Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Game Boy

Game Boy

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Game Boy'
Start a new discussion about 'Game Boy'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
The , is an 8-bit handheld video game device
Handheld game console
A handheld game console is a lightweight, portable electronic device with a built-in screen, game controls and speakers. Handheld game consoles are run on machines of small size allowing people to carry them and play them at any time or place...

 developed and manufactured by Nintendo
Nintendo
is a multinational corporation located in Kyoto, Japan. Founded on September 23, 1889 by Fusajiro Yamauchi, it produced handmade hanafuda cards. By 1963, the company had tried several small niche businesses, such as a cab company and a love hotel....

. It was released in Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 on , in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 in , and in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 on . It is the first handheld console in the Game Boy line
Game Boy line
The line is a line of battery-powered handheld game console sold by Nintendo. It is one of the world's best-selling game system lines with a combined 200+ million units sold worldwide....

, and was created by Gunpei Yokoi and Nintendo Research & Development 1
Nintendo Research & Development 1
was Nintendo's oldest development team. Its creation coincided with Nintendo's entry into the video games industry, and the original R&D1 was headed by Gunpei Yokoi...

—the same staff who had designed the Game & Watch
Game & Watch
is a line of handheld electronic games produced by Nintendo from to . Created by game designer Gunpei Yokoi, each Game & Watch features a single game to be played on an LCD screen in addition to a clock and an alarm ....

 series as well as several popular games for the Nintendo Entertainment System
Nintendo Entertainment System
The Nintendo Entertainment System is an 8-bit video game console that was released by Nintendo in North America during 1985, in Europe during 1986 and Australia in 1987...

.

The Game Boy is Nintendo's second handheld system following the Game & Watch series introduced in , and it combined features from both the Nintendo Entertainment System and Game & Watch and its B&W. It was originally bundled with the puzzle game Tetris
Tetris (Game Boy)
Tetris is a puzzle video game that was included as a pack-in title with the Game Boy at the handheld's release in 1989. It is a portable version of Alexey Pajitnov's Tetris. It was the first game compatible with the Game Boy Game Link Cable, a pack-in accessory that allowed two Game Boys to link...

.

Despite many other, technologically superior handheld consoles introduced during its lifetime, the Game Boy was a tremendous success. The Game Boy and Game Boy Color
Game Boy Color
The is Nintendo's successor to the 8-bit Game Boy handheld game console, and was released on October 21, 1998 in Japan, November 19, 1998 in North America, November 23, 1998 in Europe and November 27, 1998 in the United Kingdom. It features a color screen and is slightly thicker and taller than...

 combined have sold 118.69 million units worldwide. Upon its release in the United States, it sold its entire shipment of one million units within weeks.

Features



The Game Boy has four operation buttons labeled "A", "B", "SELECT", and "START", as well as a directional pad. There is a volume control dial on the right side of the console and a similar knob on the left side to adjust the contrast
Contrast (vision)
Contrast is the difference in visual properties that makes an object distinguishable from other objects and the background. In visual perception of the real world, contrast is determined by the difference in the color and brightness of the object and other objects within the same field of view...

. At the top of the Game Boy, a sliding on-off switch and the slot for the Game Boy cartridges
ROM cartridge
A ROM cartridge, sometimes referred to as a cart, is a removable enclosure containing read-only memory devices designed to be connected to a computer or games console....

 are located. Nintendo recommends users to leave a cartridge in the slot to prevent dust and dirt from entering the system.

The Game Boy also contains optional input and/or output connectors. On the left side of the system is an external power supply jack that allows users to use an external rechargeable battery
Rechargeable battery
A rechargeable battery or storage battery is a group of one or more electrochemical cells. They are known as secondary cells because their electrochemical reactions are electrically reversible. Rechargeable batteries come in many different shapes and sizes, ranging anything from a button cell to...

 pack or AC adapter
AC adapter
The AC adapter, AC/DC adapter or AC/DC converter is a type of external power supply, often enclosed in what looks like an over-sized AC plug. Other names include plug pack, plug-in adapter, adapter block, domestic mains adapter, line power adapter, or power adapter...

 (sold separately) instead of four AA batteries
Battery (electricity)
An electrical battery is one or more electrochemical cells that convert stored chemical energy into electrical energy. Since the invention of the first battery in 1800 by Alessandro Volta and especially since the technically improved Daniell cell in 1836, batteries have become a common power...

. The Game Boy requires 6 V
Volt
The volt is the SI derived unit for electric potential, electric potential difference, and electromotive force. The volt is named in honor of the Italian physicist Alessandro Volta , who invented the voltaic pile, possibly the first chemical battery.- Definition :A single volt is defined as the...

