Game Boy

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A series of handheld battery powered portable video game consoles sold by Nintendo.

The hardware

  • Game Boy - the original 8 bit (1989). Based around a Z80 processor. Tiny black and white LCD screen which was not backlit. Plays games from ROM based media - cartridges, aka carts.
    • Super Game Boy - not a Game Boy portable, but a plugin cartridge for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, it was the first Game Boy to offer color games (although with a very limited palette). A few games for both Game Boy and Super Game Boy were bought out, but it has since been ignored. Favoured by software developers and testers as it meant they didn't have to stare at a tiny Game Boy screen all day.
    • Game Boy Pocket - smaller, neater unit.
    • Game Boy Light - only seen in Japan, same size as the Pocket, but has a backlit screen, not sure what the battery life is like can't be much though!
    • Game Boy Color - most recent update to the 8 bit range of Game Boy, the processor has doubled in speed, has twice as much memory and, naturally has a color screen
  • Game Boy Advance (2001) - 32 bit overhaul of the winning formula. Technically likened to the Super Nintendo and backed up with supperior ports of classics such as Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario Kart and F-Zero alongside new titles such as Kuru Kuru Kururin

The Game Boy series took Nintendo to another place altogether.

Most consoles come and go, their natural life span created by obsolescence as newer console machines are developed and released. The Game Boy, however, is quite unique. In 2001 it has been around for 12 years and in that time it has seen off many (often technically superior) rivals; most notably the SEGA Game Gear and the Atari Lynx. The current incarnation, the Game Boy Advance, will still play cartridges created for the Game Boy in 1989.

With machines selling by the millions (100 million and counting), a well documented system, and a typically short development cycle mean that there are thousands of games available.

The perfect Game Boy game? Tetris