Nintendo Gameboy: Looking Back On The 30 Year History

This year marks the 30th birthday of the Nintendo Gameboy. I would say it has the strongest history of any video game platform. What Google is to search, the Gameboy is to video games. Older grandparents/parents will tend to call the Nintendo Switch a Gameboy today. 


The original Gameboy was ahead of its time, to say the least. It brought Tetris as a selling point, a franchise that everyone can and enjoy and understand. From there, Nintendo was able to bring its other IPs on it (Pokemon, Kirby, and Zelda) and make a successful product. In fact, it was Pokemon that gave the Gameboy relevance in the late 90s and ’00s by selling a total of twenty million copies in the US and Japan. 

It was able to beat the competition because of the price as well. The Game Gear sold at $150, the Turbo express at 250 and the Lynx at 190. While the GB sold at 90 dollars.

Since the original GB, there were incremental updates. There was the Gameboy pocket, the Gameboy Light (only in Japan), the color, and the micro. Each one making you want to buy but not enough that it made the original obsolete. 

What I have always liked about the Gameboy is that you can have a good system without hardcore graphics. The Xbox and Playstation compete by improving their graphic and frame rate output their consoles can produce. Nintendo learned the value of decent hardware but great games with the Gameboy and has carried into the success of the Switch. 

Because of this, it seems the Gameboy brand is no longer relevant these days. In 2004, the GB was essentially killed off by the Nintendo DS. However its spirit lives on, the DS can play GB games.  The switch has seemed to kill all that remains of the Gameboy by taking over the portability while being a home console as well. 

What is your favorite thing about the GB? Leave a comment.

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Daniel Heredia
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