Game Boy

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Game Boy
Gameboy logo.svg
Game-Boy-FL.jpg
Developer Nintendo R&D1
Manufacturer Nintendo
Product family Game Boy line
Type Handheld game console
Generation Fourth generation
Release date
  • JP: April 21, 1989 [1]
  • NA: July 31, 1989 [2]
  • EU: September 28, 1990
Lifespan1989–2003
Introductory priceGame Boy:
¥10242.07/US$89.95 [3] /AU$124.26
DiscontinuedMarch 23, 2003 [4]
Units soldWorldwide: 118.69 million [4] (including Game Boy (Play it Loud!), Game Boy Pocket, Game Boy Light and Color units)
Media ROM cartridge ("Game Pak")
CPU Sharp LR35902 core @ 4.19 MHz
Display LCD 160x144 pixels, 47x43 mm [5]
Best-selling game Tetris , 30.26 million (pack-in/separately). [6]
Predecessor Game & Watch
Successor Game Boy Pocket (redesign)
Game Boy Light (redesign)
Game Boy Color (successor) [7]

The Game Boy [lower-alpha 1] is an 8-bit handheld game console which was developed and manufactured by Nintendo and first released on April 21, 1989, in North America on July 31, 1989, and in Europe on September 28, 1990. It is the first handheld console in the Game Boy line, created and published by Satoru Okada and Nintendo Research & Development 1. [8] This same team, led by Gunpei Yokoi at the time, is credited with designing the Game & Watch series as well as several popular games for the Nintendo Entertainment System. [9] Redesigned, but not entirely revamped, versions were released in 1996 and 1998 in the form of Game Boy Pocket and Game Boy Light (Japan only), respectively.

Handheld game console lightweight, portable electronic device used for gaming

A handheld game console, or simply handheld console, is a small, portable self-contained video game console with a built-in screen, game controls, and speakers. Handheld game consoles are smaller than home video game consoles and contain the console, screen, speakers, and controls in one unit, allowing people to carry them and play them at any time or place.

Nintendo Japanese video game company

Nintendo Co., Ltd. is a Japanese multinational consumer electronics and video game company headquartered in Kyoto. Nintendo is one of the world's largest video game companies by market capitalization, creating some of the best-known and top-selling video game franchises, such as Mario, The Legend of Zelda, and Pokémon.

Satoru Okada is the former general manager of Nintendo Research & Engineering, the division designing and developing Nintendo handheld game consoles. He is best known for creating the original Game Boy. He was also assistant producer and director of and contributor to several Nintendo games, notably Metroid, released for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1986.

Contents

The Game Boy is Nintendo's second handheld game console, combining features from both the Nintendo Entertainment System and the Game & Watch (the first Nintendo handheld). [9] It was sold either as a standalone unit, or bundled with the puzzle game Tetris .

<i>Tetris</i> (Game Boy) 1989 Game Boy version

Tetris is a puzzle video game for the Game Boy released in 1989. It is a portable version of Alexey Pajitnov's original Tetris and it was bundled in the North American and European releases of the Game Boy itself. It was the first game compatible with the Game Link Cable, a pack-in accessory that allowed two Game Boys to link together for multiplayer purposes. A colorized remake of the game was released on the Game Boy Color entitled Tetris DX. A Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console version of Tetris was released in December 2011 and lacks the multiplayer functionality. It was delisted from the Nintendo eShop after December 31, 2014.

During its early lifetime, the Game Boy mainly competed with Sega's Game Gear, Atari's Lynx, and NEC's TurboExpress. It outsold its rivals and became a significant success. [10] The Game Boy and its successor, the Game Boy Color, [7] have sold over 118 million units worldwide as of 2016. [4] Upon the Game Boy's release in the United States, its entire shipment of one million units was sold within a few weeks. [11] Production of the Game Boy and the Game Boy Color were discontinued in the early 2000s, being replaced by the Game Boy Advance, which was released in 2001. [12]

Sega Japanese video game developer and publisher and subsidiary of Sega Sammy Holdings

Sega Games Co., Ltd. is a Japanese multinational video game developer and publisher headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. The company, previously known as Sega Enterprises Ltd. and Sega Corporation, is a subsidiary of Sega Holdings Co., Ltd., which is part of Sega Sammy Holdings. Its international divisions, Sega of America and Sega of Europe, are headquartered in Irvine, California and London respectively.

