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Game Boy Turns 30 Years Old


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#1 Tanooki OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 20, 2019 8:48 PM

On April 21st back in 1989 in Japan the Nintendo Game Boy was released, soon after the US/NA market got it on July 31st.  To think back that it has been that long since it was released onto the world making for most a whole new concept of handheld gaming that brought things farther than ever before yet somehow despite being out classed with more power, more colors, more audio, it snuffed out anything that got in its way.  The heritage continued with the color boost of the 8bit machine through the healthy run of the Game Boy Advance.

 

Happy Birthday Game Boy!

 

Have fun, discuss, share your memories.  Did you get in back in 1989 or much later?  Favorite games?  Favorite system or system color?  Have some unique system maybe a Game Boy Light from Japan?

 

For me Game Boy has been this one thing I've kept up with all these decades and still use and have not tired of it.  Through the good times and the bad, even the darker Nintendo years it kept things light and fun.



#2 DragonGrafx-16 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 20, 2019 10:10 PM

My original Game Boy (original gray brick) doesn't work but I have 2 working Pockets, GBC, GBAs, and GBA SP... I prefer my original purple GBA even without a lit screen because it feels better and has a headphone jack. Crazy that in a few years the GBA turns 20...



#3 digdugnate OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 21, 2019 3:39 AM

i think i was 13 when i got mine, so that would've been Christmas of '91 for me.  :)  sooo many hours spent playing Tetris, Mario Land, and Castlevania.

 

i thought it was a fantastic portable- and looking back, i wonder what the heck happened to my trusty gray Game Boy.  I've been through a ton of iterations (GB, Pocket GB Color, GBA, GBA SP, DS, 2DS, 3DS New XL) and I miss my first one.

 

My kids roll their eyes at me now because I tend to call every Nintendo portable a Game Boy, lol.



#4 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 21, 2019 5:24 AM

The screen was terrible, but Nintendo really nailed the controls. Nothing feels as right as their dpad and buttons. I like the BittBoy and other cheap clones but wish the build quality and materials were just a little bit nicer.

I saw a spammy "where's the Game Boy Classic" article on Gizmodo yesterday, and while the writing was just as tedious and self-indulgent as you'd expect, the author linked back to one of his listicles of monochrome games he'd include. They're all highly playable and and would indeed be nice to have as a legal, convenient, one-shot-purchase.

https://gizmodo.com/...0213.1521486177

#5 Tanooki OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 22, 2019 4:59 PM

Agreed the screen had problems obvious to even a kid as some games were overly hard to play due to the refresh blur. Some had to over emphasize bullets like mega man or gradius as youd miss them being shot at you. They did the right thing though as it was about a combo of cheap parts and strong battery time along with flexing their NES game carry overs on top of cheap pickup and play strategy to win and it always did. I welcomed the Pocket when it arrived as blur was ranked down hard and the sharpness was insanely good compared.

Ive always upgraded when the GB family did so right through the end with the GBA Micro. I ignored color and style variants as I wasnt a chump. But when they did tweak things it was for the better.

These days I have all primary variations the last being a pristine GB Light in gold and Ill use it. It has a nice glow and the clean image of the pocket.


I got in on its earliest days for Christmas 1989 it was a gift. I did ruin my parents fun a bit. I snatched up what would be Super Mario Land on accident first and then it was a scramble for the system. Ever since as they came out Ive bought each model myself. I even back in 2001 imported the GBA along with 2 games and a 3rd shortly after in April and it hit the US in June. I took it to E3 that year and the train ride up and back it got attention. All I cared about was taking down Mario F-Zero and Chu Chu Rocket. It stunned me almost a dozen GBA games were sold before the hardware at retail too in the US. I ended up regularly returning to the store to buy what I wanted with GBA in hand. Drove the employees and some future owners nuts. >:]

#6 atari2600land OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 22, 2019 6:35 PM

I was late to it. My parents spent tons of money on the Super Nintendo they got me. Looking back, they did spend tons of money on it. But anyway, I think I must have got one eventually, at about '94 or so. I don't remember. But now I have over 100 games for it. And I only try to get games I'd like to play for it. So they have lots of extremely good games and yet not much shovelware, which is something I can't say about DS...



#7 NE146 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 22, 2019 7:16 PM

I flew from Guam to the Bay Area for my sophomore year of college in the fall of 1989, picked up a copy of EGM and was surprised by all the rapid developments that had occurred with the TG16/Genesis & Gameboy coming out. So of course I picked up a Gameboy then with my menial college funds. :lol:  The only games I had were Tetris and Super Mario Land and took a pass on the other stuff.

 

Funny thing is later my buddy's girlfriend borrowed and LOST my launch Gameboy. I forget exactly when but it was when it was still new and novel. Thankfully she was from a rich family so she went and bought me another shortly afterward. :P Still was a pisser though. 



#8 0078265317 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 22, 2019 9:00 PM

I wad 13 aldso.

