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The most successful game system of all time



Game Boy Original B&W version and Box



Game Boy light and Box (Japan only)


Clear case Astroboy edition (Japan only)



Various GB Pocket color variations including clear

Limited Edition Famitsu Model-F GB Pocket, availible as a prize give away only


THE RANT: Who here doesn't have a Game Boy? This was not the first portable game system to have interchangeable carts (that distinction goes to the Epoch Game Pocket Computer) but it was by far the most successful. In fact, it is arguably the most successful game system of all time. The concept was simple, take the popular handheld LCD game format, slap a cheap dot matrix screen on it and you've got a game system you can play in the car. No one knew how incredibly popular and successful the machine would be. I remember when this thing came out (I was in sixth grade.)  I got one for Christmas that year and had fun with Tetris and Super Mario Land. I thought it was neat, but didn't think anything more about it.

Apparently other people out there were way more impressed with this machine than I ever was. This machine reinvented handheld gaming as something to be taken seriously by the wider gaming community. Up until the Gameboy handheld games were cheap single game LCD units that offered  a small distraction, not much more than kid's toys to everyone else. Now you could enjoy games with practically the same depth as the ones at home. This thing sold like wildfire, and it wasn't long before other companies like Sega and Atari entered the handheld gaming market with their own superior color consoles. But a funny thing happened; Despite being horribly overmatched in terms of hardware and processing power, the GameBoy thrived while it's competitors shrank away. This happened for several reasons, the first being price. A Game Boy debuted at $89 in 1989, and the price quickly dropped to $49 once competition showed up. Sega's and Atari's machines cost well over $100. The second was software, Gameboy benefited from cross licensing of popular NES titles like Castelvania, Gradius, Ninja Gaiden, etc. Sega and Atari had no name games. The third was Tetris. That game alone sold the GameBoy enough to make it a toy for yuppies and not just a kid's thing. Since then the game Boy has sold Millions of units and Billions of games, and may have kept Nintendo on the map while the N64 took a beating from the PS1 in the late 90's. Eventually by 1995 or so the Game Boy started to get a little old. Nintendo messed around with different color cases, repackaged the machine in a smaller case called the "Game Boy Pocket," made a (Japan only) backlit machine called the "Game Boy light" (which has become a very much sought after collector's item,) and finally got around to making a Gameboy with a color screen, called appropriately the "Game Boy Color." This actually pumped new life into the Gameboy, an 8-bit system, at a time when people were enjoying 32 and 64 bit systems at home. But by the late 1990's the GameBoy's appeal had finally started to wane. New systems from Bandai and SNK threatened to steal GameBoy's thunder. It was only through the mind numbing Pokemon franchise that Nintendo kept the Game Boy going. Nintendo laughed all the way to the bank as brainwashed little kids "had to catch them all." I do not like Pokemon. I think it is a spawn of Satan. I think if you were actually to catch them all it would bring about Biblical end time prophecy.

Finally Nintendo brought out an Update to GameBoy, called "Game Boy Advance." Finally, after 12 years, the console had morphed into what it should have been in the first place. This is one of the few game systems that I actually bought new. 

THE GOOD: Has like over 1000 games. Some of the old school games are pretty good. You can buy "flash linker" type hook-ups from various Hong Kong websites and download roms all over the place.

THE BAD: There are a hell of a lot of OG GameBoy titles that suck ass. For a little while there it seemed like nobody bothered pushing the envelope and made games of near 2600 quality. For every one good OG game you get, you'll find five crappy ones. Too many damn puzzle games.The screen is infamous for being a cheap, blurry piece of donkey crap.

THE UGLY: On Christmas day in 1989, as I was enjoying Super Mario Land on my brand new GameBoy that I'd just opened half an hour before, I began to notice a wet, sticky feeling on my hands. The batteries had ruptured, spilling battery acid all over my fingers. It fucked up the screen on my GameBoy and we had to exchange it the next day. That pissed me off. 

Game Boy Wierdness:

There are a bazillion third party accessories out there for the old school Game Boy, that fall under certain catagories:

Lights or magnifiers:

Devices that enhance the GB's pathetically small and blurry screen. A typical example below:

Sound Aplifiers:

Game Boy not loud enough for you? Slap on some extra speakers. Typical example below:

Cheat and Backup devices:

On the low end these machines let you enter cheat codes (ala Gamesahark,) other models let you "back up" game saves, which really means you can download ROMS and play'em on your GB, ala the Challenger below.

Link Cables:

Self explanatory, link two GBs together to play deathmatch Tetris or something.

The Game Boy Camera:

One of the coolest Ideas to come out of Nintendo, let you take pictures, make little movies, print stickers, etc. Worked only with a special thermal paper that came in blue, white, pink, and a faggy lavender color.




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Ultimate Console Databse Home





Game Boy






1000 +



8-bit Z80 work-alike at 4.194304MHz


8kB internal


8kB internal


4 channels each of which can be mapped either to the left or to the right or to both speakers


Reflective LCD 160x144 dots


4 shades of gray


40 sprites 8x8/8x16


Serial port. Up to 4 Gameboys can be connected together using these ports. Baud rate and protocol are unknown.


6 Volts, 0.7 Watts
4 AA Batteries - 35 hours

Rechargable battery (NAKI) - 12 hours