Game Boy: Through the Years
The Game Boy is Nintendo’s second crack at the portable game console after the Game and Watch. Initially released in 1989, Game Boy has evolved from a bulky handheld device and evolved to a smaller and more compact version, which was eventually discontinued in 2008.
Since its inception, Game Boy have released seven different models in the Game Boy line and have been dubbed the best selling game system with over 200 million sold worldwide.
The first is the original Game Boy, which was released in 1989. The original Game Boy features a simple monochromatic 160 x 144 pixel resolution display. Moreover, this 8-bit handheld device was packaged with the Tetris game that shot both to popularity in the years that followed and is still remembered fondly by many today.
Back then, the Game Boy already has multi-player capability. The Game Boy has a port that allows multiple users to connect via its link cable. This allows for head-to-head competition among its users which can accommodate more than four players and can even support as many as sixteen users at one time. The link cable found another use as a way to communicate and network for games such as the Pokémon series.
It was nearly seven years before Nintendo came out with another model. 1996 marked the release of Game Boy Pocket, which is meant to be a smaller and lighter version of the original. The then-new handheld device requires only two double AA batteries to run as long as ten hours as opposed to the original’s four double AA batteries that ran for 15 hours.
The Game Boy Pocket also evolved from monochromatic to a black and white display but the screen size remained the same at 2.60-inch. The first version of the Game Boy Pocket did not include any battery indicator but was remedied on the second version due to insistent public demand. However, Game Boy Pocket still lacks backlight to allow for nighttime entertainment. Moreover, the link cable for the Game Boy Pocket is also relatively small compared to the original hence, requires an adaptor to link to the original model.
Shortly, the world saw the limited release of Game Boy Light in Japan in 1998. It is noticed to be slightly bigger than the Game Boy Pocket but the key selling point of this is its electroluminescent backlight for poor lighting conditions. This also utilized two double AA batteries that can last for about 20 hours with the backlight off and a minimum of 12 hours with the backlight on. This was also the only handheld device manufactured, prior to the Nintendo DS in 2004 that utilized an integrated backlight system.
The same year, everyone saw the first Game Boy Color. The specifications on the Game Boy color like display resolution was pretty constant with its predecessors however, the console allows for a more optimal use of the battery with approximately 30 hours of usage per cycle.
The new millennium saw a new revolution of the Game Boy with Game Boy Advance. From an 8-bit processor, Nintendo modernized the Game Boy Advance to a 32-bit handheld colored device. Nintendo also altered its horizontal design layout to a more ergonomic vertical design. Moreover, it improved its display resolution to 240 x 160 pixel that allows for a more enriched gaming experience.
Two years after saw another upgrade with the Game Boy Advance SP. The Game Boy Advance was made lighter and compact with its flip top design however, resolution and color display was maintained constant. However, it deviated from its usual double AA battery power to a rechargeable lithium ion battery that would last about ten hours. This also served as an inspiration for the Nintendo DS design.
The Game Boy Micro ushered in the end of the Game Boy era. The final installment to the line was released in 2005 and resembled the original Game Boy Advance in terms of vertical design and somewhat echoes the look of the old player controller for the old NES. This device did not sell well in the market despite its sleek design and 32-bit processor with 240 x 160 display resolution.
Despite the sad note the Game Boy departed with, it can’t be refuted that Game Boy revolutionized the portable gaming console for humanity.