991
8 C1-003 Box Forum
9 C1-029 Brick Blaster Bit Corp. 1990
10 C1-010 Bump N' Run
11 C1-032 Cosmic Fighter Bit Corp. 1990
12 C1-001 Cube-Up[5] Bit Corp. 1990
13 C1-017 Devil Castle Bit Corp. 1991
14 C1-019 Dino Ball Bit Corp. 1991
15 C1-013 Dino Bibo
16 C1-061 Dinosaur Park
17 C1-005 Enchanted Bricks
18 C1-052 Famous 1) 7 Famous
2) Famous 7
UMC 1993
19 C1-057 Fantasy Travel
20 C1-033 Fist of Thunder
21 C1-026 Flipuzzle Bit Corp. 1991
22 C1-042 Flying Goblin
23 C1-039 Fortress of Fierceness
24 C1-050 Fortress of Fierceness II
25 C1-047 Fortune 'n Luck
26 C1-060 Further Adventures of Hannibal The Cat
27 C1-007 Galaxy Invaders Bit Corp. 1990
28 C1-068 The Golden Pyramid
29 C1-056 GP Race
30 C1-058 Heaven Clash
31 C1-065 Hot Hero Huǒbào Yīngxióng
32 C1-040 Incantational Couple
33 C1-070 Insect War
34 C1-025 Jackpot
35 C1-036 Jewelriss
36 C1-046 Kiki Inland Kiki Island
37 C1-015 Kill Shot
38 C1-018 Kung-Fu Fighter Bit Corp. 1990
39 C1-008 Legend of Dragon Knight
40 C1-054 Magic Jigsaw Bit Corp. 1991
41 C1-024 Marauder
42 C1-038 Mars Voyage
43 C1-053 Metamorphosiser Tough Guy
44 C1-041 Mighty Boxer
45 C1-004 Mighty Tank Bit Corp.
46 C1-006 Mini Golf Bit Corp. 1990
47 C1-011 Money Maze
48 C1-027 Monster Pitfall Bit Corp. 1990
49 C1-021 Myth of Asamia Bit Corp. 1990
50 C1-037 Nightmare of Santa Claus Bit Corp. 1991
51 C1-012 Pharaoh Revenger Bit Corp. 1991
52 C1-022 Pipemania
53 C1-049 Punk Boy
54 C1-069 Riddle of the Ancient Tomb
55 C1-067 Robin Hood
56 C1-044 Snowman Legend Bit Corp. 1991
57 C1-034 Superboy
58 C1-023 Tennis Bit Corp. 1991
59 C1-014 Time Warrior Bit Corp. 1990
60 C1-009 Tornado Bit Corp. 1991
61 C1-035 Treasure Hunter Bit Corp. 1990
62 C1-028 Vindicators
63 C1-016 Volcano Panic
64 C1-002 Witty Apee Bit Corp. 1990
65 C1-045 World Cup Soccer
66 C1-051 ??? - Unknown title
67 C1-055 ??? - Unknown title
68 C1-059 ??? - Unknown title
69 C1-062 ??? - Unknown title
70 C1-066 ??? - Unknown title

K1 series[edit]

  • K1-001 One Million Whys (a.k.a. Lǜyě Mí Zōng)

Multi-game cartridges[edit]

  • C1-401 4-in-1 (Mini Golf, Cube-Up, Brick Master, and Vindicators)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c taizou. "Gamate: Other Companies". Neo Fuji. Retrieved 26 June 2010. 
  2. ^ "普澤、昇友停權". Toybase (in Chinese). Retrieved 26 June 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c taizou. "Gamate: Hardware". Neo Fuji. Retrieved 26 June 2010. 
  4. ^ Gamate Archive, Video Game Gazette. Retrieved 2010-06-14.
  5. ^ taizou. "Gamate: Games". Neo Fuji. Retrieved 27 June 2010. 

External links[edit]