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(Nikkei BP Group)

(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)

  • Bandai Unveils Portable Game Player with Two-Way Screen
  • October 14, 1998 (TOKYO) -- Bandai Co., Ltd. introduced a pocket-sized portable game player called WonderSwan featuring a screen that can be used either vertically or horizontally.
    To enjoy a falling-type game such as Tetris, the body can be used vertically, and for other games, it can be used in the horizontal mode.

    The main body measures 121mm wide by 74.3mm deep by 24.3mm high, and it weighs about 110g. It is priced at 4,800 yen (US$40) and will be sold from March 1999.

    About 10 titles of game software will go on sale together with WonderSwan, for 3,000 yen to 4,000 yen (US$25-US$34). Bandai said that the number of titles will be increased to about 50, including both original and third-party sources, in the initial year. Game software will be provided as cartridges.

    WonderSwan has a 2.49-in. liquid crystal display with eight levels of gray scale. It is a reflective monochrome LCD panel.

    "LCDs for portable game players made by other companies have only four gray scales, but with our eight gray-scale LCD, Bandai can display clearer pictures," said Mikio Ishigami, a senior director at Bandai.

    "The response time of the LCD also is improved, helping characters move much faster compared with other existing portable game machines," Ishigami added.

    Users of WonderSwan manipulate two cross keys located vertically on the left side of the main body, and two buttons on the right side of the body (see photo). To utilize the body horizontally, the cross keys that reach to the bottom are pressed, and to utilize it in the vertical mode, the upper cross keys are used. For shooting games, the buttons are pressed to hit missiles, for example.

    WonderSwan can be operated by one AA alkaline battery for about 30 hours. With an optional cable, it can play the same game with another WonderSwan terminal or connect to a PC.

    "We are working on various details for WonderSwan, including an option to download software to a PC via the Internet and transmitting to WonderSwan," a company official said.

    WonderSwan will be sold at toy stores, convenience stores and bookstores.

    Bandai hopes to sell 4.5 million units in the initial fiscal year.

    (BizTech News Dept.)

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    Updated: Tue Oct 13 17:59:52 1998 PDT