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25 Years of GAME BOY
by Brian Davis on 04/21/14 03:42:00 pm   Expert Blogs   Featured Blogs

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The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


The GAME BOY was released 25 years ago today in Japan. There are a few fun articles out that go through the history of the GAME BOY, but in this space, I thought this would be a great opportunity to celebrate by sharing our GAME BOY origin stories. 

Happy 25th Anniversary, old friend.

"Lateral Thinking with Withered Technology", Gunpei Yokoi

Taking established, low-cost technology and using it in new, interesting ways was the main idea behind Gunpei Yokoi's goal for GAME BOY. The limitations on the hardware saved on battery life, but, more importantly, game developers couldn't lean on pushing graphics/sound, and were forced to focus on creating fun, interesting gameplay in order to sell copies. 

So when I received my GAME BOY for my birthday in 1990, this was instantly apparent with games like TETRIS and Super Mario Land. They were fun right away and could be replayed over and over. 

The hardware was bundled with a TETRIS cartridge, a Link Cable, and a pair of earbuds that I thought were the greatest. I ended up using them for years as my primary earbuds for my portable music device.

My Mom played TETRIS on my GAME BOY, just as much as I did. Because of this, it unofficially became the family GAME BOY. We bought two external, rechargable battery packs to accomodate the usage of this exciting portable fun machine. TETRIS marked the first time that my Mom and I were battling for play time for a video game. I believe she still has the high score in the house.

In my neighbourhood, parents made sure that my friends and I had different games so that we could trade. In addition to TETRIS, I had The Amazing Spider-Man and TMNT: Fall of the Foot Clan. These were the only GAME BOY games I had for many years (until GAME BOY COLOR was released), and I played them over and over.

I still have my three GAME BOY games in their cases!

Playing head-to-head TETRIS via the Link Cable was the first experience I had playing a networked video game. This experience brought friends close together to compete, similar to a board game or cards, but even more exciting. It was totally new!

The GAME BOY was released 25 years ago, eventually spawning new hardware iterations and popular game franchises. If you haven't played the early GAME BOY games or looking to revisit them, I highly recommend checking out the Virtual Console on Nintendo 3DS eShop, where you can purchase these classics.

Just remember, hold SELECT or START on your 3DS during the game's bootup to get the original resolution and GAME BOY facade (see above pics).

- Brian







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