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The Handheld Game System 20% Of People Consider Their Favorite

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In 1979, Milton Bradley released the first handheld gaming system, the Microvision. It wasn't until 1989, though — with the launch of Nintendo's Game Boy — that portable gaming really hit its stride. Nintendo's revolutionary 8-bit handheld featured games that compared favorably with those of regular console systems, and the Game Boy amassed a library of more than 700 titles over its life. Since then, the concept of portable gaming has taken different forms, as Nintendo updated its offerings and other gaming companies tried to get in on the action.


Today, handheld games seem to take place mostly on smartphones and tablets, although the Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite continue to sell briskly, as well. But of all the handhelds gamers have seen, have you ever wondered which is the all-time favorite? If so, you'll want to check out our new poll of 618 people from around the country. It may not be the most scientific of studies, but it provides a snapshot of popularity and reveals which portables everyone loved the most. 

The original Game Boy didn't win, but for 1 in 5, it's the best

Not at all shockingly, the handheld system that everyone considers their favorite is the Nintendo DS, with 22.65 percent of the vote. The DS, with its depth and breadth of gaming experiences and bestseller status, just barely edged out the original Game Boy. Nintendo's classic handheld came in at 20.71 percent, indicating the Game Boy secured roughly one out of every five votes.


In third place, the Game Boy Advance garnered 18.28 percent of the vote, while the more recent Nintendo 3DS slid into fourth with 15.21 percent of the vote. The PlayStation Portable (PSP) and the PlayStation Vita, lumped together ambiguously as "PSP PlayStation Vita," got 14.24 percent of the vote and came into last place. 

The winner? Basically, it's Nintendo. Every single one of its handhelds listed did better than their Sony counterparts. Of course, it should be noted that there were many different models of DS and 3DS over the years, and many of the later versions managed to improve upon the design of the previous ones. It's unclear from the format of the poll whether fans were voting for the originals or including later designs such as the DSi, the 2DS, and XL versions into the categories. 


The write-ins

Out of all substantive write-in responses, the system most mentioned was the Nintendo Switch. That's fair: while the systems listed may benefit from a healthy dose of nostalgia, the Switch is Nintendo's current system and its popularity has skyrocketed over the course of the past year. 


The next most popular "other" option was the Sega Game Gear, which was Sega's backlit, full-color response to the Game Boy. It was a decent system, but was bulky and was saddled with poor battery life. Additionally, it cost more than the Game Boy and had less third-party support, ultimately selling just 11 million units to the Game Boy's 118 million.

Beyond that, one person mentioned "Oculus," presumably the mobile Oculus Go, and a couple of others mentioned different models of the game systems already listed. And one person mentioned yo-yos, because there's always a joker in the bunch. Do you think that person knows yo-yos have long appeared in video games?