 DC
Direct current
Direct current is the unidirectional flow of electric charge. Direct current is produced by such sources as batteries, thermocouples, solar cells, and commutator-type electric machines of the dynamo type. Direct current may flow in a conductor such as a wire, but can also flow through...

 of at least 150 mA
Ampere
The ampere , often shortened to amp, is the SI unit of electric current and is one of the seven SI base units. It is named after André-Marie Ampère , French mathematician and physicist, considered the father of electrodynamics...

. A 3.5 mm stereo headphone jack is located on the bottom side of the console which allows users to listen to the audio with headphones or speakers.

On the right side is a port that allows a user to connect to another Game Boy system via a link cable, provided both users are playing the same game. The port can also be used to connect a Game Boy Printer
Game Boy Printer
The Game Boy Printer, known in Japan as the , is a thermal printer accessory released by Nintendo in 1998. Nintendo ceased manufacture in 2003. The Game Boy Printer is compatible with the Game Boy, Game Boy Pocket, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance systems and is designed to be used in...

. The link cable was originally designed for players to play head-to-head two-player games such as in Tetris
Tetris (Game Boy)
Tetris is a puzzle video game that was included as a pack-in title with the Game Boy at the handheld's release in 1989. It is a portable version of Alexey Pajitnov's Tetris. It was the first game compatible with the Game Boy Game Link Cable, a pack-in accessory that allowed two Game Boys to link...

. However, game developer Satoshi Tajiri
Satoshi Tajiri
is a Japanese video game designer best known as the creator of Pokémon and the founder of development company Game Freak, Inc. An avid fan of arcade games, Tajiri wrote for and edited his own video gaming fanzine Game Freak with Ken Sugimori, before evolving it into a development company of the...

 would later use the link cable technology as a method of communication and networking in the popular Pokémon video game series.

Design and release

  • Alleyway
    Alleyway
    is a video game developed by Nintendo and Intelligent Systems and published by Nintendo as a global launch title for the Game Boy. It is a Breakout clone and one of the first four games developed and released for the system. The game was released first in Japan in 1989, in North America later that...

  • Baseball
  • Super Mario Land
    Super Mario Land
    is a platforming video game developed by Nintendo for the Game Boy handheld game console. It and the Game Boy debuted in Japan on April 21, 1989, in the United States on July 31, 1989, and in Europe on September 28, 1990...

  • Tennis
  • Tetris
    Tetris (Game Boy)
    Tetris is a puzzle video game that was included as a pack-in title with the Game Boy at the handheld's release in 1989. It is a portable version of Alexey Pajitnov's Tetris. It was the first game compatible with the Game Boy Game Link Cable, a pack-in accessory that allowed two Game Boys to link...

     (Bundled with Game Boy)

Reception


The Game Boy and Game Boy Color combined have sold 118.69 million units worldwide, with 32.47 million units in Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, 44.06 million in the Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

, and 42.16 million in other regions. By Japanese fiscal year 1997, before Game Boy Color's release in late-1998, the Game Boy alone had sold 64.42 million units worldwide.

At the time of its release in 1989, the Atari Lynx was also just being introduced to the market. This system featured color graphics, a backlit screen, and networking capabilities. However, its release price of $189.95 and substantial requirement of 6 AA batteries that would provide roughly only four or five hours of gameplay (compared to 10–12 hours on 4 AA batteries and a release price of $89.99 for the Game Boy) doomed it to a second-rate status. Nintendo
Nintendo
is a multinational corporation located in Kyoto, Japan. Founded on September 23, 1889 by Fusajiro Yamauchi, it produced handmade hanafuda cards. By 1963, the company had tried several small niche businesses, such as a cab company and a love hotel....

 also experienced heavy competition from Sega
Sega
, usually styled as SEGA, is a multinational video game software developer and an arcade software and hardware development company headquartered in Ōta, Tokyo, Japan, with various offices around the world...

's Game Gear
Sega Game Gear
The was Sega's first handheld game console. It was the third commercially available color handheld console, after the Atari Lynx and the TurboExpress....

. To promote its new color console, Sega aired a number of negative ad campaigns in the United States that mocked the Game Boy's monochrome display compared to Game Gear's full color display. Like the Lynx, it too required six AA batteries that only lasted about 4–6 hours and was much more expensive than the Game Boy. The Game Gear had the advantage of being fully compatible (with an adapter) with all Sega Master System games and, while not as successful as the Game Boy, it sold from 1991 until early 1997, and sold around 11 million units in total.

In 2009, the Game Boy was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame
National Toy Hall of Fame
The National Toy Hall of Fame is an American hall of fame that recognizes the contributions of toys and games that have sustained their popularity for many years...

, 20 years after its introduction.

