For Americans, Nintendo’s Game Boy Turns 25 Years Old Today
July 31, 1989 might seem like an ordinary day. However, for the United States market, it was a literal game-changer.
It was on that day—25 years ago today, if you’re keeping high-score, that Nintendo brought the Game Boy stateside. The major breakthrough in handheld video-gaming, the 8-bit device was introduced three months prior in Nintendo’s native Japan. There were five American games that helped launch the console that famously ran on four AA batteries: Tetris, Super Mario Land, Alleyway, Baseball, and Tennis (the latter two were both actively in season at the professional level at launch-time).
Interestingly enough, the Game Boy followed 1980’s Game & Watch mobile console, which was made by many of the same creators (which remained in production through ’91). With an A and B button just like the standard Nintendo console, and the trademark “+” directional, the system caught like wildfire, prompting children and adults to stare at the dark green screens, and challenge the 8 kB of RAM. Game-Heads with friends could link in and play 2P games Head-2-Head, or go for the rocket-ships, or famed dancing clown sequence solo in Tetris.
The classic gray (and green-screen) console stayed strong for over six years. By 1995, Game Boy launched color (and clear) versions to match the Clear Pepsi also of the day), a smaller unit, and other variations with major improvements—including the fully redesigned Game Boy Advance. Sega and other competitors challenged the market, but no mobile games had the brand recognition of Nintendo’s handheld wunderkind.
Ambrosia For Heads salutes the Nintendo Game Boy on their silver anniversary!
What’s your favorite Game Boy game?