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Released in 1990,
the Nintendo Game Boy was one of the first portable consoles ever
and certainly one of the most successful. Created by visionary and
influential hardware designer Gunpei Yokoi, the Game Boy was able to
soar over Sega's portable rival, the Game Gear, by sacrificing a
color screen in exchange for a long battery life.
The very first Game Boy was roughly the size of a large paperback
book. At the time, it was rather bulk and heavy but also renowned
for its sturdiness. Able to withstand the wear and tear of an
average day out and about with a child, the Game Boy was also been
known to survive far more significant damage. Tales of a Game Boy
working after a fire, experiencing severe water damage, or falls
from great heights are common.
Among the launch games for the Game Boy were Tetris and Super Mario
Land. Although it had no association with Nintendo's popular mascot
character, Tetris became the game most associated with the Game Boy.
Selling over thirty million copies, Nintendo wouldn't see another
hit of its magnitude until nearly a decade later when Pokemon was
in 1996, Nintendo would release the first major redesign of the Game
Boy. The Game Boy Pocket was a slimmer and lighter version of the
classic Game Boy. Although there were no changes to the graphics, it
was redesigned to use less power. While the original Game Boy
required four batteries, the Game Boy Pocket was able to run on only
The first true upgrade to the Game Boy would come in the form of the
Game Boy Colour. Although it played all of the classic Game Boy
games, it was able to display up to 56 colours at once. Featuring
more memory and a faster processor, the GBC was technically a new
system. However, it was able to play all the old Game Boy games with
shaded palettes, making it a seamless transition. In terms of
technical power, it was essentially a portable NES with a smaller
The Game Boy Advance would bring the Game Boy line into the next
generation. Released in 2001, this featured graphics even better
than the Super Nintendo. With long battery life and full color
support, it was one of the most successful portables of its time.
Like the Gameboy Colour, the GBA featured full backwards
compatibility allowing all the older Game Boy titles to be played
alongside the new GBA cartridges.
Today, the Game Boy franchise has been put aside for the Nintendo
DS. The original DS models had special slots where Game Boy Advance
cartridges could be loaded. However, the newest DS revisions have
removed the GBA ports, hearkening an end to the Nintendo Game Boy.
However, any portable gaming device released will always bear the
legacy of the Game Boy's innovation.
Game Boy - probably the largest choice of
Game Boy in the UK!