As of June 6, 2011, Game Boy and Game Boy Color
Game Boy Color
The is Nintendo's successor to the 8-bit Game Boy handheld game console, and was released on October 21, 1998 in Japan, November 19, 1998 in North America, November 23, 1998 in Europe and November 27, 1998 in the United Kingdom. It features a color screen and is slightly thicker and taller than...

 games are available on the Virtual Console
Virtual console
A virtual console – also known as a virtual terminal – is a conceptual combination of the keyboard and display for a computer user interface. It is a feature of some operating systems such as UnixWare, Linux, and BSD, in which the system console of the computer can be used to switch between...

 service on the Nintendo 3DS
Nintendo 3DS
The is a portable game console produced by Nintendo. The autostereoscopic device is able to project stereoscopic 3D effects without the use of 3D glasses or any additional accessories. The Nintendo 3DS features backward compatibility with Nintendo DS series software, including Nintendo DSi software...

's Nintendo eShop
Nintendo eShop
The Nintendo eShop is an online service for the Nintendo 3DS handheld gaming system. Launched on June 6, 2011 in North America and June 7, 2011 in Europe and Japan, the eShop was enabled by the release of a system update that added the functionality to the 3DS' Home Menu...

.

Play It Loud!


On January 1, 1995, Nintendo released several Game Boy models with colored cases, advertising them in the "Play It Loud!" campaign. Specifications for this unit remain exactly the same as the original Game Boy, including the monochromatic screen. This new line of colored Game Boys would set a precedent for later Nintendo handhelds; the Game Boy Pocket, the Game Boy Color
Game Boy Color
The is Nintendo's successor to the 8-bit Game Boy handheld game console, and was released on October 21, 1998 in Japan, November 19, 1998 in North America, November 23, 1998 in Europe and November 27, 1998 in the United Kingdom. It features a color screen and is slightly thicker and taller than...

, Game Boy Advance
Game Boy Advance
The is a 32-bit handheld video game console developed, manufactured, and marketed by Nintendo. It is the successor to the Game Boy Color. It was released in Japan on March 21, 2001; in North America on June 11, 2001; in Australia and Europe on June 22, 2001; and in the People's Republic of China...

 (including the SP
Game Boy Advance SP
The , released in February 2003, is an upgraded version of Nintendo's Game Boy Advance. The "SP" in Game Boy Advance SP stands for Special. The SP was marketed at US$99.99 at launch. In September 2004, Nintendo lowered the price to US$79.99...

 and Micro
Game Boy Micro
is a handheld game console developed and manufactured by Nintendo. It was first released in September 2005 in the market. The system is the last console of the Game Boy line...

), Nintendo DS
Nintendo DS
The is a portable game console produced by Nintendo, first released on November 21, 2004. A distinctive feature of the system is the presence of two separate LCD screens, the lower of which is a touchscreen, encompassed within a clamshell design, similar to the Game Boy Advance SP...

 (including the Lite
Nintendo DS Lite
The is a dual-screen handheld game console developed and manufactured by Nintendo. It is a slimmer, brighter, and more lightweight redesign of the Nintendo DS, designed to be aesthetically sleeker, while taking styling cues from the Game Boy Advance SP, and to appeal to broader commercial audiences...

, DSi
Nintendo DSi
The is a handheld game system created by Nintendo and launched in 2008 and 2009 in Japan, North America, PAL territories, and other regions. It is the third iteration of the Nintendo DS, and its primary market rival is Sony's PlayStation Portable...

, DSi XL), and Nintendo 3DS
Nintendo 3DS
The is a portable game console produced by Nintendo. The autostereoscopic device is able to project stereoscopic 3D effects without the use of 3D glasses or any additional accessories. The Nintendo 3DS features backward compatibility with Nintendo DS series software, including Nintendo DSi software...

 all feature different colored units. Play It Loud! units were manufactured in red, green, black, yellow, blue, white, and clear (transparent) cases. A very rare, limited edition Manchester United
Manchester United F.C.
Manchester United Football Club is an English professional football club, based in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester, that plays in the Premier League. Founded as Newton Heath LYR Football Club in 1878, the club changed its name to Manchester United in 1902 and moved to Old Trafford in 1910.The 1958...

 Game Boy is red, with the logos of the team emblazoned on it was released simultaneously with the Play it Loud! handhelds in the United Kingdom. The Play It Loud's screens also have a darker border than the normal Game Boy (with the exception of the black Play it Loud!).


Game Boy Pocket


In 1996, Nintendo released the Game Boy Pocket: a smaller, lighter unit that requires fewer batteries. It has space for two AAA batteries, which provide about 10 hours of game play. The Pocket has a smaller link port, which requires an adapter to link with the older Game Boy. The port design is used on all subsequent Game Boy models, excluding the Game Boy Micro
Game Boy Micro
is a handheld game console developed and manufactured by Nintendo. It was first released in September 2005 in the market. The system is the last console of the Game Boy line...

