Released in Japan on April 21, 1989, it has now been 25 years since the first Nintendo Game Boy was released. While it wasn’t the first handheld gaming system, it was the beginning of a long line of handheld systems from Nintendo that revolutionized the world of handheld gaming. I still have one in a drawer and vividly remember spending hours on my bed immersed in the worlds of Tetris, Dr. Mario and Kirby’s Dream Land.
Sure, I had an NES too, but that was hooked up in the living room where I had all the distractions of a busy household and sometimes needed to fight over who got to use the TV. With the Game Boy, I could play my games wherever I wanted, which for me typically meant holing up in my room for hours on end. Of course, it also traveled with me wherever I went. It was perfect for passing the time on the bus ride to school, keeping me entertained at family gatherings (had to turn the sound off or risk getting yelled at), or getting together with friends to go head-to-head at Tetris by connecting our Game Boys with the link cable.
By today’s standards of handheld gaming the Game Boy was very simple, but its simplicity was part of its charm. Plus, that’s all we had. It had four buttons (A, B, Select and Start) plus a directional pad. That was it. The display was four colors, and by colors I mean four different shades of grey. We’ve come a long way since then, and this simplistic design led to the Game Boy Color, the Game Boy Advance, eventually evolving into the Nintendo DS, Nintendo 2DS and the Nintendo 3DS that we have today.
Happy 25th Anniversary, Game Boy. Now I think it’s time to go dust off my Game Boy and play some more Kirby’s Dream Land.
Did you have a Nintendo Game Boy? What were your favorite games?