Adventures In Tech
Game Boy: Nintendo's unlikely masterpieceNintendo's iconic Game Boy stormed past its rivals, becoming one of gaming's most unlikely success stories. We look back in this nostalgia-packed feature.
-These days if your piece of tech isn't the fastest, the biggest, and the brightest gadgets in town, it's something to write it off as a failure. But this iconic gaming gadget proves that sometimes less really can be more. Here's why. The end of the 80s saw Nintendo, Sega, and Atari all competing for the handheld gaming crown. Of all these three titans, Nintendo's Console was the least powerful by far and yet the Game Boy blasted past its rivals to become a genuine gaming icon. The Game Boy was deviced by Nintendo's R&D 1 Division led by Gunpei Yokoi, a legendary figure who was the brains behind Nintendo's first handheld, the Game & Watch. It was a series of bold decisions from Yokoi's design team that made the Game Boy an unlikely success. The Game Boy didn't have the fanciest tech around, quite the opposite. Its processing power wasn't noteworthy. It only had a few buttons and its tiny monochrome screen could only handle four shades of gray, which sounds like some very lackluster erotic fiction. And then she kissed his hair or something, but he didn't like it. Compared to Sega's game gear and Atari's Lynx, which both have backlit color screens, the Game Boy looked retro even in 1990. But what seems like this Console's weaknesses, well actually its biggest strength. With the big, bright displays, the links and game gate each required 6 AA batteries, which they drained in just a few hours. The Game Boy by contrast lasted way longer and by deploying more modest tech, Nintendo was able to keep the price down. Less is more. That's the key to the Game Boy puzzle. And speaking of puzzles, if you really want to see what the system so popular, you just need to flip it around. Tetris was born in Russia, but the rights to distribute the game on Consoles were both by Dutch-born entrepreneur Henk Rogers. Rogers says he approached Nintendo about using the game telling them that if they bundled the Game Boy with Mario, it sell it to kids. But if they went with Tetris, that sell it to everyone. Indeed, while Sega was busy pushing Sonic, the board appeal of Tetris gave the Game Boy a flying stuff that left its rivals in the dust. Tetris got us all hooked on the famous type A music, which is actually a Russian folk tune and this is also the mental phenomena called Tetris syndrome, which cause hard core players to see falling shapes while drifting off to sleep or in the corner their eyes. -Luke, hey. -I just got at home with Kate from Finance and there's been-- I can't believe we hit [unk] with your expense report. Is it true you're actually commissioned to [unk]-- you for the office? -With a cunning design and a brilliant bundle of game, the Game Boy stormed the world, eventually getting a color makeover in 1998. In the U.S., Nintendo sold a million Game Boy's in just a few weeks, while a colorful sequel took combine sales to nearly 120 million units. These Consoles paved the way for the Game Boy Advance and SP as well as quirky accessories by the Game Boy camera and Game Boy printer. The Game Boy also subbed as a launch pad for the Pokemon franchise which is ballooned into movies, trading cards, and TV. The Game Boy line has died out now replaced by the even more popular Nintendo DS, but its cultural impact is still felt. This original model that was demolished in the Gulf War, but still functions became an internet sensation while today bands used old Game Boy's to create music. The Game Boy proved you need more than just cutting edge tech to capture hearts and minds, something we do well to remember in today's world of bigger and biggest screens and more powerful processes. One Nintendo made was an unlikely masterpiece and I love it so much so I could kiss it, but I won't because I don't know where this one has been for the last 24 years. Do you have fun memories of the Game Boy and can you think of any other gadgets that are proved to be unexpected winners, let me know and check that next time for another adventure in tech.