The Nintendo Game Boy was the first truly portable video game console in the world. Decades before mobile phone games and even before the Nintendo Switch, the Game Boy laid the ground work necessary for you to be able to carry Super Mario around in your pocket!
I remember Christmas of 1989 fondly. I begged... BEGGED my parents to buy me a Game Boy for Christmas. I was a huge Nintendo nut (still am) and this was the pinnacle of tech back in the day. Imagine going anywhere with 4 AA batteries and a small brick in your pocket that keeps you entertained through the most boring of events that parent's drag their kids to. It was the iPhone of our day.
In fact, the Game Boy was so game-changing, that without it you wouldn't be playing anything even close to Fortnite on your phone. You wouldn't be matching candies or building fortresses.
The Game Boy was also responsible for bringing Tetris to the masses. Before the GB, Tetris was legitimately an underground Russian computer game that only the nerdiest of the nerds knew about. This portable game system changed that by packing a copy in the box with every purchase. Ah, remember the days when a console actually CAME WITH A GAME?! Those were the days...
The photo above is from the Nintendo World Store in New York City...it's the original packaging from the Japanese version, but you can see, the device itself was the same when released here in the U.S.
That thing was a BEAST...seriously, I don't think it was possible to destroy it. Take a look at this one:
That burned-to-a-crisp s'more of a Game Boy survived a bombing during the 1990-1991 Gulf War...and STILL WORKS. Seriously, if I *look* at my phone the wrong way, the screen cracks. They knew how to build 'em back then.
The original Game Boy was so popular, Nintendo followed it up with new revisions and designs for years after. They got smaller. They got sharper screens. They got COLOR screens (seriously, that was a HUGE improvement for us old people). They even got foldable decades before the RAZR phone would debut.
Pretty sure the Game Boy defined an entire generation of tech. Nintendo was so far ahead of its time, they were dictating the course that tech would follow.
The Nintendo 3DS was the last hand-held to be mass marketed by Nintendo, and still available in most places, but quickly becoming supplanted by the merging of the home console world and portability in the Nintendo Switch. Without the Game Boy, we'd never have gotten here. And even if we did, I don't think it would have been as fun.
Check out this video from Marques Brownlee about the history of the Game Boy and how today's gamers fall in love all over again with the pocketable genius system.
Photos: Jerry Houston