Game Gear handheld game console

The Game Gear is an 8-bit fourth generation handheld game console released by Sega on October 6, 1990 in Japan, in April 1991 throughout North America and Europe, and during 1992 in Australia. The Game Gear primarily competed with Nintendo's Game Boy, the Atari Lynx, and NEC's TurboExpress. It shares much of its hardware with the Master System, and can play Master System games by the use of an adapter. Sega positioned the Game Gear, which had a full-color backlit screen with a landscape format, as a technologically superior handheld to the Game Boy.

Atari Corparate and brand name

Atari SA is a French corporate and brand name owned by several entities since its inception in 1972, currently by Atari Interactive, a subsidiary of the French publisher Atari, SA. The original Atari, Inc., founded in Sunnyvale, California in 1972 by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney, was a pioneer in arcade games, home video game consoles, and home computers. The company's products, such as Pong and the Atari 2600, helped define the electronic entertainment industry from the 1970s to the mid-1980s.

History

Development

The original internal codename for the Game Boy was "Dot Matrix Game", and these initials came to be featured on the final product's model number, "DMG-01". The internal reception of the device was initially very poor; the DMG even earned from Nintendo employees the derogatory nickname "DameGame", dame being the Japanese for "hopeless" or "lame" in that context. [13]

Launch titles

Launch TitleJapanNorth AmericaEurope
Super Mario Land YesYesYes
Alleyway YesYesYes
Baseball YesYesYes
Yakuman YesNo [14] No [14]
Tetris NoYesYes
Tennis NoYesNo

Hardware

The standard gray cartridge for the original Game Boy games, although other colors and shapes exist. Nintendo-Game-Boy-Cartridge.jpg
The standard gray cartridge for the original Game Boy games, although other colors and shapes exist.

The Game Boy has four operation buttons labeled "A", "B", "SELECT", and "START", as well as a directional pad. [15] There is a volume control dial on the right side of the device and a similar dial on the left side to adjust the contrast. [16] At the top of the Game Boy, a sliding on-off switch and the slot for the Game Boy cartridges are located. [17] The on-off switch includes a physical lockout to prevent users from either inserting or removing a cartridge while the unit is switched on. Nintendo recommends users leave a cartridge in the slot to prevent dust and dirt from entering the system. [18]

D-pad Thumb-operated video game control

A D-pad is a flat, usually thumb-operated four-way directional control with one button on each point, found on nearly all modern video game console gamepads, game controllers, on the remote control units of some television and DVD players, and smart phones. Like early video game joysticks, the vast majority of D-pads are digital; in other words, only the directions provided on the D-pad buttons can be used, with no intermediate values. However, combinations of two directions do provide diagonals and many modern D-pads can be used to provide eight-directional input if appropriate.

Contrast (vision) difference in luminance and/or color that makes an object distinguishable

Contrast is the difference in luminance or colour that makes an object distinguishable. In visual perception of the real world, contrast is determined by the difference in the color and brightness of the object and other objects within the same field of view. The human visual system is more sensitive to contrast than absolute luminance; we can perceive the world similarly regardless of the huge changes in illumination over the day or from place to place. The maximum contrast of an image is the contrast ratio or dynamic range.

In electrical engineering, a switch is an electrical component that can "make" or "break" an electrical circuit, interrupting the current or diverting it from one conductor to another. The mechanism of a switch removes or restores the conducting path in a circuit when it is operated. It may be operated manually, for example, a light switch or a keyboard button, may be operated by a moving object such as a door, or may be operated by some sensing element for pressure, temperature or flow. A switch will have one or more sets of contacts, which may operate simultaneously, sequentially, or alternately. Switches in high-powered circuits must operate rapidly to prevent destructive arcing, and may include special features to assist in rapidly interrupting a heavy current. Multiple forms of actuators are used for operation by hand or to sense position, level, temperature or flow. Special types are used, for example, for control of machinery, to reverse electric motors, or to sense liquid level. Many specialized forms exist. A common use is control of lighting, where multiple switches may be wired into one circuit to allow convenient control of light fixtures.

