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Happy 30th Birthday, Game Boy

Thirty years ago today, the original Nintendo Game Boy was released in Japan. It took a few months for it to come out here in the United States and roughly a year later in Europe, however today we’re celebrating the handheld, and how much it impacted us as gamers.

We’ve included blurbs from all of our staff that fondly remember the Game Boy, its games, and more! You can find our thoughts below:

Brandon Orselli

I may have been gaming since the Atari days and owned the original Nintendo Entertainment System, but it wasn’t until I got my first Nintendo Game Boy I really became addicted, no truly passionate about gaming. I got the original DMG-01 model for Christmas one year, and played it as often as I could until I raged over a particular boss in Link’s Awakening, slamming the hand held into my forehead – cracking its screen. I was naturally devastated, so my parents got me one of the follow up models, which happened to be a transparent/white model Game Boy (which I still own).

I played the Game Boy often as my parents were frequently traveling between Virginia and New Jersey, and the Jersey shore. I snuck my Game Boy into school when the original Pokemon Red and Blue came out, despite the risk my teacher(s) would confiscate Game Boys the moment they saw them (this was actually a rule they had to say to the classes because the hand held was so popular). There were so many nights I’d be in the back of my parents car, playing my Game Boy and only being able to see when street lights were overhead (the original model lacked a backlit screen).

I remember going on a cruise with my family in 2003 and being so into Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire on my Game Boy Advance I was literally glued to the screen the entire time, even during a super fancy dinner with this big conga line the chefs performed. I only took breaks when we went out to the Bahamas and the local bay areas, to go swimming and explore the islands. Even then, I was still really thinking about which pokemon to get next. I had the original launch model (still have it), which also lacked backlighting and made it hard to play in the back of my parents car.

The Game Boy was the one gaming console that was always within reach, always instantly playable, and always there for me in those times as a kid going through those changes. I thankfully grew up with a good family, but the Game Boy was always a refuge for me when I got scared or anxious about things.

I really can’t think of another gaming platform that I love and adore as much as the Game Boy, which Nintendo has kept pursuing with later handhelds, even after dropping the famous Game Boy name. Its legacy lives on, I avidly play my Nintendo Switch mostly in handheld mode, as does my four year old son – who is already an avid gamer just like his dad.

Thank you Nintendo for all the memories, and may you continue to pioneer the handheld gaming space!

Rory Hutchings

When I was a child, I was given my old grey Game Boy by my father with my official battery pack and case. All the children in my apartment building would compare the games we had and would sit in circles trying each others games. It was one day in the summer of 1990 when I got a link cable and we all started battling each other in a long list of multiplayer games. None of our parents could complain about going out and ‘getting a little sun’ with us sneaking our systems out in our pockets to play our games out in the local park.

From Super Mario Land, Zelda, to even odd ball titles such as one of my childhood favorites Penguin Wars, I had a large library of games as my father would gift me one with almost every A or B I got on a test in school. Even now, still owning my original systems and games, I go back to play them on my original system and still have fun doing so, granted now I got to replace the screen on my old system due to its age.

Almost everyone around me had a Game Boy, Even my grandmother had the old grey brick of a system for years. I remember her sitting in her La-Z-Boy recliner watching her favorite soap opera Days Of Our Lives, playing her two all time favorite games: Tetris and Paperboy. Even now, despite her age and decaying reflexes, she still makes attempts to play the games she still loves.

Even throughout my teenage years playing Pokemon I had a great time. One of the funniest memories was being dressed up in cheesy 90s goth punk style while being a mallrat with my friend Brian, helping kids who asked us to collect pokemon while their parents were shopping in the mall. Most of the parents would try to get their children to avoid us, but once they found out that their kids had 10 more collected as they showed them off to their families, the amount of thank you’s we got was heartwarming.

Thank you Nintendo. The Gameboy not only helped to create the Gameboy Advance and the Nintendo DS, but it also made me a lot of childhood memories as well.

Caitlin Harper

I can’t remember when I actually got my first Game Boy, but I remember that little system being there with me through a lot. When my mother was pregnant with my little sister and my family was separated (not for bad reasons, but dad was deployed and we couldn’t be with him) I had Burai Fighter and Mega Man. I remember playing them for hours in the hospital while waiting for various news and during tough times.

When Pokemon first released, we were living in Boston. I would stay up late, huddled under the covers trying to catch all the different Pokemon. I evolved my first Gyarados while on the Chesapeake Bay. I had my copy of Pokemon Red with me when we went to go see the first pokemon movie in theaters.

While not the original Game Boy, my sister and I both had our Game Boy pockets with us when our family took a trip to Kenya and we would sit together at night and trade and battle with each other in Pokemon Gold and Silver.

I can remember being so excited when I first saw Link’s Awakening and Super Mario Land in the stores for the Game Boy. Super Mario Bros. and Zelda II: The Adventures of Link were the first two games I ever played, sitting for hours with my father experiencing those two adventures. When he and I could take them on the go together, it was like those first few days all over again.

The original Game Boy still holds a special place in my heart because I had that little system with me during a lot of good and bad times during my childhood and it helped me through a lot of tough times. It might sound weird, but having characters I had quickly come to love with me at all times gave me a lot of strength when I really needed it the most.

Happy birthday you little brick. We miss you.

Zoe Renee

A lime green Game Boy Color with a fuchsia battery cover plate I had traded with a buddy as a sign of friendship, and Pokemon Blue that almost never left the game slot.

I didn’t have the variety many others did with my device, but the time it helped me kill trying to collect all original 150 (or technically 139, I think) was priceless. Even if some of that killed time was at school…

Frank Streva

I got the translucent purple Gameboy Color bundle right when Pokemon Red and Blue were released, and it started my childhood obsession with the franchise.

I brought that Game Boy everywhere, and through trading with friends and cousins, I captured all 150 in Red, Blue, and Yellow.

Kids these days will never know the struggle of having to play by streetlight in the back of the car on the way home from a long road trip.

Ryan Pearson

I remember one time my father gave me a gift, I can’t have been older than eight or so.

Pokemon Blue and a chunky grey brick. The first steps I took into tall grass started a new world of entertainment for me. Rather than sit back and vegetate, I experimented, I learned, I had something where I could earn success and be rewarded for it.

I honestly don’t know what sort of entertainment I would have gotten into instead of gaming, but I’m glad I’m a gamer. All the batteries and third-party add-ons were worth it- teaching me to learn, adapt, and succeed. Not to mention those long trips were made easier.

Tyler Valle

While I never had an original Gameboy, I did have a Game Boy Color, and boy did I get my fun out of it. When I was a wee lad, my father and I would work together to beat Zelda: Oracle of Seasons and Ages.

He got so into the games that he printed out an entire strategy guide for Oracle of Ages, just so he could make sure that he could beat it before I beat Seasons. The Gameboy Color was a fantastic handheld and helped to improve my relationship with my dad.

Thank you Nintendo for constantly pushing mobile gaming forward!


Do you have fond memories of the Game Boy? Silly stories? Sound off in the comments below!

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The staff at Niche Gamer are crazy passionate about the same games that we cover and play every day. Please feel free to contact us any time!