Nintendo Game Boy launch #history

Excerpt from The PC Pioneers

On this day in 1989 Nintendo launched its Game Boy handheld game.

Nintendo_Gameb_BoyGunpei Yokoi was its designer. He had been inspired on watching a bored businessman playing with an LCD calculator on a bullet train.

His original notion at Nintendo was Game & Watch a unit that played a game but also displayed a clock in the corner of the screen, with an alarm feature too.  Each unit played just a single game.  There were eventually 59 different units released across eleven years and over 43 million of these extremely simple devices were sold.

Yokoi went on to design Nintendo’s Game Boy, launched in April 1989, reaching the USA by July, Europe by late September.  It was launched at $89.99. It had just four buttons (A, B, Select, Start) and a directional pad.  There was a port that could link two Game Boys for head-to-head play initially with Pokémon and later as a networking port.

Part of Game Boy’s success was based on bundling Tetris with the game, which proved so compulsive.

Game Boy Color followed in October 1998 as a response to the Atari Lynx.  Game Boy and Game Boy Color sold a total of 119 million units.

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