The Game Boy also contains optional input and/or output connectors. On the left side of the system is an external 3.5mm × 1.35mm DC power supply jack that allows users to use an external rechargeable battery pack or AC adapter (sold separately) instead of four AA batteries. [19] The Game Boy requires 6  V DC of at least 150  mA. [20] A 3.5 mm stereo headphone jack is located on the bottom side of the unit which allows users to listen to the audio with the bundled headphones or external speakers. [21]

Rechargeable battery type of electrical battery which can be charged, discharged into a load, and recharged many times; device that stores energy

A rechargeable battery, storage battery, secondary cell, or accumulator is a type of electrical battery which can be charged, discharged into a load, and recharged many times, as opposed to a disposable or primary battery, which is supplied fully charged and discarded after use. It is composed of one or more electrochemical cells. The term "accumulator" is used as it accumulates and stores energy through a reversible electrochemical reaction. Rechargeable batteries are produced in many different shapes and sizes, ranging from button cells to megawatt systems connected to stabilize an electrical distribution network. Several different combinations of electrode materials and electrolytes are used, including lead–acid, nickel–cadmium (NiCd), nickel–metal hydride (NiMH), lithium-ion (Li-ion), and lithium-ion polymer.

AC adapter

An AC adapter, AC/DC adapter, or AC/DC converter is a type of external power supply, often enclosed in a case similar to an AC plug. Other common names include plug pack, plug-in adapter, adapter block, domestic mains adapter, line power adapter, wall wart, power brick, and power adapter. Adapters for battery-powered equipment may be described as chargers or rechargers. AC adapters are used with electrical devices that require power but do not contain internal components to derive the required voltage and power from mains power. The internal circuitry of an external power supply is very similar to the design that would be used for a built-in or internal supply.

AA battery standardized type of battery

The AA battery also called a double A or Mignon battery is a standard size single cell cylindrical dry battery. The IEC 60086 system calls it size R6, and ANSIC18 calls it size 15. Historically, it is known as SP7 or HP7 in official documentation the United Kingdom, though it is colloquially known as a "double A battery".

The right-side of the device offers a port which allows a user to connect to another Game Boy system via a link cable, provided both users are playing the same game. [22] The port can also be used to connect a Game Boy Printer. The link cable was originally designed for players to play head-to-head two-player games such as in Tetris . However, game developer Satoshi Tajiri would later use the link cable technology as a method of communication and networking in the popular Pokémon video game series. [23]

Technical specifications

Revisions

Play It Loud!

Play It Loud! Transparent Game Boy, North American Edition Game Boy Play It Loud! Transparent American Edition.png
Play It Loud! Transparent Game Boy, North American Edition

On March 20, 1995, Nintendo released several Game Boy models with colored cases, advertising them in the "Play It Loud!" campaign [31] (Japanese name: Game Boy Bros. /ゲームボーイブロス Gēmu Bōi Burosu/ゲームボーイブラザース Gēmu Bōi Burazāsu). Specifications for this unit remain exactly the same as the original Game Boy, including the monochromatic screen. This new line of colored Game Boys would set a precedent for later Nintendo handhelds; every one of them since has been available in more than one color. Play It Loud! units were manufactured in red, green, black, yellow, white, blue, and clear (transparent) or sometimes called X-Ray in the UK. Most common are the yellow, red, clear and black, Green is fairly scarce but blue and white are the rarest. Blue was a Europe and Japan only release, White was a Japanese majority release with UK Toys R Us stores also getting it as an exclusive edition to them. The white remains the rarest of all the Play it Loud colors. A rare, limited edition Manchester United Game Boy is red, with the logos of the team emblazoned on it.[ citation needed ] It was released simultaneously with the Play it Loud! handhelds in the United Kingdom. The Play It Loud's screens also have a darker border than the normal Game Boy.

Game Boy Pocket

The 1st release Game Boy Pocket Game-Boy-Pocket-FL.jpg
The 1st release Game Boy Pocket

