News Article

Original Gameboy turns 20 years old!

Posted by Renato Velarde

Where were you when you first got ruined by a girl in Tetris? holding a Gameboy back in 89, no doubt!

You already know this if you had your first kiss while playing a Gameboy, or perhaps you passed your first drivers ed test while playing a Gameboy, or fought your first battle with a Gameboy under your flak jacket. Twenty years ago this month the Nintendo Gameboy was released so if you’re reading this now you've probably it at one time or at least saw one in your grandfathers’ gun closet.

Back then anybody with about 110 bucks, or easy parents could pick one up along with the pack in game, Tetris, which may be the most solid proof available that it’s the games that make the system not the specs. Despite many technically superior alternatives over the years the Gameboy and Gameboy color went on to dominate the hand held market selling almost 120 million units worldwide until another finally challenged it’s stronghold in 2001… Gameboy Advance, then Gameboy SP, Gameboy Micro, Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi… you get the idea.

Nintendo has done pretty well with handhelds and this month the little guy celebrates 20 with the launch of it’s great , the DSi.

Isn’t it nice to think that this much later we’re getting great new hardware from the same people that brought us the most reliable original? Wouldn’t it be great if we could say the same for the automobile?

[via kotaku.com]

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User Comments (39)

Nanaki

#3

Nanaki said:

I loved my Gameboy as a child. Nigel Mansells F1 racing, Tetris, Mario Land 1& 2, James Pond – those were the days!

CorbsAdmin

#4

Corbs said:

That is crazy! I was just playing my old clunky Gameboy a little earlier today. I had forgotten how difficult it was to see. Maybe I'm just spoiled with the DS and PSP. :)

I got the Gameboy the day it came out here in the US not long after I had graduated from high school. Ahhh the memories.

Cryo

#5

Cryo said:

I bet Gameboy`s can survive nuclear bombs. 100 bucks on the table

DazzaAdmin

#6

Dazza said:

I remember sitting on the street curb back in 89 as a young kid with my best mate playing link-up Tetris. Great times. It just seemed like the greatest thing ever back then. I wonder if it's the same for young teens nowadays getting their first DSi... somehow I doubt it??

Terra

#7

Terra said:

Happy Birthday Gameboy. You gave us so many good memories, your legacy will live on for a long time.

@Dazza
You're right to doubt. It's not the greatest thing for us teens but it's easily not the worst. I personally love it, although, to be fair, I'm a bigger gamer than most of my friends are (As far as i know anyway. I have suspicions over some :D)

AVahne

#8

AVahne said:

Proof that Nintendo's systems and games are the most memorable and time-proof,i doubt any other company besides Sega can share that status with Nintendo

MickEiA

#10

MickEiA said:

im 14 but i remember playing gameboy colour well too young for this though

Kawaiipikachu

#11

Kawaiipikachu said:

I like how the orignal GameBoy can survive mins .
Proof of a high quality product .
But unfortunately i didn't have one back in 89 infact i was only 3 at the time .

GameAddict

#12

GameAddict said:

Ah yeah I remember having one of those, I salute you and wish you a Happy Birthday, Game Boy.

Terra

#13

Terra said:

I bought one of the original GB's a little while ago, just to see how it all began. I love it

StarDust4Ever

#14

StarDust4Ever said:

Dang, that is sheer awesomeness! I'm about 102% positive that the Wii or Dsi would not survive a blast like that :P actually come to think about it, the bomb blast produces an extreme wave of heat that instantly cooks everything in the vicinity; however the heat dissipate nearly as quickly as it appeared, leaving the outside charred whereas the inside will still be cold.

BTW, my first Game Boy system was the original clear purple Game Boy Color in November 1998 when I was a senior in high school.

Rexy

#15

Rexy said:

My first GameBoy (with Tetris!!) was obtained as a gift in Christmas 1995, and along with the Sega Genesis it was a serious start to growth as a gamer.
So yeah, I don't care if I chipped in late; happy 20 years of the GameBoy line :)

Objection

#18

Objection said:

While I haven't owned every single one, I have played every GB incarnation (save the Super GB if that counts) from original fat, to micro and DS. Go Nintendo for doing what every other company has failed to do: make a handheld line that lasted.

GamerZack7

#19

GamerZack7 said:

My first was a blue Game Boy Pocket bundled with a soft case and the original Super Mario Land, which was lost on a beach and quickly replaced with a Game Boy Color...

...darn it! I'm itching to play Super Mario Land 2 again!

Mike1

#20

Mike1 said:

Happy Birthday GameBoy. I've had mine since the late 80's, still works as well. I wouldn't mind a backstory about the GameBoy at the top of the page that survived the Cold War.

Popyman

#21

Popyman said:

Wow, being 16, I've never felt old before, but I sure do now! First time, weird feeling...

theblackdragonAdmin

#22

theblackdragon said:

Happy Birthday, Game Boy! I feel old now; i remember begging and begging my parents for one when I was little. I've still got it around someplace. I should scrounge up some AA's and fire up Tetris for old times' sake.

