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ゲームボーイ Game Boy
The original Game Boy
|| April 21, 1989
| North America:
|| July 31, 1989
|| September 28, 1990
|| 1997 (Game Boy Pocket)
| South Korea:
|| November 1990
| Hong Kong:
The Game Boy (Japanese: ゲームボーイ Game Boy), Nintendo's flagship handheld console, was first released in 1989, and even today is the best selling handheld console of all time. Gunpei Yokoi is credited with playing a key role in its development and release. Like all handheld consoles until the Nintendo DSi, it is not region encoded.
The first Game Boy was released in 1989. It was large and gray, with a monochrome dot matrix screen and monaural sound from its built-in speaker, and supported stereo sound using headphones connected to its 3.5 millimeter headphone jack. It was playable for an average of 35 hours with four AA batteries. Many peripherals were released for it through its time, the more popular ones being the Game Boy Printer and Game Boy Camera. The Game Boy was also later released with five different colors.
Game Boy Pocket
- Main article: Game Boy Pocket
The Game Boy Pocket was released in 1996 as a replacement for the original Game Boy. The Game Boy Pocket had a smaller frame, a larger screen, and a higher resolution display. Despite its screen improvements, the Game Boy Pocket display was still in monochrome and the sound remained the same as it was in the original Game Boy. Another somewhat minor improvement was that the system took two AAA batteries instead of four AA, effectively helping to lighten its weight.
The Game Boy Pocket's Game Link Cable port is smaller than the original Game Boy's, requiring either an adapter or a special two-headed Game Link Cable to communicate. The Game Boy Pocket's Game Link Cable port would be later used on the Game Boy Light and Game Boy Color, and the Game Link Cable port on the Game Boy Advance and Game Boy Advanced SP is backward compatible with it when playing a Game Boy or Game Boy Color game.
Game Boy Light
- Main article: Game Boy Light
The Game Boy Light was a system released exclusively in Japan in 1997. It was similar to the Game Boy Pocket, but with the addition of an Indiglo (Electroluminescent) back-lit screen. The Game Boy Light uses two AA batteries, which provide approximately 20 hours of gameplay with the light off and 12 hours with the light on. It was the only back-lit Nintendo handheld console until the release of the Nintendo DS in 2004 (the Game Boy Advance SP utilizes a frontlight in its original model, not a backlight). The Game Boy Light was available in two standard colors: gold and silver. A yellow Pokémon Center Tokyo special edition was also released.
Game Boy Color
- Main article: Game Boy Color
Similar to the Game Boy Pocket but with a color screen, and is backwards-compatible with the original Game Boy. It is slightly larger than the Game Boy Pocket in size, and does not have a contrast knob due to being in color.
Game Boy Advance
- Main article: Game Boy Advance
This Game Boy features a trapezoidal design, and higher resolution, 32-bit graphics. The Game Boy Advance is backwards-compatible with Game Boy and Game Boy Color. Also features GameCube connectivity.
Game Boy Advance SP
- Main article: Game Boy Advance SP
It features a clamshell design and boasts the ability to be played in the dark without an external light source using its frontlight. It also has a lithium rechargeable battery as opposed to previous models' AA battery requirement.
Game Boy micro
- Main article: Game Boy micro
A second redesign of the Game Boy Advance which has been criticized due to its high original cost, lack of backwards compatibility with Game Boy and Game Boy Color games; and the fact that it was released after the Nintendo DS, but lacks many of its features.
The Pokémon game franchise is widely considered to be one of the driving forces behind Game Boy sales, especially in the late 1990s and early 21st century.
Game Boy Color Pokémon games
Although designed for the Game Boy Color, these Pokémon games can also be played on the Game Boy.
The Game Boy damaged in the Gulf War running Tetris
- At the Nintendo World store, there is a Game Boy on display that survived an explosion in the Gulf War. While the screen had to be replaced, the internal circuitry was still operational without any modification. It has a Tetris game pak inserted in it, and it displays the title screen of the game.