The first handheld of many longtime gamers in the Game Boy has now reached its third decade of life.
Believe it or not, Nintendo’s classic portable system, the Game Boy, just turned 30 years old today. Time really does fly, eh?
While it originally launched in April of 1989 in Japan, those of us here in North America first got our hands on the handheld on July 31, 1989. Those in Europe then finally saw the console head their way in September of ’89. Upon launch in North America, the Game Boy had five games that you could play: Super Mario Land, Tennis, Baseball, Alleyway, and perhaps the system’s most iconic game of all, Tetris.
On this day in 1989 the original #GameBoy system released in North America, placing exciting Nintendo games right into the palm of your hand! Here’s to 30 years of playing with PORTABLE POWER! pic.twitter.com/eOElkYTf7K
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) July 31, 2019
As the Game Boy went on, more iterations of the system were released over time. Nine years later, Nintendo released the Game Boy Color, a smaller version of the system that now showed games in color, much as the name signifies. Together, both the Game Boy and the Color combined to sell over 118 million units around the world, which makes it the third best-selling platform of all-time.
Personally, I didn’t grow up with the original Game Boy and I wasn’t really exposed to the system until the Game Boy Color came out alongside Pokemon Yellow. Still, I remember seeing the original model occasionally when I was younger and I was always baffled by how large and chunky it was. The Game Boy seemed to be nearly indestructible. No, seriously, one of them even survived a bombing in the Gulf War and still works.
From the days of the Game & Watch, to the Game Boy, and now to the Switch, it’s really interesting to look back on Nintendo’s history in the handheld space. One thing is for sure though: without the Game Boy, we probably never get anything that comes after. It’s arguably the most important portable platform ever made and is likely one of the more fondly remembered ones, as well.
Happy 30th, Game Boy.