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back to article Happy 25th birthday, Game Boy!

On April 21st, 1989, Nintendo introduced a handheld system which would go on to become the best selling games system of the 20th century. The original Game Boy made its debut in Japan on that day, and for the next decade the chunky off-white handheld would become an essential accessory to a generation of gamers. Many of us who …

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Sorry looking Gameboy?

Have a sorry looking Gameboy? They are dead easy to refurb,

You can buy new plastic covers for the screens from Ebay. All you need is a special Nintendo tri-winged screwdriver, pull her apart, wash the case and clean the electronics with IPA and you'll have a Gameboy as good as new in no time.

Did it myself the other week. Bought a filthy unit that was very sorry for itself with buttons that barely worked. An hour later it was as good as new.

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Pint

Re: Sorry looking Gameboy?

Those without a background in lab work (and/or those with too much background in beer-drinking) should note that IPA in this context does NOT stand for India Pale Ale.

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My sister still has her's to play Tetris on!

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My nephew was playing Pokemon on his (newer, colour) one all weekend.

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And on, and on, and Ariston

The full version of the Ariston advert that used the music from the Gameboy version of Robocop

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUVs7vXNZiw

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Re: And on, and on, and Ariston

I seriously wonder how they made that. Was it just an elaborate coreography done in real time, or did they use some form of compositing.

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It was the battery life wot won it

The relatively low spec hardware had one massive advantage over the rivals (Game Gear / Lynx etc) which was the battery life. You could easily get several days of solid play out of a set of 4 AA batteries, and even as they started to die you could still play by judicious use of the contrast control.

I vividly remember the craze in these at school. One friend proudly brought in a Game Gear (I think he even had the fabled TV tuner attachment) but the thing was dead by lunchtime, whereas those with Gameboys could play all through lunchtime and still be playing on the way home!

The other big plus was the multiplayer mode, and a stroke of genius was making Tetris (which you wouldn't think of as a two player game) multiplayer, so everyone could try it. It was the first time I'd ever really experienced this and it was great fun.

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Re: It was the battery life wot won it

I prefer to think it was the games. What was good on the Lynx? Shadow of the Beast and probably Battlezone 2000. The Game Gear? If anything it suffered from being a Master System with a smaller screen — 80% of the games seemed to involve you needing to have premonitions about what was coming up because you were effectively playing a crop of the original.

... and that's without discussing whose mascot was the better fit for the pre-TFT LCD technology of the time. It certainly wasn't the one known for fast moving graphics.

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Re: It was the battery life wot won it

"The other big plus was the multiplayer mode, and a stroke of genius was making Tetris (which you wouldn't think of as a two player game) multiplayer"

I can still hear the sound a "tetris" made which signified that 4 lines were about to appear on your screen. Terrifying.

"ee-ee, eeyuur" being the best phonetic approximation I can make. Normally the game played with volume turned down, but turned up moments before just to taunt the opponent.

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Re: It was the battery life wot won it

What was good on the Lynx?

Todd's Adventures in Slime World (2D platformer, 2-8 player Co-Op or PvP)

Gates of Zendocon (side-scrolling shooter)

Zarlor Mercenaries (top-down shooter, 4-player Co-Op)

Chip's Challenge (2D Maze/Puzzler)

S.T.U.N. Runner (Arcade Port)

RoadBlasters (Arcade Port)

Xenophobe (Arcade Port, 2-4 player)

To name a few...

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Re: It was the battery life wot won it

You may like to think it was the games, but OP is right.

Battery life was a BIG deal. That's why when everyone wanted a colour gameboy, the first round they just made the case out of coloured plastic (ha ha), they knew they couldn't keep the power low enough with a colour screen, and they also knew there competitors would try to beat them on the other specs, sacrificing battery life.

Lo, for the days when Nintendo was freaking brilliant.

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Thanks...

..now I've got the Tetris music going round my head.

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Re: Thanks...

There are worse things to have stuck in your head!

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Battery Life

I had a Lynx 2. 6 Batteries (in the days when they were expensive) got you 5 hours tops. 4 hours if you had the original Lynx.

The Gameboy could do about 20 hours on 4 AA's.

The Gameboy Color used 2 AA's and had a battery life that seemed to go on forever.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Battery Life

This. My Sega Game Gear would only run for a few hours on brand new alkaline batteries. Rechargeable batteries at the time were advertised to be as good as alkalines but they were NiCad and could only supply enough voltage to run the Game Gear for about 15-20 minutes tops.

Before the Game Gear, I spent all my allowance money on a Game Boy but ended up returning it because of the latency of the LCD screen... it would get all washed out when playing a side-scroller. Super Mario was barely playable. I was disappointed. :(

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Re: latency of the LCD screen

This is a good point. I got hold of my sister-in-law's old GameBoy, a couple of years back, with the intent of giving it to the kids - ditched it sharpish when I found that playing Mario (or anything that involved moving scenery) just turned the screen into an indistinct blur.

Having read the comments on here, I'm starting to wonder if I could have done something to make it better, now. Ho hum.

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"Because we're poor and I hate you!"

Ashen's phrase is pretty much what my parents told me when I asked for a Game Boy, and they said no, and I asked why :(

I did eventually save up for a Game Boy Color, but as it turns out, I could only afford two games for it, and the second one I actually traded for another game :/ Guess they were right.

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"bordered on being addictive to play"

Dude, try Kirbys Pinball Land, and then try claiming it was 'bordering' on addictive.

I lost hours and hours and hours to that game. Like monochrome crack, I tells thee.

I can still whistle pretty much every tune in that game too.

Steven R

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Happy

Hand-held control

And of course, even today at work (semiconductor manufacturing equipment, appropriately enough) all of the hand-held teaching and control units for the tools are always referred to as gameboys...

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My 9 year old son has become obsessed with everything Nintendo. It started with me buying him a couple old Game Boys and took off, with him collecting games and systems. He can tell you the history of every model and its good and bad points. The first system I had bought him a few years ago was an original Game Boy. Unfortunately I had never been able to get it to work. It seemed to have a display problem that I found out was common. Well, a couple weeks ago he fished it out of the closet and somehow managed to get it working. It's almost like it came back to life for its birthday.

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Display problems can often be caused by poor screen connections. Take it apart, clean her up and when putting it back together make sure the LCD is tight against the top part of the case. Usually fixes it.

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these came out when I was working my first real job after high school graduation. sadly, minimum wage didn't cover rent and one of these. My stepsister already had one at six years old though. Being #1 son and not in an Asian family sucked LOL

By the time I was making enough to get one, the GB Color was out. And rumors of better systems.

First new handheld I bought was the original DS. then started the "if you wanna play the new game you need the new system" carousel. Which worked at first by me handing down everything after the DSLite to my girlfriend-now-wife until I got the nvidia shield....and her a new 3DSXL since all the new games she wanted would not work on the DSiXL :(

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Anonymous Coward

Still the best handheld

I remember working 2 paper rounds to save for my first gameboy. Tetris and Super Mario Land were played to death, then i moved on to some Batman and Tiny Toon Adventures. I still pull it out for a bit of nostalgia and some of the games still hold up better than the modern stuff. A time when gameplay was king more so than graphics. Such a fine system.

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I was working on porting Jet Set Willy to the GameBoy when mine went missing.

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Best Gameboy

Gameboy Pocket. Lasted for 10 hours on a couple of AAAs.

Or GBA SP. Rechargeable out-of-the-box, backwards compatible with every Gameboy title to date.

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