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Game Boy

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Game Boy

 

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An 8-bit handheld video game machine introduced by Nintendo in 1989, it followed the Game & Watch series introduced in 1980, and it combined features from both the Nintendo Entertainment System and Game & Watch.

It is a little gray battery-powered device completely portable, small and light. Unlike the Game and Watch, the Game Boy is a fully self-contained unit with changeable cartridges. With an ever-expanding library of game titles, like a portable arcade.

The Game Boy is 3.5" x 5.8" 1.3" or 90 mm x 148 mm x 32 mm (WxHxD), with a 4.19 MHz 8-bit Sharp microprocessor, 8 kB internal S-RAM, 8 kB Video RAM, a 2.6'' (66m) LCD 160 × 144 pixels screen.

In order to conserve battery power and keep costs down, the Game Boy was strictly a black-and-white (actually black-and-greenish), displaying its graphics on a small LCD screen. As a trade-off, however, the Game Boy came complete with a revolutionary new idea in home gaming: linked play. With an included linking cable, two Game Boys could be connected together to play the same game, with each player getting his or her own view of the action. With this one-on-one angle and added gameplay, the lack of color did not seem to bother gamers, outselling color competitors like Sega’s Game Gear and the Atari Lynx (the latter, supporting linked play too).

Perhaps the biggest reason for Game Boy’s success was in the games. The Game Boy was blessed with extraordinarily good timing in this regard. It also came with Tetris as its pack-in title, making both Game Boy and Tetris become video game superstars.

Tetris was clearly the first great game of Game Boy’s line, but it was just the beginning. Over the next decade, Game Boy became the best-selling game system of all time, and over 500 titles were produced for the portable dynamo.

Mario made his usual appearance in Super Mario Land and other titles, as did Link and the Zelda crew in Zelda: Link’s Adventure.

The linked play made for a series of highly competitive sports games like Tennis, Baseball and the later NBA Jam and NFL Quarterback Club series, while good old shoot-em-ups were represented by titles like Gradius. The Final Fantasy Legend series was one of the most successful RPG, and in the fighting genre Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat occupied the first place for Game Boy.

But the biggest boom of Game Boy came in 1998 when Pokémon egged on Game Boy gamers with the catchphrase, Gotta Catch ‘Em All, and as several new Pokémon cartridges were released (Red, Blue, Yellow, Silver, Gold and so on), Pokémon training became a sort of international sport of choice.

Game Boy remained virtually unchanged for most of its first nine years, but its list of accessories had a few standouts. A Super Game Boy add-on allowed Game Boy cartridges to be played in color on the Super NES, while a Game Boy Camera and Printer actually let users take snapshots and print them in pixilated black and white. A Game Boy Pocket shrank the size of the machine in the late 90s, but the real revolution arrived in time for the holiday season of 1998. Game Boy Color finally delivered full-color games to the classic system, even adding new color to old games.

With the long-awaited addition of color, the Game Boy entered its second decade. Featuring an entire library of new, exclusively Game Boy Color titles, as well as entering into the 32-bit world with 2001's Game Boy Advance.

The Game Boy and Game Boy Color combined have sold over 118 million units worldwide.

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