History of GAMEBOY

The GAMEBOY was definitely the world’s most popular handheld gaming device selling almost 120 million units worldwide with it’s variety of models like the GAMEBOY pocket and GAMEBOY color. If you include the GAMEBOY advance into the mix, the total of units sold exceeds 200 million worldwide. No other handheld gaming system has sold more. Including the Nintendo DS.

The first official GAMEBOY was introduced to Japan on April 21st 1989. It was then released to North America in August 1989 and in Europe in September 1990. The infamous creator of the GAMEBOY was a man named Gunpei Yokoi along side with Nintendo’s Research and Development 1 team. This was the same staff who designed the Nintendo Game and Watch series which was introduced back in 1980. It was the first true Nintendo handheld to be released. But back to the GAMEBOY. It featured 8-bit graphics on a monochromatic screen.

Around this time, other competitors began to compete with the GAMEBOY in the portable device world. The Atari LYNX was introduced and it was superior in almost every aspect compared to the GAMEBOY. It had full color, cooler games and a bigger screen. Nintendo of course had something up their sleeve when they introduced the game TETRIS. Attracting an audience of all ages, TETRIS soon became one of the platforms best sellers. Put along side with Mario Land, the GAMEBOY over came it’s competitors to stay on top.

In 1995 Nintendo surfaced with a variety of new colored cases for the GAMEBOY. Red, green, black, yellow, blue, white, and a transparent case were chosen for Nintendo’s play it loud campaign. The technical specs of the colored GAMEBOYs was the same as the original. These colored GAMEBOY’s also came with a darker boarder, than the original GAMEBOY had.

In 1996 a lighter, smaller version of the GAMEBOY was released call the GAMEBOY pocket. This version used fewer batteries (two AAA batteries) and gave the device a 10 hour lifespan. It also had a true black and white display, getting rid of the greenish monochromatic display.
GAMEBOY pocket was the first version of the GAMEBOY to not display the batteries life with an LED light. The software of the pocket was not changed. GAMEBOY light was released only in Japan in 1998. It was the first handheld gaming device to feature an electromagnetic backlit screen. It used two AA batteries and had a lifespan of 20 hours with the light off and 12 hours with it on. The model came in two colors. Gold and silver.

Around this time Nintendo felt it needed a fresher face. Mario just wasn’t cutting it anymore. So Nintendo introduced the Pokemon franchise. Battling and trading Pokemon with your friends was easy on the GAMEBOY using the popular link cables. Pokemon raked in billions for Nintendo just off of games and merchandising.

In 1998 Nintendo released the GAMEBOY color. It featured a color screen, but still remained with it’s 8-bit processor, but it wasn’t until the GAMEBOY advance came out, in 2001, that the processor got upgraded to 32-bit. Basically, a Super Nintendo with a little more kick. The GAMEBOY advance sold like crazy totaling over 80 million units. It was the highest success the Gameboy had seen since the original release in 1989.

In 2003 Nintendo upgraded the GAMEBOY advance’s design to have a flip open body and a backlit screen for gaming in low light. This was back when flip phones were all the rage. It was dubbed the GAMEBOY advance SP. But then, in 2005, Nintendo burped out the GAMEBOY micro. The new design was highly advertised, but didn’t do too well in the market. After this unfortunate fail, Nintendo decided to focus in a new direction with the release of the Nintendo DS. And thus, the GAMEBOY era had come to a close. But not before inspiring a new generation of portable handheld gaming.

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About Rigogo

Currently a college student majoring in graphic design. Young and motivated.