With all of this talk about Nintendo 3DS and Sony NGP, isn’t it time we took a look back at the roots of portable gaming?
While the Game Boy wasn’t the first handheld game by a longshot, it was the first to receive wide acceptance in the mainstream populace. When it launched in the United States in the summer of 1989, it seemed like it was all anyone could talk about. True, it was still in black and white, had no backlighting for darkened room play and so on, but it was still the idea that you could walk around playing Nintendo games that captured everyone’s imagination.
Between the Game Boy and Game Boy Color, Nintendo sold over 118 million units, and this was in the spite of the fact that numerous companies tried to release competing handheld systems, but none of them caught on the way this system did.
It’s hard to say why the Game Boy caught on the way it did. Nintendo was the leading name in home game consoles at the time, so that definitely added to the sales, but to the tune of 118 million systems sold? Was it the fact the games were close to playing a full-fledged game? That it fit in your pocket? (kinda … the thing was monstrously thick) Could it be that it came with the “outrageous, new game, Tetris”? Who knows. What we do know is that the NGP and 3DS can only dream of selling as many units as this one did.
What say you? Did you ever own a Game Boy? What was your first handheld game system?