The Game Boy was released in Japan on the 21st of April 1989 as the first handheld game console of Nintendo’s Game Boy line. It wasn’t the first handheld at the time but shortly after its release became the most loved.
The designers of the Game Boy combined features from two of their existing items, the Nintendo Entertainment System and the Game & Watch, to come up with the 8-bit handheld game system. The screen was a green dot-matrix-screen that only allowed you to adjust the contrast.
The lack of needless features is one of the aspects that made the Game Boy so widely popular, that and the fact that everybody loved Tetris and Super Mario. With five control buttons, a two-tone grey colour scheme with black, blue and maroon accents and 2-voice speakers you could easily learn and start enjoying the games. Like the other competitors of the time cartridges were used to switch between games with some cartridges including multiple games.
Strangely enough, the Game Boy was technically inferior to their competitors (Game Gear, Lynx, TurboExpress) but because it was sturdy and the battery lasted for a long time it won over the masses. The Game Boy and its successor, the Game Boy Color, have sold approximately 118 million units worldwide despite being dubbed by the Nintendo employees that worked on it the DameGame – dame meaning ‘hopeless’ or ‘lame’.
The Game Boy was inducted into the ‘Toy Hall of Fame’ in 2009 after celebrating its 20th year since introduction.