#9 Eltigro OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 23, 2019 6:21 AM

I was also late to it... and was close to 20 years old when I got mine in the mid to late 90s.  Mine was one of the clear cased Play It Loud systems.  Someone had brought it back to the Target I worked at because it wasn't in color.  I'm not sure if they thought it was supposed to be in color or if it was the GameBoy Color or what.  Not sure when exactly it was that I got it, but I feel like it was probably before the GBC came out.  Anyway, the service desk marked it down as a returned electronics item, so I got it with the mark down and my employee discount.  It came in the clear plastic case with Tetris, of course.  I later got Link's Awakening and The Castlevania Adventure, but I never really got that many games for it.  I was fully into my Playstation back then and most of my gaming budget went towards that.  I lost it sometime later.  Lost the case, the system, and Link's Awakening (still have Castlevania).  No idea what happened to it.

 

I have a GameBoy Pocket now, and a couple GameBoy Advances.  I still had the box, manual, and inserts for Link's Awakening until about two years ago when I sold them.  I should have just gotten another loose copy of the game and had a complete copy, but oh well.  I got about $40 for it.

 

IMG_3319.JPG


Edited by Eltigro, Tue Apr 23, 2019 6:22 AM.


#10 Silverfleet OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 23, 2019 6:38 AM

Oh man, I feel so old now. 

 

I remember playing the Game Boy for the first time at a friend's house. He had just gotten it, and only had Tetris. I remember my dad came to pick me up and I didn't want to leave because I was "Tetrisized". :lol: 

 

I got my own Game Boy pretty early. I think I got mine in 1990 around my birthday in January. For a while, I only had Tetris, and that was perfectly fine. Right after picking it up, I remember bringing it to a birthday party for one of my cousins, and my hotshot lawyer uncle was there. He asked if he could give Tetris a try. On his "first try" he got about 150 lines! Turns out he had one too, which he brought with him on planes when he traveled. Other than one time catching my dad play Rad Racer on my NES in the middle of the night (that's another story altogether), this was probably the first time I saw an adult play a video game. I knew that this thing was different; it had universal appeal for all ages.

 

I still have my original Game Boy. I actually repaired the screen last year, and it still works perfectly.

 

nuVkHLPl.jpg

 

And yes, I still use that sweet fanny pack to store my games! It came in a bundle from Boston area electronics retailer Lechmere along with F1 Race, Super RC Pro Am, and the link unit that allowed for multiplayer games.



#11 mr_me OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:38 AM

Tetris had universal appeal. It was a great pack-in.

#12 Pixelboy OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:55 AM

I recall playing Tetris against my best friend in college, via the link cable. I also bought the bulky AC adaptor because I didn't want to buy pack after pack of AA batteries. It took so long to get more games beyond the first few (Alleyway, Super Mario Land, etc.) that when SolarStriker came out I rushed to buy it... and found that it was a pretty generic shooter. But fun to play nonetheless. :)

It was only when such games as Batman, Operation C, Mega Man and Gargoyle's Quest came out that I really started to dig into the Game Boy library.

#13 Silverfleet OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 23, 2019 8:33 AM

Found a better picture of my Game Boy with all my original Game Boy games!

kW2ewLll.jpg

 

There are a few gems in there, namely Samurai Showdown and Castlevania Legends. Two of my childhood games, Metroid II and Operation C, were lost years ago and I miss them dearly. My favorite, however, is Link's Awakening. That game is incredible! Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters is an underrated gem and probably the best game in the series.



#14 Jin OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:07 AM

I'll always remember the Christmas of '89, because that was when I got the very first video game system that I could call my own; and it happened to be a Game Boy.

I've loved all of Nintendo's portables ever since and owned at least one of each over the years (3 or 4 in most cases) but these days I've slimmed down my handheld selection to just an original gray brick Game Boy outfitted with an olive green backlight for nostalgia doses, an original Game Boy Advance in Indigo color (which will be getting an AGS-101 screen installed in it this week) with an EverDrive GBA X5 for my all-purpose retro gaming portable, and a Nintendo Switch with some pretty Mario Odyssey Red colored joy-cons for my modern gaming needs.

Collecting lots of handhelds was fun, but I always felt guilty about most of them just sitting around collecting dust so I'm happy to have narrowed down the selection to just three that I actually use on a regular basis. I did make sure to break out the original Game Boy on Sunday to play some Solar Striker and Ms. Pac-Man in honor of the system's 30th anniversary. :)

Edited by Jin, Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:09 AM.


#15 godslabrat OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 23, 2019 3:03 PM

Gameboy is currently the system that gets the most collecting love from me, but I'm limited by my stock GBA. While I used to think the screen was "not that bad", I'm needing more now. Really want to get a modded unit, but don't want to spend the money on eBay and don't trust myself to do the mod.

#16 cvga OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 23, 2019 4:29 PM


My kids roll their eyes at me now because I tend to call every Nintendo portable a Game Boy, lol.

 

I do that too!



#17 Tanooki OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Apr 24, 2019 6:33 PM

Loving these stories thanks.

