Picture this: It’s 1989, and you’re still picking up pieces of your head from your brain exploding three years earlier when Nintendo released the NES. Not only could you now play video games in your own home, you could play games that had arcade level graphics. And you didn’t need a sock full of quarters to do it anymore, just constant and determined harassment towards your parents to buy something that made absolutely no sense to them.
And then all of a sudden, the Gameboy gets released, and you have the ability to play video games everywhere you go. Trips to your Grandparents house just turned into the video game binge you’d always dreamed of.
The Gameboy was bulky, it had a two-toned dot-matrix screen, required 4 AA batteries and it weighed like, seven pounds, but my goodness was it amazing.
It was designed by Satoru Okada, Gunpei Yokoi and Nintendo’s R&D department and saw its first release in Japan on April 21st, 1989. In its first two weeks it completely sold out of all 300,000 units that had been manufactured. Proof that people have always preferred looking at their screen instead of talking to a person.
The Gameboy was released in the United States on July 31st, 1989 and sold 40,000 units in its first day.
By 1997, 62.42 million Gameboys had been sold worldwide. It retailed for $89.99.
The product was so popular that in 1994 when asked if a new handheld device would be manufactured, the Nintendo President of marketing essentially said “Nah, this one’s good.” They didn’t even bother making anything new until late 1998, almost a decade after the original hit the shelves.
Nintendo released an astounding 1049 games for the Gameboy by the end of its run. Most of us were lucky to have Tetris and one extra game.
One of the major downfalls of the system was its poor performance in low light conditions. Add on accessories were sold to improve this so that you could game at all hours of the night.
Other accessories included the Game Genie, a portable printer and the Super GameBoy which allowed you to play your Gameboy games in your NES.
You’re looking at the wrong screen, son.
The Gameboy was an amazing addition to a gaming world that was still in its infancy. We thought we were living in the future. A future that couldn’t possibly get any cooler.
And then one day…