This week marked an important anniversary; Nintendo’s original Game Boy turned 31. The monochrome system, or more accurately a yellowish and 4 shades of grey system, may have been one of the most significant devices in the 20th century.
The 8-bit system was released to the world on April 21st, 1989.
In 1989, George H. Bush was President of the United States. The Soviet Union was pulling out of Afghanistan, and we finally saw The Dark Knight the way he was supposed to be seen on the silver screen.
Don’t remember Gameboy changing the world? Understandably, lots of things were happening in 1989. Billy Joel didn’t start a fire, Madonna prayed, Michael J. fox finally went back to the future, Indiana had the last crusade (why, oh why didn’t he have the last crusade), Kirk and Spock asked the question we have all been wondering, What Does God Need with a Starship?
It’s easy to forget how Nintendo changed the world with all the things going on in 1989. It was billed as a “handy game machine,” and it gave birth to the idea of advanced pocket technology. Sure, there were portable gaming machines before the Gameboy.
Nintendo also had its fair share of competition. The Atari Lynx may have been a more advanced device for its time. However, it did not have Nintendo’s game library, Mario, or long-lasting gameplay powered by standard batteries.
Tetris is probably the poster child of casual gameplay. You could pick it up and play it without the need to invest time. If you did invest time, oh boy, were you for a treat. It was a dream come true for my obsessive-compulsive behavior.
The Nintendo Gameboy started the revolution of mobile computing. So, reach in your pocket, see your phone with all those games, remember that MP3 player you carried around, or read a book anywhere on your Kindle…. Just remember to thank Nintendo for their vision 31 years ago.