If I were going on overall quality of games, I would say the 3DS but the handheld that is my most loved would have to be the Game Boy Color. I got it bundled with Pokemon Red at a Costco from my mom as an early birthday present. The power went out while we were there, and we had to wait in line for a long while for it to come back up so they could get the registers working again. Thinking nothing of it, we got in the car and started home, only to hear on the radio that a tornado had touched down like 15 blocks from where we were, which was unprecedented. To this day it’s the only tornado to touch down in my hometown in my lifetime!
Anyways, when I was a kid, I wasn’t allowed to play video games! Luckily, my boomer parents didn’t really understand much about games (other than that they rotted kids brains), and the Game Boy didn’t really fit their schema. When I got the console, I played Pokemon Red over and over again under the covers with a flashlight I swiped from my dad’s glove compartment. My access to games was very limited, but I was hooked! I played Super Mario Brothers when I got that for Christmas the same year, which seemed quaint compared to what I heard about Mario 64 at school, but was enthralling none the less. Link’s Awakening was another game I loved. But maybe most formative gaming experience on the GBC was all the tie in platformers for Disney movies that my parents bought me. Those games were HARD, and like in the bad way. The jump was terrible, and the developers crammed as many pixels as they could to make the characters recognizable, leaving barely enough screen space to see the platform ahead of you, let alone the one after that. I toiled with these games for hours and hours. What was I supposed to do? Just not play games? These were the only ones I could get! So my initial frustrations wore down, and eventually I could beat my head against the wall until I made it through the levels with brute force. Even nowI can put up with a lot of bad mechanics if I find something about the game compelling. I wonder if endless hours with bad Game Boy platformers contributed to that!