April marks the 25th anniversary of the Nintendo Game Boy’s official world debut. While certainly not the first handheld console ever manufactured, it was the first to make an impact on both culture and commerce.
When released in Japan on April 21st 1989, stores almost immediately sold out of the initial production stock of 300,000 units. Three months later in July, the American debut would sell an unheard of 40,000 units on the first day. Nintendo had difficulty keeping up with demand, and never imagined the console achieving such runaway success. Despite being technologically inferior to other available handhelds in every way, the Game Boy squashed competition and created a legacy that lasted nearly ten years.
The system was designed by Nintendo veteran Gunpei Yokoi to be cheap and durable. As such, it lacked the processing power and display capabilities of other systems such as the Atari Lynx and Sega Game Gear. The monochrome, non-backlit display had a low resolution and only 4 shades of nauseating green to convey the game’s graphics to players.
What it had instead was the Nintendo name, which to consumers was worth it’s weight in gold. A string of immensely successful Mario games, as well as countless other NES titles made the public hungry once a portable Nintendo console was announced. What no one expected, though, was an insatiable addiction that could be taken with you wherever you wanted… Continue Reading »