In honor of the 26th Birthday of the Game Boy System, we take a look at 25 facts about the game system that could fit in your pocket and would take the gaming world by storm in 1989. The Game Boy might be older then most of the people that originally played it, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a very special place in the memories of our childhood.
May 21 was Game Boy’s 26th Anniversary.
The original game boy did not have a backlight, forcing players to play in well-lit rooms. A little attachable light was later sold as a peripheral for newer versions of the Game Boy.
The Game Boy was the second handheld system released by Nintendo. The Game and Watch were released in 1980 and the Game Boy was released in 1989.
Titles that are in the system’s library of almost 700 games include CastleVania, Metroid 2, Mega Man, and the first ever Metal Gear Solid game on a Nintendo system, Ghost Babel. The Game Boy Library, including the Game Boy, Game Boy Pocket and Game Boy Advance, has a total of over 1,000 games.
The Game Boy has appeared in multiple episodes of The Simpson’s, including, “In Marge We Trust,” where the sea caption retrieves It and later tries to sell the iconic system. The Game Boy usually belonged to Bart Simpson, helping make the system just that much more cool!
The Game Boy has had several revisions to its original design over the years, including The Play It Loud Design, where colored casings were used, the Game Boy Pocket, which was smaller then the original and required less batteries and the Game Boy Light, which was exclusively sold in Japan. The light featured a backlight in the screen that allowed gamers to play in low light conditions.
The Game Boy sold almost 120 million copies before being discontinued in the year 2000. 189.55 million units to be exact. That’s more then Atari Lynx and Sega Genesis combined.
The Game Boy had six launch titles, including, Super Mario World, AlleyWay, Baseball, Tennis, Tetris and Yakuman. Super Mario World Tennis and AlleyWay were the only three titles to be released in The U.S, Japan and Europe. Yakuman was the only game sold exclusively in Japan.
GunPei Yokoi got the idea for The Game and Watch after watching a businessman play with his calculator on a trip. Yokoi later became the head of development Team 1, who was tasked with creating The Original Game Boy. Yokoi said his philosophy for the handhelds design was, “Lateral Thinking with Withered Technology”, Which meant using older technology in new and interesting ways. Atari made fun of this thinking in one of their ad campaigns by stating that “If you were color blind and had an IQ of less than 12, then you wouldn’t mind which portable you had.”
The original Game Boy could run for 30 hours on two AA batteries. This, and the fact that the system only used four shades of grey as screen color, made the handheld more convenient and easy to own then Sega Game Gear and Atari Lynx. This was mostly due to the Game Boy’s colorless screen and no backlight. So the next time your complaining that you couldn’t see the Game Boy screen in low level conditions, just be happy that it didn’t take a massive amount of batteries to play!
The Game Boy and The NES had the same button design. This is said to be so gamers would be able to instantly pick up the Game Boy and know how to play it. This also allowed Nintendo to get past the design phase a lot faster. Having never owned a NES myself, this rule didn’t apply to me.
The Game Boy was sold in Japan for around 12,500 yen and instantly sold out of all of its 300,000 initial units. The handheld was sold alongside a bizarre edition of Mario, which featured the plumber saving Princess Daisy from an alien named Tatanga. Nintendo should really bring this storyline back in some way, shape, or form to deviate from Mario’s usual storyline. You can only save the princess from Bowser so many times before it just gets monotonous!
35 million copies were sold of a bundle including the Game Boy and the addicting puzzle game Tetris in 1989.
Bandai Namco released a gaming peripheral called the Game Boy Pocket Sonar. The item allowed gamers to search for fish in the game using Sonar. The peripheral also included a fishing mini-game to go along with it. Could you imagine trying to fish with that thing?
The Game Boy came out with a special edition Pokémon design known as The Pikachu edition. The system came bundled with the Pokémon Yellow game, featuring Ash Ketchum’s first-ever pokemon, Pikachu. The Game Boy also featured a little Togapi for the battery display.
The Game Boy is said to have inspired the BMO gadget in Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time Series.
And now for this final top ten countdown…
10 The rarest design for the Game Boy was Tezuka Osamu Workshop
9 Almost half of Game Boy fans were female!
8 The original Game Boy was many times faster than the original Nintendo!
7 Pokemon was inspired by Game Boy, not the other way around
6 Game Boy was the first place that selfies were taken and helped to start the selfie craze
5 Country music singer Neil Young use his Game Boy to create his album art
4 There was a Nintendo adapter for 4-person multiplayer
3 Faceball 2000 had 16-player multiplayer mode
2 The Game Boy Advance sold over 99 million units
1 The Russians took the Game Boy to space!
What are your fondest memories of the Original Game Boy? Do you still own your childhood Gameboy even today? Will you pass it on to your children if you do? Let us know in the comments below.!