What People Used To Say About The Game Boy

What People Used To Say About The Game Boy
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3D without glasses? No thanks. I’ll take my monochrome sprites and go and have some real fun.

The Game Boy was kind of a big deal. Revolutionary, even. Console-quality games on the go? Great Scott. Let’s look at what people thought of that.

  • “Game Boy promises ‘any game, anywhere.’ It has a 2 1/2-inch LCD screen with surprisingly clear pictures, and runs on batteries or AC. Two Game Boys can be linked with a cable to provide two-player competition.”
    Rocket in Your Pocket Hand-Held Games; The Toronto Star, December 3, 1989.

Two and a half inches! Pocket Rocket indeed.

  • “‘The software drives everything, and there is no question that the Atari (Lynx) product is superior to Game Boy,’ said Larry Carlat, editor of Toy & Hobby World, a trade publication. ‘But Nintendo is Nintendo and they have the marketing muscle. If something has the Nintendo name on it, it’s virtually guaranteed to sell.'”
    Jube Shiver Jr.: Hardly Playing Games, Toys: It’s Serious Business As Nintendo’s Game Boy Goes Head To Head With Atari’s Lynx (…); Los Angeles Times, November 20, 1989.

Atari does what Nintendon’t! Shame it doesn’t work out for them.

  • “The layout of the controls is also good. There’s a cross-key joystick to manipulate the gamesters, as well as A/B buttons that enable two people to play one game.”
    David Elrich: For Nintendo Fiend, Now It’s Portable; St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 21, 1989.

Co-op consists of shrieking at your partner when s/he doesn’t hit A and drops your gamester down a pit.

  • “The name Game Boy not only carries echoes of Walkman, but also reminds us of the target audience for the product: game boys everywhere. But a name like this further reinforces the misguided notion that fun on a home computer is solely for adolescent males. When will we be ready for a Game Girl?”
    Dennis Lynch: Nintendo stars at the Electronics Show; Chicago Tribune, June 23, 1989.

Not for a while, mister Lynch.

  • “Game Boy is a hand-held, battery-operated video game. It includes Tetris, a puzzle game developed in the Soviet Union that challenges the player to manipulate lines and patterns, which will darken the screen when played correctly.”
    Mary Evertz: OH BOY TOYS // Let the shopping begin, but be forewarned: This year’s hot toys are selling fast; St. Petersburg Times, December 9, 1989.

Even the Rubik’s Cube of Software goes portable. This may or may not be a Soviet plot to take over the world.

  • “To be honest, I am wondering what all the fuss is about. Pokemon is an enjoyable sojourn into the realm of RPG/strategy gaming, and the collectible idea is a nice touch, but by no means is it the best the game I have ever played — not even on the Gameboy (that honour goes to Tetris). RATING: * * * (3 stars)”
    David Canter: Pokemon by Nintendo; The San Diego Union-Tribune, October 27, 1998.

It’s a passing fad.

  • “At KB Toys, spokesman John Reilly said Pokemon hasn’t reached the level of a phenomenon a la Furby. But, he added, ‘That’s not to say Pokemon isn’t hot.'”
    Chris Reidy: Watch out, Furby: 2 new Nintendo video games appear to be nearly as hot as this year’s top holiday toy; The Boston Globe, December 12, 1998.

Oh. Guess Pokémon is cool after all. It’s just not the Furby killer we’ve been waiting for.

So, portable gaming enthusiasts of Kotaku. Was the Game Boy your first? Have you caught ’em all, or did the Mew under the truck manage to elude you? Post your stories below.


  • To be honest, GB games have dated really badly. Some of the GBC ones are okay, but it’s GBA levels where they still feel really good.

  • Silver and Gold haven’t really dated. Red & Blue have. I’ve still got my (functioning) gameboy colour on my desk which ive had for over 13 years with many of my original games (lost a few) including all the pokemon games.

    Suffice to say there have been thousands of hours played.

  • I remember getting the old grey brick for Christmas in ’90, I think it was. Tetris was included, and I got Nemesis and Mr Chin’s Gourmet Paradise as gifts from relatives the same day. I carried that thing with me everywhere I went for several years. Some really fond memories, and was the birth of my love of handhelds.

    I always remember being jealous of my friend’s Game Gear, until I found out about the battery life. Sure it had a color screen, but it ate batteries like nobody’s business. The GB was actually quite reasonable. Then there was the games – so many classics on GB.

    The Lynx was barely even a blip on the radar here in Australia. I’ve never actually seen one in the flesh, and I only ever saw one stocked at a single toy shop. Never saw them anywhere, really.

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