The Game Boy is an 8-bit handheld video game device developed and manufactured by Nintendo. It was released in Japan on April 21, 1989, in North America in August 1989, and in Europe on September 28, 1990. It is the first handheld console in the Game Boy line, and was created by Gunpei Yokoi and Nintendo Research & Development 1—the same staff who had designed the Game & Watch series as well as several popular games for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Redesigned versions were released in 1996 and 1998, in the form of Game Boy Pocket, and Game Boy Light (Japan only), respectively.
The Game Boy is Nintendo’s second handheld system following the Game & Watch series introduced in 1980, and it combined features from both the Nintendo Entertainment System and Game & Watch. It was originally bundled with the puzzle game Tetris.
As part of the fourth generation of gaming, the Game Boy competed with the Sega Game Gear, Atari Lynx, and the TurboExpress. Despite these other technologically superior handheld consoles, the Game Boy was a tremendous success. The Game Boy and its successor, the Game Boy Color, have both combined sold 118.69 million units worldwide. Upon its release in the United States, it sold its entire shipment of one million units within a few weeks
In 1996, Nintendo released the Game Boy Pocket: a smaller, lighter unit that requires fewer batteries. It has space for two AAA batteries, which provides approximately 10 hours of game play. 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. Also, the Game Boy Pocket (GBP) has a larger screen than the Game Boy Color (GBC) that later superseded it.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 (virtually eliminating video ghosting). T
he 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 colours (released on April 28, 1997), some of them new to the Game Boy line. There were several limited-edition Game Boy Pockets including a metallic Ice Blue unit and a pink model exclusive to Japan. The Game Boy Pocket was not a new software platform and played the same software as the original Game Boy model.