Grab your nearest pack of AA batteries and explore the golden era of handheld gaming in A Handheld History 88-95.

Many of us have fond memories of classic handheld gaming – whether it’s playing your very first game as a child, chilling after school and gaming with friends, or returning to your gaming roots through retro collecting. Handheld gaming has also been an important part of our journey at!

We’ve written reviews for Game Boy classics, put together lists of Nintendo DS hidden gems, and even explored the overlooked handhelds that didn’t quite take off, like the Nokia N-Gage or Neo Geo Pocket. No matter what handheld gaming means to you, it’s something worth celebrating, and that’s exactly what the teams at Lost in Cult and Retro Dodo hope to achieve through their latest book, A Handheld History 88-95.

A Handheld History 88-95 book cover

Gaming history held within your hands!

This celebration of all things handheld harkens back to the golden era of handheld gaming and a period that sculpted a generation of gamers. Turn the clock back three decades to a time where the world was waiting with bated breath for the Game Boy’s launch. The machine would change the landscape of portable play as we knew it, launching a revolution that would shape the medium. A Handheld History will transport you back to this era, introducing you to a foundational period of gaming history.

A Handheld History 88-95 book spines

What is A Handheld History 88-95 about?

Across long-form retrospectives, thematic essays, personal reflections, and interview-led features, A Handheld History: 88-95 will complete your understanding of this pivotal chapter. Featuring refined versions of the design tenets from their previous book, A Handheld History (2022), 88-95’s over Three hundred pages of original material built upon the previous book’s groundwork, diving into one particular stretch of time. This follow-up is laser-focussed on detail and archival.

A Handheld History 88-95 is a book that will not only evoke those memories but archive them, committing the period’s nuances to print. As the era’s biggest achievements slowly become ephemeral and lost to the passage of time, we have an obligation to make sure nothing is forgotten. Preservation is about more than software. It’s about detail and culture — precisely what A Handheld History: 88-95 is made of.

Why choose 1988 – 1995 for the book?

Portable gaming did not begin in 1988 (in fact, it was even a decade earlier!). You can trace its inception back long before, traversing an era even prior to the Game & Watch. However, the late eighties and early nineties were a critical window wherein handheld play as we now know it was catalysed in an instant. Here at Qualbert, we like to refer to this as The Golden Era of Handheld Gaming. And it’s all thanks to one special little console that chewed through a mountain of AA batteries…

A Handheld History 88-95 GameBoy gif

When Nintendo created the Game Boy, everything changed. Atari and Sega followed suit, and the trio ushered in a time of great experimentation that provided us with some of the medium’s most iconic titles — and even more experiences which remain heavily overlooked. For every Tetris there’s an Ax Battler, and both are deserving of equal time in the sun. Without this eight-year period, we would not have the landscape we now enjoy, and without taking a closer look at these moments, so many of their understated successes would remain unappreciated.

A Handheld History bundle

Missed the first book? Don’t worry – grab both in a bundle! It’s a real hand(held)ful.

Where can I get a copy of A Handheld History 88-95?

For more information on A Handheld History 88-95 and to secure your copy, head over to the official funding page where you can pre-order the book. You can choose from three different options which include added bonuses, bookmarks, posters, and signed items, and even your name in the book as a supporter! These three options can be found here:

  • Standard Edition (£39.99) – includes a hardcover copy of A Handheld History 88-95
  • Deluxe Edition (£49.99) – includes a hardcover copy of A Handheld History 88-95, foil bookmark, folded poster, signed bookplate, and your name in the book as a supporter
  • Deluxe Bundle (£79.99) – includes a hardcover copy of A Handheld History 88-95, a hardcover copy of the original Handheld History, foil bookmark, folded poster, signed bookplate, and your name in the book as a supporter
A Handheld History 88-95 Retromodding gameboy

Win this custom Game Boy just by ordering the book!

You have until May 5th to support the campaign and secure your copy of A Handheld History 88-95 – so be sure to drop by the Lost in Cult website, find out more about the book, and support the campaign and the passionate people behind this stunning publication. By pre-ordering too you’ll go into the draw to win a custom modded Game Boy!

We’ll be getting hands-on with the book when it officially releases in Q4 2023 and can’t wait to share our thoughts with you all! Join the Qualbert Discord in the mean time to chat all about handheld games, and be sure to explore our handheld retrospective articles for more.

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