In July 21, 1996, Nintendo released the Game Boy Pocket: a smaller, lighter unit that required fewer batteries. It has space for two AAA batteries, which provide approximately 10 hours of gameplay. [32] The unit is also fitted with a 3 volt, 2.35mm x 0.75mm DC jack which can be used to power the system. The Pocket has a smaller link port, which requires an adapter to link with the older Game Boy. The port design is used on all subsequent Game Boy models, excluding the Game Boy Micro. The screen was changed to a true black-and-white display, rather than the "pea soup" monochromatic display of the original Game Boy. [33] Also, the Game Boy Pocket (GBP) has a larger screen than the Game Boy Color (GBC) that later superseded it. The GBP's screen has a 65 mm (2.56 in) diagonal, 48.5 mm (1.91 in) width, and 43.5 mm (1.71 in) height, compared to a 59 mm (2.32 in) diagonal for the GBC. Although like its predecessor, the Game Boy Pocket has no backlight to allow play in a darkened area, it did notably improve visibility and pixel response-time (mostly eliminating ghosting). [34] The first version did not have a power LED. This was soon added due to public demand, along with new Game Boy Pocket units of different colors (released on April 28, 1997), some of them new to the Game Boy line. There were several limited-edition Game Boy Pockets, including a gold-metal model exclusive to Japan. [35] The Game Boy Pocket was not a new software platform and played the same software as the original Game Boy model. [36]

Game Boy Light Game-Boy-Light-FL.jpg
Game Boy Light

A clear 'skeleton' Famitsu edition appeared in 1997, which had only 5,000 units released, and a clear yellow edition.[ citation needed ]

Game Boy Light

The Game Boy Light was released on April 14, 1998, only available in Japan. Like the Game Boy Pocket, the system was also priced at ¥6,800. The Game Boy Light is only slightly bigger than the Game Boy Pocket and features an electroluminescent backlight for low-light conditions. It uses 2 AA batteries, which gave it approximately 20 hours with the light off and 12 with it on. It was available in two standard colors, gold and silver. [37] It also received numerous special editions, including an Astro Boy edition with a clear case and a picture of Astro Boy on it, [38] an Osamu Tezuka World edition with a clear red case and a picture of his characters, [39] and a solid yellow Pokémon Center Tokyo version.

Reception

The original Game Boy lacked a backlight. Many third-party addons were created to improve the experience in low light conditions. Gameboylight accessory-addon.jpg
The original Game Boy lacked a backlight. Many third-party addons were created to improve the experience in low light conditions.

Though it was less technically advanced than the Lynx and other competitors, the Game Boy's excellent battery life and rugged hardware and the popularity of the bundled Tetris and other games made it much more successful. [40] In its first two weeks in Japan, from its release on April 21, 1989, the entire stock consisting of 300,000 units was sold; a few months later, the Game Boy's release in the United States on July 31, 1989, saw 40,000 units sold on its first day. [41] The Game Boy and Game Boy Color combined have sold 118.69 million units worldwide, with 32.47 million units in Japan, 44.06 million in the Americas, and 42.16 million in other regions. [4] By Japanese fiscal year 1997, before Game Boy Color's release in late-1998, the Game Boy alone had sold 64.42 million units worldwide. [4] [42] At a March 14, 1994 press conference in San Francisco, Nintendo vice president of marketing Peter Main answered queries about when Nintendo was coming out with a color handheld system by stating that sales of the Game Boy were strong enough that it had decided to hold off on developing a successor handheld for the near future. [43]

In 1995, Nintendo of America announced that 46% of Game Boy players were female, which was higher than the percentage of female players for both the Nintendo Entertainment System (29%) and Super Nintendo Entertainment System (14%). [44] In 2009, the Game Boy was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame, 20 years after its introduction. [45] As of June 6, 2011, Game Boy and Game Boy Color games are available on the Virtual Console service on the Nintendo 3DS's Nintendo eShop. [46]

See also

Notes

  1. ゲームボーイ(Japanese:Gēmubōi)

Related Research Articles

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The Game Boy line is a line of handheld game consoles developed, manufactured, and marketed by Nintendo, consisting of the Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance. The product line has sold 200 million units worldwide.

Game Boy Advance handheld video game console

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Game Boy Color video game console

The Game Boy Color (GBC) is a handheld game console manufactured by Nintendo, which was released on October 21, 1998 in Japan and was released in November of the same year in international markets. It is the successor of the Game Boy.

Virtual Boy table-top video game console developed by Nintendo

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Neo Geo Pocket handheld game console

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WonderSwan handheld video game console by Bandai

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Nintendo DS Nintendo handheld game console

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Game Link Cable

The Nintendo Game Link Cable is an accessory for the Game Boy line of handheld video game systems, allowing players to connect Game Boys of all types for multiplayer gaming. Depending on the games, a Game Link Cable can be used to link two games of the same title, like Tetris, or two compatible games like Pokémon Red and Blue. Games can be linked for head-to-head competition, cooperative play, trading items, unlocking hidden features, etc.

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