April 21st 1989: Game Boy released
On this day in 1989, the original Game Boy was released in Japan. It was later released in North America in August and in Europe in September 1990. The device was one of the first handheld gaming consoles, making it a groundbreaking invention that revolutionised the concept of videogames by allowing for them to be played on-the-go. The Game Boy was relatively cheap compared to rivals on the market (costing ¥12,500 at launch) and was a huge success, selling almost 120 million units. The designers of the console, the same team who gave us the Game & Watch series, ensured the device handled in a similar way to the familiar Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) with its eight-way D-pad controller and four buttons. Some of the most popular original Game Boy games included: Super Mario Land, which sold over 18 million copies; Tetris, which sold 35 million copies; and the first Pokémon games, released in 1996. Nintendo continues to produce handheld game consoles and the popularity of the Mario and Pokémon franchises endures. The most recent handheld was the Nintendo 3DS, which features touch screen control and 3D graphics; technology only dreamed of in 1989.
25 years ago today