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|04-21-2014, 11:17 AM||#1|
Nintendo's trailblazing Game Boy marks 25th anniversary
Tokyo (AFP) - Nintendo's trailblazing Game Boy marks its 25th anniversary on Monday with the portable device's legacy living on in cutting-edge smartphone games and among legions of nostalgic fans.
The Japanese firm released its 8-bit Game Boy on April 21, 1989 -- the same year Soviet troops pulled out of Afghanistan, the Chinese army violently cracked down on protesters in Tiananmen Square and the Berlin Wall fell.
Billed as a "handy game machine", few knew it would turn the console-based industry on its head, starting a revolution that did for portable gaming what Sony's Walkman had done for mobile music.
It also helped turn Super Mario and Donkey Kong into global franchises, allowing users to change their favourite games on the go just by inserting small cartridges into the device.
Kyoto-based Nintendo, which started life as a games card maker that morphed into a global videogame giant, did not invent portable gaming.
But Game Boy's discount price and popular software blew away the competition at the time and pushed mobile gaming into the mainstream.
A boy plays Nintendo's portable video game 'DS' in front of display of game character Po …
"At one point, portable gaming was synonymous with the Game Boy," said Serkan Toto, a Tokyo-based games industry consultant
"It laid the foundation for what we call portable gaming today, regardless of whether it is console or smartphone games, because the basic concept is the same... That's the legacy of Game Boy."
Mobility was crucial, remembers one 21-year-old Japanese, if he wanted to escape his parents' wrath.
"With a standing console I needed to play in the living room where my parents were watching television -- they got angry at me for playing it all the time," the man, who did not wish to give his name, told AFP as he browsed inside Super Potato, a Tokyo store dedicated to retro gaming gadgets.
The device also allowed users to connect with another gamer through a link cable, setting off the beginnings of online gaming networks that now number in the millions of users.
A customer checks out videogame software for Nintendo's Game Boy, at a shop in Tokyo, on April 1 …
"It made gaming portable, but what's great was it was built on the concept of networking, enabling users to connect and battle each other," said Hirokazu Hamamura, managing director at games research firm and magazine publisher Kadokawa Corp. in Tokyo.
- 'It was a revolution' -
A quarter century later, the company's financial fortunes have suffered.
Nintendo has no commemorative events planned for the Game Boy, which ironically foreshadowed the creation of portable smartphone and tablet computer games that have offered up stiff competition to stationary consoles such as Nintendo's Wii, the Sony PlayStation and Microsoft's Xbox.
The Game Boy was discontinued years ago. But in its heyday, Nintendo sold almost 119 million original Game Boy consoles and shifted another 81.5 million units of the next-generation Game Boy Advance series, which was launched in 2001.
The original device's red buttons and cross-shaped directional pads may look clunky these days, but they evoke a sense of nostalgia for many fans, including Spaniard Jesus Mera, who was 12 years old when he began playing with his Game Boy Color.
"It was a revolution -- you could play video games anywhere," said the 26-year-old Madrid native during a visit to Tokyo.
Mera was delighted to spot the same type of Game Boy he used to play for hours on end in the gaming store in Tokyo's bustling Akihabara electronics district.
He acknowledged the small screen and games seem outdated, but "in the past what we had was enough".
"Nowadays we have so many possibilities," Mera said.
That isn't necessarily a good thing for people like 21-year-old student Lin Yuki who sometimes struggles with today's hyper-fast world of 3D offerings where movement is limitless -- and tricky to master.
"Recent games have become so complicated that you can be totally lost on what you're supposed to be doing," he said, admitting he sometimes feels "nostalgic" for simple games with black dots and horizontal scrolls
|The Following User Says Thank You to jfreakofkorn For This Useful Post:|
|04-21-2014, 11:58 AM||#2|
A wonderful memory article! Very well put together. I dedicate today to the original super mario land, which I will complete ... Today
|04-21-2014, 10:26 PM||#3|
Happy 25th! I can't believe the Gameboy is 4 years older than me. I figured it was older lol.
|04-22-2014, 01:26 AM||#4|
A Festive Philistine
Happy Birthday to one of the best handheld experiences ever
|04-22-2014, 08:06 AM||#5|
April 21, 2014 1:30 PM
Happy birthday, Game Boy!
Nintendo’s famous portable is 25 years old today.
The handheld would see numerous successors, peripherals, and notable games during its 15 years of dominance before the Nintendo DS would take over as the new brand for the Japanese gaming giant’s portable endeavors.
Below is a timeline that includes all of the Game Boy’s major milestones.
Note that with the exception of the Japanese launch, all of these dates correlate with U.S. releases.
Enjoy your nostalgic trip through handheld history, and check out our community prompt if you want to write about the Game Boy yourself!
Above: The original Game Boy.
