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Developed by Gumpei Yokoi, head of Nintendo’s R&D1 division, the Game Boy beat off competition from the more technologically advanced, but flawed, Sega GameGear and Atari Lynx to dominate the handheld console market.

A combination of great games combined with a reasonable price has meant that the Game Boy has experienced unprecedented longevity. In 1996 – an incredible seven years after the original launch, Nintendo released the Game Boy Pocket, which offered an improved display and battery life squeezed into a smaller, metallic effect case. In 1997, a range of cheaper multicoloured Pockets were released in more traditional plastic cases.

Continuing the success of the Game Boy, Nintendo went on to release an enhanced colour version, as well as the 32-bit Game Boy Advance.

Extras

Nintendo released the Super Game Boy cartridge which allowed Game Boy carts to be used on the SNES. As a bonus, SNES users were able to select extra features such as colour washes.

A whole host of third-party add-ons have been released for the Game Boy, including magnifiers, backlights, cases and Datel’s popular Action Replay. Official Nintendo accessories include a four-way player link-up adaptor, given away with a F1 racing game and a rechargeable battery pack.

The Games

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People

Gunpei Yokoi (link to follow)

A short biography of the man who brought us the D-pad, portable gaming and a really rather natty robotic hand.

The Bitmap Brothers (link to follow)

The Bitmap Brothers released conversions of a number of their Amiga and Atari ST classics for the Game Boy.

Thanks

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Major events

April 1989
Game Boy launched in Japan

August 1989
Game Boy launched in the US (US$89.95), with carts sold at US$24.99 each

1989
Game Boy launched in the UK

1991
Game Boy voted ‘Toy of the Year’ in the UK

1996
The redesigned, metallic Game Boy Pocket launched

1997
Multicoloured Game Boy Pockets released

Emulators

Mac OS X

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iOS

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OUYA/Android

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Features

Game Boy

Custom 4.2MHz 8-bit Sharp Z80 processor
Graphics: 160×144, 4 shades of grey
Sound: 4 channel sound (stereo when used with headphones)
Screen: 2.6″ diagonal reflective LCD
Powered by four AA batteries

Game Boy Pocket

Same basic specs as the Game Boy
Smaller, lighter case
Much better quality display
Powered by two AAA batteries

Game Boy Light

Same basic specs as the Game Boy Pocket
Green backlight
Powered by two AA batteries
Released only in Japan