Happy 24th Birthday Game Boy (and Now I Feel Old)

By Scott Laczay on at

In celebrating the life and times of the Game Boy brand, we've put together a historical, at times emotional, look back at the Game Boy's evolution over its 16 years of development, from the original Game Boy to the Game Boy Micro.


1989 - Game Boy

Image credit: gingerbeardman from flickr

Remember this? The original Game Boy. Who could forget blasting the Tetris theme song out of that massive front speaker whilst jamming squares, lines and L shaped bricks into each other, all on a black and green LCD screen? If you can remember the included blue and red-striped earbuds, and the little plastic case your first Tetris cartridge came in, I'm with you. My only gripe back then, was the lack of nighttime play, but luckly accessory maker Nuby soon came to the rescue with an external light. (It also came out with an hideous incredible screen magnifier and stereo speakers).


1996 - Game Boy Pocket

Image credit: Wikipedia

Looking good Game Boy! Slimmer, lighter, and less power hungry, the Game Boy Pocket was released seven-years after the original. It had a true black and white screen, rather than the muddy green of its predecessor, which was much clearer, but still, alas, not back lit.


1998 - Game Boy Light

Image credit: Wikipedia

Oh, hey there bright eyes. Ten years after debuting as a must-have handheld gaming system, Game Boy finally acquires the power of back light. It allowed for an impressive 20-hours of gaming with the backlight off and 12-hours with backlight on, not bad.


1998 - Game Boy Colour

Image credit: xabi from flickr

If a backlit screen wasn't enough to keep us hooked back in the 90's, then a colour screen sure did the trick. Although it looked good, a killer selling point for the GBC was backwards compatibility with the loads of previous game cartridges most of us had been collecting over the years. Clever girl.


2001 - Game Boy Advance

Image credit: Wikimedia

Ah, a Game Boy for the 21st century. Re-designed, re-imagined and fully modern. It had a 2.9 inch colour LCD, and a 16.8 MHz 32-bit ARM7TDMI processor under the bonnet. Not a bad way to start off the new millenium, after we all had out bank accounts emptied.


2003 - Game Boy Advance SP

Image credit: Wikipedia

It only took two-years for Nintendo to make the Game Boy Advance even more special.  Literally, they made it the Game Boy Advance Special. Taking on a Motorola StarTAC form factor (remember those?), the GMASP was super pocket-sized with similar specs to the GBA, though upgraded with a rechargeable Li-ion battery and a backlight. Slick.


2005 - Game Boy Micro

Image credit: Wikimedia

Don't remember this one? Well, maybe it's because Nintendo released the DS a year before this, the last and final installment of the Game Boy brand. Going from ahead-of-its-time to, well, whatever this final iteration was, the Game Boy had a long and literally game changing impact on the world of portable gaming. So, happy birthday to the machine that made gaming on the go mainstream and imprinted this haunting tune in all of our minds.