Image Credit: Wikipedia
April 21, 1989: Nintendo releases the Game Boy in Japan
The original Game Boy was the brainchild of Nintendo’s Gunpei Yokoi, who had previously produced the innovative Metroid action-platformer for the Nintendo Entertainment System. The Game Boy was an 8-bit handheld console that supported interchangeable cartridges, although its screen could only display games in four colors of gray.
Super Mario Land, a 2D sidescroller similar to Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo Entertainment System, was the most notable launch game.
July 31, 1989: The Game Boy releases in the U.S. with Tetris
While the U.S. launch also got Super Mario Land, the puzzle game Tetris made the biggest impact. Nintendo bundled it with the system. With 35 million copies sold, it was the best-selling Game Boy game.
Aug. 1, 1992: Kirby’s Dream Land
While most of Nintendo’s notable franchises, like Mario and Zelda, established themselves on home consoles and later showed up on the Game Boy, the Kirby series debuted on the handheld. The next game in the long-lived series comes out May 2: Kirby Triple Deluxe for the Nintendo 3DS handheld.
Jun 28, 1994: The Super Game Boy
The Super Game Boy was a cartridge for the Super Nintendo home console that had a slot for Game Boy games — with it, you could play Game Boy titles on a TV. Certain games, like the Game Boy version of Donkey Kong, would receive color and other enhancements when you played it on the Super Game Boy.
Aug. 14, 1995: The Virtual Boy
The Virtual Boy was a handheld system that Yokoi also created. It simulated a 3D view of games but could only display them in black and red. Unlike the Game Boy, it was a massive flop.
Above: The Game Boy Pocket.
Image Credit: Nintendo Wikia
July 21, 1996: The Game Boy Pocket
The Game Boy Pocket was a slimmer version of the original Game Boy with the same hardware specs.
Oct. 4, 1997: Yokoi dies
A traffic accident kills the father of the Game Boy.
June 1, 1998: The Game Boy Camera and Game Boy Printer
The accessories enabled Game Boy owners to take and print pictures.
Sept. 28, 1998: Pokémon Red and Blue
Pokémon was a role-playing game that tasked players with capturing, training, and fighting 151 different pocket monsters. It launched a media franchise that included a popular card game and anime.
Today, it’s still one of Nintendo’s biggest properties, and at least one new generation of Pokémon games releases on every Nintendo handheld system. These games are always among the best-selling for their respective systems.
Above: The Game Boy Color.
Image Credit: Wikipedia
Nov. 18, 1998: The Game Boy Color
The Game Boy Color was the first true successor to the original Game Boy. As the name implies, it could support up to 56 colors.
The Game Boy Color was backward compatible, meaning it could also play original Game Boy games.
While the original Game Boy dominated the portable market for almost 10 years before getting a proper upgrade, Nintendo would replace the Game Boy Color in less than three years.
June 21, 2001: The Game Boy Advance
The Game Boy Advance was the follow-up to the Game Boy Color and featured graphics similar to the Super Nintendo.
Above: The Game Boy Advance.
Image Credit: Zelda Wikia
It was backward compatible with Game Boy and Game Boy Color games.
Sept. 17, 2002: The e-Reader
The e-Reader was a peripheral for the Game Boy Advance that could read data from cards. This data turned into additional content for Game Boy Advance games and full versions of original Nintendo Entertainment System games.
Above: The Game Boy Advance SP.
Image Credit: Wikipedia
March 23, 2003: The Game Boy Advance SP
The SP was a new model of the Game Boy Advance that featured a back-lit screen. It also introduced a clamshell-like design that most Nintendo handhelds have adopted since.
June 24, 2003: The Game Boy Player
The Game Boy Player was an add-on that attached to the bottom of the GameCube console. It could play Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance games.
Above: The Game Boy Micro.
Image Credit: Wikipedia
September 19, 2005: The Game Boy Micro
The Micro was a redesigned version of the Game Boy Advance that dropped a few features, notably backward compatibility with original Game Boy and Game Boy Color games, in order to be as small as possible. Released a year after the Nintendo DS, the successful portable system that replaced the Game Boy brand, this was the last iteration of the Game Boy Nintendo would release.
June 6, 2011: Game Boy games appear on the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console
Nintendo originally created the Virtual Console for the Wii so people could buy, download, and play classic Nintendo games. The Nintendo 3DS portable includes a version of the digital store that sells Game Boy and Game Boy Color games. Game Boy Advance games would also become available, but only for those who bought the Nintendo 3DS at launch.
April 3, 2014: Game Boy Advance games appear on the Wii U Virtual Console
Similar to the Nintendo 3DS service, the Wii U Virtual Console offers classic games. While the Wii U version had originally stuck to home consoles, Game Boy Advance titles eventually appeared on the digital store. Wii U Virtual Console games can display on a TV or on the system’s tablet controller.
|04-22-2014, 10:18 AM||#6|
I remember my GBA alright. Spent so much time playing Game & Watch Gallery 2, which I just bought off the 3DS eShop.
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