25 years ago on this date Nintendo released its revolutionary portable gaming system the Game Boy. This 8-bit system helped expand Nintendo’s reach in the gaming world and made portable gaming affordable and popular.
Nintendo’s “handy little game machine” made it possible for people to take their games on the go, which at the time was a boon for gamers. Many of the most popular Nintendo characters, such as Mario, Zelda and Donkey Kong, were adapted for the system. However the Game Boy’s killer app was Tetris. The system ran on a z80 CPU, had a 2.5 inch screen and displayed in 4 different shades of grey. From a technical standpoint the system was inferior to other hand-held gaming devices at the time, such as Sega’s Game Gear. However even with an less powerful CPU, no color and small screen, the Game Boy could boast a 30 hour battery life, which was great for those long trips in the car or on the train commuting to & from work or school. The Game Boy is known for its durability. In fact one famously survived a bombing attack during the gulf war.
The Game Boy allowed not only for gaming to be portable and mobile but also social. People traded games at school or university, which allowed people to play a wide variety of games. The Game Boy was also region free, which allowed players to play games not made for their market. The link cable made it possible for multiplayer gaming, which would be an early precursor to the online gaming we enjoy today.
Needless to say the Game Boy revolutionized gaming and helped pave the way for mobile and online gaming that has became an increasing fixture in the gaming world. The Game Boy sold 119 million systems during it’s lifetime and it’s progeny (GBC, GBA,GBSP,DS,3DS) have continued this proud tradition.
What are your favorite Game Boy memories? Share them in the comments?