 

And yeah Tetris was a great pack in, I'd argue the best pack in of all time.  There hasn't been a better game attached to a system as a freebie since.  Simple design, nasty to master, if you can, yet it never throws it in your face with some lame taunts or rude garbage, let alone any gems to buy a continue patheticism of now on phones either.  The game made puzzle games a thing people craved, and it made the GB what is it.  Truly the best system seller like ever.

 

Looking back at that comment about how it was kind of thin at that first year and then things happened, so true, and the jump in quality was almost jarring.  One of the earlier games to release on the system was Gargoyle's Quest, and against its other peers at the time it felt almost night and day.  You come from some short SMB looking Mario Land, or the overly basic line up of first party games, or the weirdly done puzzles and shaky action or platformers a few spit out, and then that.  The audio was beyond expectation and only topped by the level of detail Firebrand, enemies, and the terrain had in that one.  The game was (is) hard as nails as it goes along, and yet it for that, audio, visuals, depth, and length set a huge bar of what was to come.  Konami was no slouch, Gradius/Nemesis showed that, and while crude to a point even Castlevania Adventure stood out pretty nicely too, just not as nice as Capcom's effort.

 

I'm kind of tempted to come back with a double post, it's been awhile, and it couldn't hurt for me to lay out all the stuff I have by system and snap some pics as I've got plenty when it comes to the GB family.



#18 pacman000 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 25, 2019 3:37 PM

Wonderful. I've always loved the Game Boy & find it sadly under rated today. It was my introduction to NES-style games. While the Atari was fun, I had to get my parents to hook it up; it was a mystical machine, wonderful, but remote. The Game oy was an everyday friend; it would travel with me; I could play in the car or while everyone else was watching TV.  Happy Birthday Game Boy.



#19 newtmonkey OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 25, 2019 7:40 PM

Happy birthday GB!  Game Boy is really a very unique handheld in that it was the first (and only imo) to provide a quality of gameplay equal to that of the leading console of the time.  It's basically a black and white NES but with stereo sound.  Future handhelds tended to lag a generation behind.

 

I still play GB to this day, and there are so many options to further improve the experience of playing these games.  My absolute favorite way to play GB is on a backlit bivert DMG-01 with prosound mod to eliminate the backlight buzz, with the Game Boy Light being my second fav.



#20 Tanooki OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 25, 2019 8:23 PM

I'd have to agree about the excellence of the Gameboy Light which is a shame it only came out 6mo before the Color and even then just in Japan as it's fantastic.  I wanted one since they popped up in the 90s and only last year finally did it, and an almost perfect one at that if not for the tiniest bit on the back.

Attached Thumbnails

  • gameboylight-silver1.jpeg
  • gameboylight-silver2.jpeg


#21 DragonGrafx-16 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 26, 2019 12:40 AM

I'd have to agree about the excellence of the Gameboy Light which is a shame it only came out 6mo before the Color and even then just in Japan as it's fantastic.  I wanted one since they popped up in the 90s and only last year finally did it, and an almost perfect one at that if not for the tiniest bit on the back.

If it was Japan only why did they bother getting FCC and Canadian approval? Did they originally had plans to bring it to NA but then the GBC happened? Though I just wish they had done the backlight with the GBC... such wasted technology until the GBA SP revision...



#22 godslabrat OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 26, 2019 5:53 AM

If it was Japan only why did they bother getting FCC and Canadian approval? Did they originally had plans to bring it to NA but then the GBC happened? Though I just wish they had done the backlight with the GBC... such wasted technology until the GBA SP revision...


I highly doubt Nintendo makes much of anything they can't ship to other regions, if they had a mind to. They probably have a workflow for new products, which includes matching all regulatory bodies, and that just gets done as a precaution. If the GBL was a smash hit in Japan and Nintendo could make bank on it, they wouldn't want the FCC holding up the works.

#23 Tanooki OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 26, 2019 7:16 PM

I would think it was intended but NOA(etc) passed on it knowing the GBC was less than a year out and the loss of $ into marketing a glowy gameboy didn't make a lot of sense.  Nintendo pretty much always plans global not local so the FCC is no surprise.

 

I guess maybe they could have released it here, but it would have competed against the GBC within less than a year and likely would have caused some form of outrage.  Downgrade and not get the latest GBC titles or color at all yet be able to play in light and dark, or get color, and need a worm light or a lamp.  That would not be a good argument for them to make to kids or adults who grew up on the original.



#24 CatPix OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 27, 2019 7:40 AM

It's likely that NOA saw and understood how Sega gamers in the US got pissed on when the 32X was released only to be discontinued 6 month later to leave room for the Saturn, and might have feared that Nintendo buyers would feel betrayd the same if Nintendo released the GB Light then the GBC right on.

Especially since the GBC isn't backlit, people would have feel double cheated : either to get a light GB or a color GB... but not both!



#25 godslabrat OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 27, 2019 9:49 PM

Also remember that, for the longest time, Nintendo's argument against a lit screen was that it just wasn't possible given battery constraints. Since not a lot of people outside Japan knew about the GBL, they got to use that line well into the 2000s. The point at which the excuse ceased to work is debatable.




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