RGVEDA

#23

RGVEDA said:

Oh yes! The old Gameboy! Absolutely great :) Tetris for the first Time! Wow!!! Or Zelda Links Awakening. Or...or...or....absolutely great Handheld! Thanks Nintendo!!!

Bass_X0

#24

Bass_X0 said:

I have played every GB incarnation (save the Super GB if that counts)

It does. Its the only way to play SGB games in the way they were intended. Donkey Kong '94 looks a whole lot better being played on a Super Game Boy with the additional color than it does any other Game Boy. You should really make sure to play the Super Game Boy at some point. :)

Chunky_Droid

#25

Chunky_Droid said:

I still own my original Gameboy, still works perfectly, just like the Gulf War one! (Though with a hell of a lot less damage!)

Starwolf_UK

#26

Starwolf_UK said:

Donkey Kong '94 looks a whole lot better being played on a Super Game Boy with the additional color than it does any other Game Boy.
It also sounds better in a few places. Weirdly enough only a few games took advantage of the Super Game Boy. I recall Street Fighter 2 and Wairo Blast featuring Bomberman doing so but it was kind of pointless since 4-player Wario Blast needed a multitap and if you had one of those chances are you had Super Bomberman anyway :(

Ah Gameboy, how time has savaged your once youthful looks.

LinkGalaxy

#28

LinkGalaxy said:

I love the original Game Boy!
Though, I didn't own one(the original),I had a Game Gear(cool)!
..I got later the pocket,advance,DS,DS lite,DSi(wow 3Ds)! -

Outrunner

#29

Outrunner said:

I got one for Christmas too. I almost cried when I didn't win one on that Saturday show on BBC1. Parallel 9 or something it was called. I waited a whole week too. Lol.

Ren

#30

Ren said:

@Mike : the one pictured is on display at Nintendo World Store in New York City and has a display card that says:
GAME BOY DAMAGED IN GULF WAR
This GameBoy was damaged when barracks were bombed during the 1990-1991 Gulf War. It still works!
I don't think there's more accessible info than that. Also apologies, I think I left a typo in there, my fault. I like to keep things tidy and clean.

Ricardo91

#31

Ricardo91 said:

I can't believe that thing survived a war. Could I buy that one off ebay? lol

Cheers for the most successful handheld in history, and one that gave me many happy memories. <pops open bottle of champaign>

I never had the old chunky GB though. I always had a Gameboy Color.

thewiirocks

#32

thewiirocks said:

Anyone who's interested in the Gulf War GameBoy should visit the Nintendo Store in New York. They have the GameBoy on display there. And it's still running Tetris in attract mode!

Link79

#33

Link79 said:

I was 13 when I first got the the original Gameboy. It was a b-day present. I got Tetris and Mario land 2 six golden coins. I still have the games but since then I went through about three of them. I was pretty accident prone and was always breaking them. One ended up with a busted screen. Another was smashed in a window sill by someone's temper tantrum. I think one of them was stolen.
I was pretty rough with those things back then but now I've learned to take care of my stuff.
I actually knew a guy who was in Desert storm and before I got my own Gameboy he used to let me play his. Nintendo didn't need fancy graphics or even color in their handheld and it outlasted the competition. I still call my DS a Gameboy. It just sounds better to me.

SegaGamer93

#34

SegaGamer93 said:

Its great to see the gameboy turn 20 years old and i still own a gameboy aswell it was my older bros but he didnt want so i got it instead brings back a lot of memories long live the gameboy

Ender

#35

Ender said:

I still have my old Game Boy aka "The brick".
Has survived 7 ex-girlfriends Tetris addiction.

Made of win.

O /

timp29

#36

timp29 said:

Ahh I loved my gameboy. Like Rexy, mine was a christmas present, but a few years earlier. My problem was that my Dad loved my gameboy more and I used to have to wait for him to finish playing tetris before I could get a go.

JRAPOCALYPSE

#37

JRAPOCALYPSE said:

It is the games not the specs that make it! thats why the ds has no games that impress,90% of ds games are the same ol stuff i played on GB or NES 20 years ago,money not well spent on that handheld. My ds units collect alot of dust.

Victoria

#38

Victoria said:

I remember well how that puppy went through the batteries until I got a rechargable battery pack that was nearly the size of the Gameboy. But I took it with me everywhere. Such fun times.

NinjaTendo

#39

NinjaTendo said:

I am hoping that at this year's E3 Nintendo will either reveal a virtual console for the DSi (possible) or reveal a new GameBoy to fill the position of the company's "third pillar" (unlikely) which I don't think the DSi qualifies. I would love to see a return to a single-screen format (possibly touchscreen) with a high-resolution screen (like PSP or iPhone), an analog stick or disc or replace or accompany the d-pad, and of course backward compatibility with all GB games. Having the actual GB slot would be preferential since Nintendo and other developers are so flaky about releasing games on Virtual Console. Don't let the GameBoy name die, Nintendo!

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