25 things we forgot about Game Boy on its 25th anniversary

Twenty five years ago today, Nintendo released its first Game Boy in Japan. Later, the device came to the U.S., delighting teenagers and adults.

Here are 25 facts that will bring you back to 1989:

  • 1. Launched April 21, 1989 in Japan. (Game Boy was released only four years after the launch of Nintendo Entertainment System, introduced in 1985, eventually bringing hits like Mario and Zelda into homes for the first time.)

  • 2. Game & Watch, the predecessor to Game Boy, let you play Donkey Kong. (No interchangeable cartridges.)

  • 3. Game Boy was created by designer Gunpei Yokoi. ( The man largely credited with designing Game Boy died on October 4, 1997.)

  • 4. It's Game Boy. (Not Gameboy. Tubular.)

  • 5. Nintendo's press page indicates Game Boy's U.S. system release date was July 21, 1989.

  • 6. Game Boy's first screen had four colors of gray.

  • 7. Game Boy had 8-bit processor. (Compare that to Super Nintendo Entertainment System, which had 16-bit technology.)

  • 8. Game Boy was battery-operated: AA batteries. (These were the days before cell phone chargers.)

  • 9. Game Boy brought Tetris to the masses. (Originally bundled with the game Tetris, the handheld device popularized the block puzzle game, though Tetris was already available on PC before being released for Game Boy.)

  • 10. The price was sweet. (Just $89.99)

  • 11. At the time, there was competitor Atari Lynx. (About $179.99.)

  • 12. Game Boy: second most successful video game system ever released? (Nintendo says on its website that Game Boy is the "most successful video game system ever released, but Game Boy sold over 118 million units and Nintendo DS sold over 150 million units.)

  • 13. Game Boy was not just for boys. (Nintendo claimed that 46 percent of Game Boy users were female in 1995, a major leap from 29 percent on the Nintendo Entertainment System.)

  • 14. Game Boy Pocket introduced in 1996. (The Game Boy Pocket was released the same year as Nintendo 64. Game Boy Pocket, introduced Sept. 1996, was smaller than the original.)

  • 15. Spawned the Pokémon series. (Before it became a popular cartoon, toy and film brand, the Pokémon game series was originally released for the Game Boy around 1996.)

  • 16. Led to Game Boy Color (Game Boy Color was introduced on Nov. 18, 1998. It came in a choice of colors, including a transparent version.)

  • 17. Game Boy Advance (Game Boy Advance launched around June 2001 in North America and featured a larger screen and better graphics than previous versions of the Game Boy. The device sold tens of millions of units worldwide. In this photo is the device at a press preview at Makuhari Messe in suburban Tokyo, for the Nintendo trade show, August 4, 2000.)

  • 18. Game Boy Advance SP re-released in 2003. (After the release of the Nintendo GameCube in 2001, Nintendo re-released the Game Boy Advance with the Game Boy Advance SP in March 2003 with the same screen size but smaller and lighter. It was also folded into a clamshell "to become truly pocket portable," Nintendo says. It also featured a rechargeable battery and backlit screen.)

  • 19. Game Boy was precursor to Nintendo DS. (The Nintendo DS was introduced in 2004, with two screens, including a touch screen, a microphone and Wi-Fi capability.)

  • 20.Nintendo reached older audience by dropping the "boy" element in Nintendo DS, according to US Gamer.

  • 21. Game Boy Micro introduced 2005. (Game Boy Micro was introduced in Sept. 2005, followed by Game Boy Micro-Famicom in Dec. 2005 according to Nintendo. The smaller system could fit in the palm of your hand.)

  • 22. Game Boy printer launched in 1998. ("In 1998, Nintendo launched the Game Boy digital camera and a compatible thermal printer, allowing users to take low resolution photos of themselves before printing them out onto tiny pieces of paper –- pretty much inventing the selfie," The Guardian writes.)

  • 23. You can "play" Game Boy games on your iPhone or iPad. (The "best" Game Boy Advance emulator for iOS was released in February, according to CNET, but it's not a product endorsed by Nintendo.)

  • 24. Or you can download apps that simulate the nostalgic Game Boy experience with a similar mono-color experience, like a Video Games Quiz. Again, this is not a product created or licensed by Nintendo.

  • 25. "Game Boy" on Android ("My Boy!" is an app available created by a Game Boy fan in the Android Play Store that is free. It's described as a "super-fast emulator to run Game Boy Advance games on the broadest range of Android devices...")
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