Bandai WonderSwan (1999 – 2003)

The Bandai WonderSwan was a line of handheld game consoles first released in Japan in 1999.

Its competitors were the Neo Geo Pocket Color and the market leader Nintendo’s Game Boy Color. Originally a monchrome console, the WonderSwan Color was released in 2000.

The SwanCrystal replaced both earlier models in 2002, and boasted a superior display.

The WonderSwan sold well in Japan, and after the release of the WonderSwan Colour, took 8% of the Japanese market. One reason for its sucess in Japan was the fact that Bandai managed to get a deal with Square to port over the original Famicom Final Fantasy games with improved graphics and controls. However, with the popularity of the Game Boy Advance and the reconciliation between Square and Nintendo, the WonderSwan Color and its successor, the SwanCrystal, quickly lost its competitive advantage.

The SwanCrystal was discontinued in 2003. The WonderSwan and its variants sold 3.5 million units over the course of production.

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