Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Nintendo Game Boy turns 25

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It’s been 25 years since Nintendo bulged our pockets with the Game Boy, the emblematic portable console designed by Gunpei Yokoi.

Four batteries and an infinity of cartridges were the sustenance on which it was nourished to make us have a good time on the bus, the subway, the car on the way to town and, why not say it, in the bathroom.

But the legendary Game Boy, with its characteristic square shape, two pink buttons, eight-directional pad, and greenish-hued screen, was much more than that. Much more. It was the symbol of a whole generation of young people, who saw in its adjusted price and its small dimensions the ideal opportunity to start in the world of video games or to go to the next level. After all, it was like having a portable NES, and if we hurry, almost even a Super Nintendo. Nintendo Game Boy turns 25But despite all the uses it has been put to over the years, Gunpei Yokoi envisioned GB as an entertainment device to be enjoyed anywhere, anytime. Before it was put on sale, the magazines of the time echoed the information that came from Japan, and everything pointed to a machine ready to revolutionize the market was being forged in the Nintendo offices. Julian Rignall, editor at C&VG was one of the first lucky ones to push its buttons and had no choice but to fall for it: it fits perfectly in your hand, has its own TV screen, and the games come in cartridges the size from a matchbox. Too good to be true? Indeed, too good and too true.Nintendo Game Boy turns 251990 was the year chosen to show his face in Europe, almost 18 months after his Japanese debut. Hence the catalog of the machine had half a dozen titles. But without a doubt there were two that stood out above the rest, and that everyone who had a Game Boy in his day has probably owned: Super Mario Land and Tetris. The former, produced by Yokoi himself, was one of the launch titles and became a worldwide hit, selling a total of 18 million copies. After all, it was a title of the most famous plumber in history that exuded quality and good work on all four sides. Of course, it does not get rid of having certain peculiarities, such as shooter-style phases in which Mario puts himself in the hands of a submarine or an airplane, or change the evil Bowser for an alien named Tatanga and Princess Peach for a certain Daisy (who has been gaining prominence in the saga over the years).

The case of Tetris is different, since most of the Game Boy that were sold did so in a pack that included the mythical Russian puzzle. This maneuver turned out to be one of Nintendo’s most profitable moves and remains the best ‘console + game’ pack in history: in the same box, a portable machine was combined with the definitive game for quick games, terribly addictive and easily accessible. for all audiences. Up to one million units sold in its first week on the market and the start of what was called “Tetris fever” are irrefutable proof that the company had just made history.Nintendo Game Boy turns 25But the Game Boy catalog is not limited to two games that made history: arcade adaptations, NES adaptations, and even the Super Nintendo itself found a place on the machine’s circuits, as well as completely original adventures that debuted on the portable and they were later ported to “big” consoles. Among the works most remembered by players we find: Metroid II: Return of Samus, the continuation of the adventure started by Samus Aran on the NES and prequel to the magnificent Super Metroid; Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, a sequel to the original title that, in addition to improving practically everything seen in its predecessor, marked the first appearance of Wario, Mario’s greedy rival.Nintendo Game Boy turns 25Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue revitalized the Game Boy and raised it once again to the podium of the best-selling consoles. These pocket monsters were the perfect attraction for children and not so children, with simple mechanics but at the same time very deep that boosted the collecting desire of each one to unsuspected limits. Nintendo Game Boy turns 25Nintendo tried to make the most of the success of the Game Boy, which is why over the years the machine had a large number of revisions that added new features or improved the design. The first was the Game Boy Pocket: it was released in 1996 and had smaller dimensions, a black and white screen and required only two batteries to work. It was followed by the Game Boy Color in 1998, which, as its name suggests, allowed us (finally!) to enjoy games in full color.Nintendo Game Boy turns 25Finally, we say goodbye by reminding you that you can visit the special The 20 Best Game Boy Games if you want to delve into the best works of the laptop. We harbor the hope that in the future Nintendo decides to make a new Game Boy model and who knows? Perhaps the recent announcement that the company is engaged in the development of a new portable device could mean that. 

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