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Game Boy

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Game Boy
The grandfather of modern portable gaming.
Developer: Nintendo
Release Date: NA: July 31, 1989
EU: September 28, 1990
JP: April 21, 1989
Successor: Game Boy Color
Competitors: Game Gear
Atari Lynx
Generation: Fourth generation

The Game Boy is a handheld gaming console developed by Nintendo, and the first of the Game Boy line. It was released in 1989 for Japan and North America and 1990 for Europe. It is the best selling console of the fourth generation, best selling 8-bit console, best selling colorless console and the second best selling Nintendo console, only behind the DS.

Why It Plays With Power, Portable Power!

  1. The Game Boy revolutionized handheld gaming with interchangeable cartridges similar to a regular console.
  2. At the time, the games for the system were heavily praised for being as complex as a regular Nintendo Entertainment System game, despite the system's low-end specs. James Rolfe in his AVGN persona described the Game Boy as a "portable NES" because of this.
  3. Over 1,000 games for the system.
  4. No region locking, which makes it a perfect system for game collectors who import games.
  5. Simple button layout similar to an NES.
  6. Several different models including Game Boy Pocket and Game Boy Light.
  7. Many great titles such as The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, Tetris, Super Mario Land, and most notably Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue.
  8. Excellent battery life, lasting almost 10-12 hours, and that's a major factor over why the Game Boy outsold its competition.
  9. It was incredibly durable, as a Game Boy from the Gulf War still turned on after it was recovered from a bomb blast. Said Game Boy is on permanent display at Nintendo's flagship store in New York City.
  10. The system is ideal for gamers with small hands.
  11. It has a lot of neat/fun accessories:
    • The Link Cable, Which allowed 2 people to link up their Game Boys and compete in certain games or transfer Pokemon in Pokemon Red/Blue.
      • A 4-player variant also exists, thought you need 4 Game Boys and 4 copies of the same game.
    • The Game Boy Camera, Which allowed you to take pictures, and even print them out with the Game Boy Printer.
    • The Game Genie, which allows you to enter cheat codes like on the NES, and even has a compartment to hold the code book so you have no excuse to misplace it.
    • The Game Boy Work Boy, which allowed you to use your Game Boy as a work computer, as opposed to a laptop.
    • The Game Boy FM Radio, which allowed you to listen to the radio with your Game Boy.
    • The Rechargeable Battery Pack, which allowed you to simply recharge the batteries as opposed to having to keep buying new ones.
      • A solar charger also exists, which, instead of plugging it in, you leave it out in the sun for up to 8 hours, which is very eco-friendly as opposed to the regular charger.
    • The Pocket Sonar, which allows you to detect fish for up to 65 feet underwater.
    • The Barcode Boy, which allowed you to collect special trading cards and scan barcodes for special gaming content.
    • The Hudson-Soft Kiss Link, which allowed players to download special gaming content from Hudson's website.
    • The Booster.
    • The Nuby Light, which lights up the Game Boy's screen, simple as that. Only it takes 4 AA batteries.
      • Similar accessories include the Light Boy, which not only lights up the screen but also magnifies it, and the Light Magic, which is similar, but black in color and easier to put on.
  12. Fair launch price of 12,500 yen / $90 / 67 pounds, cheaper than it’s competitors
  13. It can play some GBC games such as Pokémon Gold and Silver.

Bad Qualities

  1. Game cartridges use a battery to save, and since these are over 20 years old a majority of them have lost their saves in addition to no longer being able to save on them due to the battery dying. This also applies to the follow-up Game Boy Color cartridges.
  2. The LCD screen is only black and white on a greenish background screen with no backlight. Plus, the LCD uses a passive matrix display, which causes ghosting in certain fast-paced games. This problem would be fixed on the Super Game Boy and Game Boy Color.
    • Speaking of which, the console's screen is prone decaying over time when exposed to the sun (with effects such as screen fading, blurring, dead pixels, etc.). Fortunately, aftermarket replacement screens are available for the system, though the replacement process can be difficult to do yourself.
  3. The vertical orientation of the system may be uncomfortable for some when playing for a long period of time.
  4. Plenty of shovelware and bootleg games made it to the system.
  5. Some third party accessories were either inconvenient or useless, Most notably the Handy Boy.


Within the first two weeks being sold in Japan, the entire stock of 300,000 units was sold. 40,000 units were sold in its first day being sold in the U.S. In 2009, the Game Boy was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame. Despite competing against handhelds with superior hardware and colored screens the Game Boy completely outsold them and is still considered superior to them, mainly because of the good battery life and library of games.


  • As stated on WIR #9, a burned down melted Game Boy was recovered from a war zone and it was found to still be fully functional, showing the system is extremely durable.
  • Astronauts took it into space, literally.
  • The Game Boy had a large line of accessories, most of them being about how to enhance and fix the Game Boy's features, like its battery life, speaker volume and non-back lit screen.
  • The Game Boy line lasted 14 years, starting with the Game Boy itself and finishing with the Game Boy Micro, before being replaced by the Nintendo DS.


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