life is noise
Portable gaming has been around for a while, but it's hard to deny the era of the traditional handheld console is more-or-less over and with the closure of the eShop for Nintendo 3DS, the era of these devices will end come next March. New devices are still being made, yes, but outside of the Switch, the majority of new devices is based on pre-existing operating systems like Android, Linux or Windows with an intent to be either used as an emulation device or as a way to play PC games on the go.
But from the early 1990s to the mid-2010s, other handhelds tried to encroach on Nintendo's territory as the reigning king of the portable gaming market. And while Nintendo wasn't the first hardware manufacturer to offer a handheld with swappable cartridges - that honor would go to MB's Microvision, which had released a full decade prior to the Game Boy - they have kept a steady presence on it from 1989 until... well, now, I suppose. These handhelds would often challenge Nintendo directly on grounds they perceived as easily won - primarily graphics - and while maybe winning the battle for a bit, they'd ultimately end up losing the war.
This thread is about these plucky little devices that went David-vs.-Goliath style against Nintendo and are probably remembered most fondly today.
Yes, I'm aware there's more than these six but I think these are the most well-known and people have the most attachment to them, if you want to list the N-Gage, there's the "Other" option. Also no, I won't list the TurboExpress or the Genesis Nomad since they're handheld devices that play home console games and not standalone systems.