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Hardware Classics: Tezuka Osamu World Shop Game Boy Light

Posted by Damien McFerran

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.

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User Comments (31)

47drift

#3

47drift said:

What a nifty little article! Those close-ups you have of this Game Boy Light's buttons are phenomenal. Always wanted it, being a huge fan of Tezuka myself. I certainly hope you cover the Cardcaptor Sakura Game Boy Color!

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WiiLovePeace

#5

WiiLovePeace said:

Awesome, awesome article! We've been spoiled with all these exclusive interviews & now a new series of looks at rare consoles that we wouldn't have seen before. Thanks NL! :D

& I've never even seen a Gameboy Light with its backlight on :p Blue original gameboy games, looks awesome! & looks like a great collectible for fans of the artist.

For the next one I'd like some sort of look at a rare N64 edition, more rare than the pokemon one, if such a thing exists :p

DaveGX

#6

DaveGX said:

Boo, the US never got a GameBoy Light, only Pocket Although I must say gameBoy Color somewhat maks up for it in the sun if you face the screen so the suin hits it so its reflection off the pixels really brings out the colors.

retro_player_22

#8

retro_player_22 said:

It would be awesome if they made a Tezuka Osamu theme GBA SP bundle with the game Astro Boy: Omega Factor. I would definitely buy that.

DashDG

#10

DashDG said:

Im glad to say that I have this beautiful Gamboy Light in my collection. I pay around $450 USD for it and it was worth it!!! As for the Gamboy consoles I also have the Japanese Golden Gameboy Pocket, The Legend of Zelda Minish Cap GBA, The Pokemon Center Latias & Latios GBA and the Mario GB Micro... =)

mikeyman64

#22

mikeyman64 said:

I made (or rather, modded into existence) a GameBoy "Light." I know was not the first one to do it, but it is very cool and useful, even if it is just a GB Color with a DS backlight cut down to size.
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TruenoGT

#24

TruenoGT said:

Thanks for this great read! Also +1 for both the 64DD and Panasonic Q as future features!

ClassicJetterz

#25

ClassicJetterz said:

♪♫There you go, Astro Boy,
On your flight into space
Rocket high, through the sky
For adventures soon you will face!
Astro Boy bombs away,
On your mission today,
Here's the countdown,
And the blastoff,
Everything is go Astro Boy!
Astro Boy, as you fly,
Strange new worlds you will spy,
Atom celled, jet propelled,
Fighting monsters high in the sky!
Astro Boy, there you go,
Will you find friend or foe?
Cosmic Ranger, laugh at danger,
Everything is go Astro Boy!
Crowds will cheer you, you're a hero,
As you go, go, go Astro Boy!♪♫

I NEED THAT CONSOLE

Retro_on_theGo

#26

Retro_on_theGo said:

I never knew this kind of limited edition Gameboy Light existed. I'd definitely like to see a feature on that Gameboy color Card Captor Sakura edition. More limited editions like that no one has heard of would be cool.

LittleIrves

#27

LittleIrves said:

This just reminded me that I hope Kid Dracula comes out on 3DS VC some day...
But yes, more limited-edition hardware! How about the 1-year anniversary special edition Virtual Boy with matte blue casing and F-Zero pack-in? <<confers with assistant>> Wait, what??

Frapp

#29

Frapp said:

Good article and nice photos. There was another Tezuka Game Boy Light – a transparent blue one with Astro Boy on the front – that I thought was even nicer. Wish I had the money at the time to buy one, as they go for a lot these days.

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