Hardware Classics: Tezuka Osamu World Shop Game Boy Light

A gaming work of art

In the first of a new series of features, we'll be taking a look at some seriously beautiful and collectible gaming items - all of which are certain to get hardcore Nintendo fans seriously excited.

First up is the Limited Edition Tezuka Osamu World Shop Game Boy Light, a super-rare Japanese exclusive which is emblazoned with characters created by famous Japanese animator Osamu Tezuka - often referred to by fans as "The Godfather of Anime" and "The Japanese Walt Disney".

A bit of background information first, though. The Game Boy Light was released in Japan in 1998 and never made it to the west. Essentially a revised Game Boy with an electroluminescent backlight - allowing it to be played in low-light environments - the system's timing was curious to say the least, as Nintendo was about to release the Game Boy Color, the next step in its handheld lineage.

The Tezuka Osamu World Shop Game Boy Light was just one of many limited edition versions of the console. The machine is powered by two AA batteries (unlike the Game Boy Pocket, which uses smaller AAA power cells) and is capable of around 20 hours with the back-light off and 12 with it switched on.

Osamu Tezuka - who passed away in 1989 - created such seminal characters as Astro Boy, Jungle Emperor and Black Jack, and these same famous faces - along with a few of his other creations - are featured on the Tezuka Osamu World Shop Game Boy Light. The casing itself is fashioned from transparent red plastic, through which you can gaze upon the console's delicate innards. Because it's part of the Game Boy line, this console will play all monochrome software and a select few Game Boy Color titles which come with monochrome support.

Nintendo produced a separate Astro Boy edition of the Game Boy Light, as well as a Famitsu version and Pokémon Center Tokyo variant. Due to their small production runs and Japanese exclusivity, all of these machines are incredibly rare these days, and regularly fetch high prices when they become available on the second hand market.

Hopefully you've enjoyed this little glimpse into Nintendo's hardware history. We've got more "Hardware Classics" features in the pipeline, but please let us know if there are any consoles you'd especially like us to cover.