For one Summer I actually owned a Game Gear. I ended up selling it pretty quickly after I bought it, partly because I couldn’t afford to keep replacing the 6 AA batteries with a lifespan of about two hours if you were lucky (no exaggeration), and I thought that being tethered to a wall by using the AC adapter completely defeated the purpose of owning a hand held system in the first place. Mostly, it was because I became absolutely sick with the pack-in game, Columns.
Columns was the game that would spend the most time with, mostly because I couldn’t afford to buy any other games after blowing all of my funds on a system, an AC adapter, and a backpack full of batteries. I’m not going to lie, spending the amount of time I did playing Columns might have influenced my decision to get rid of it.
Columns is a typical puzzle game. You’re given pieces that consist of three panels stacked up to form a vertical bar. You must, for reasons unexplained, sort the bars in such a way that three or more of the same color line up in any direction so they can disappear. You can change what ‘column’ the piece will land in, as well as the order of the colors in the piece. You play until you can’t fit any more pieces in the playfield.
I logged a couple dozen hours in the game within a few weeks, and then hit on a strategy that, in retrospect, should never have worked. Heck, even then I thought that it shouldn’t work. I decided to just play the game by randomly filling up the field on both sides, leaving a one-column wide hole in the middle. I would then fill up this hole and attempt to make matches. I wasn’t trying to win, I was just goofing around with the game. I ended up playing this strategy for over two hours. I played so long that we had to switch to AC power just before the batteries died. I played so long that my hands went numb. I played so long that I decided that I never needed to play Columns again in any incarnation.