. The screen was changed to a true black-and-white display, rather than the "pea soup" monochromatic display of the original Game Boy. Also Game Boy Pocket (GBP) has a larger screen than the Game Boy Color (GBC) that later superseded it, the GBP's screen is 65mm (2.56") diagonal, width 48.5mm (1.91"), height 43.5mm (1.71") compared to a 59mm (2.32") diagonal for the GBC. Again, and like the Game Boy, the Game Boy Pocket has no backlight to allow play in a darkened area. The first version did not have an LED to show battery levels. This was soon added due to public demand, along with new Game Boy Pocket units of different colors, some of them new to the Game Boy line. There were several limited-edition Game Boy Pockets including a metallic Ice Blue unit and a pink model exclusive to Japan. The Game Boy Pocket was not a new software platform and played the same software as the original Game Boy model.


Game Boy Light


The Game Boy Light was released on April 14, 1998 for ¥6,800 and was only available in Japan. The Game Boy Light is only slightly bigger than the Game Boy Pocket and features an Electroluminescent backlight
Backlight
A backlight is a form of illumination used in liquid crystal displays . As LCDs do not produce light themselves , they need illumination to produce a visible image...

 for low-light conditions. It uses 2 AA batteries, which gave it approximately 20 hours with the light off and 12 with it on. It was available in two standard colors; Gold and Silver, as well as numerous special editions. There is an Astro Boy edition with a clear case with an Astro Boy picture on it. There is a Osamu Tezuka
Osamu Tezuka
was a Japanese cartoonist, manga artist, animator, producer, activist and medical doctor, although he never practiced medicine. Born in Osaka Prefecture, he is best known as the creator of Astro Boy, Kimba the White Lion and Black Jack...

 World shop edition with a clear red case and a picture of his characters. There is a Pokémon Center Tokyo version in yellow color. There is a clear 'skeleton' Famitsu
Famitsu
is a line of Japanese video game magazines published by Enterbrain, Inc. and Tokuma. Currently, there are five Famitsū magazines: Shūkan Famitsū, Famitsū PS3 + PSP, Famitsū Xbox 360, Famitsū Wii+DS, and Famitsū Wave DVD...

 edition which had only 5,000 units released. There is a clear yellow edition separate from the solid yellow Pokémon Center Tokyo version.

It was the only handheld Nintendo produced with an integrated backlight
Backlight
A backlight is a form of illumination used in liquid crystal displays . As LCDs do not produce light themselves , they need illumination to produce a visible image...

 until the release of the Nintendo DS
Nintendo DS
The is a portable game console produced by Nintendo, first released on November 21, 2004. A distinctive feature of the system is the presence of two separate LCD screens, the lower of which is a touchscreen, encompassed within a clamshell design, similar to the Game Boy Advance SP...

 in 2004 (The Game Boy Advance SP
Game Boy Advance SP
The , released in February 2003, is an upgraded version of Nintendo's Game Boy Advance. The "SP" in Game Boy Advance SP stands for Special. The SP was marketed at US$99.99 at launch. In September 2004, Nintendo lowered the price to US$79.99...

 released in 2003 was frontlit, and the later backlit model Game Boy Advance SP (Model AGS-101) was not released until 2005)

Technical specifications



  • CPU
    Central processing unit
    The central processing unit is the portion of a computer system that carries out the instructions of a computer program, to perform the basic arithmetical, logical, and input/output operations of the system. The CPU plays a role somewhat analogous to the brain in the computer. The term has been in...

    :
    Custom 8-bit Sharp
    Sharp Corporation
    is a Japanese multinational corporation that designs and manufactures electronic products. Headquartered in Abeno-ku, Osaka, Japan, Sharp employs more than 55,580 people worldwide as of June 2011. The company was founded in September 1912 and takes its name from one of its founder's first...

     LR35902 core at 4.19 MHz which is similar to an Intel 8080
    Intel 8080
    The Intel 8080 was the second 8-bit microprocessor designed and manufactured by Intel and was released in April 1974. It was an extended and enhanced variant of the earlier 8008 design, although without binary compatibility...

     in that all of the registers introduced in the Z80
    Zilog Z80
    The Zilog Z80 is an 8-bit microprocessor designed by Zilog and sold from July 1976 onwards. It was widely used both in desktop and embedded computer designs as well as for military purposes...

     are not present. However, some of the Z80's instruction set enhancements over the stock 8080, particularly bit manipulation, are present. Still other instructions are unique to this particular flavor of Z80 CPU. The core also contains integrated sound generation.
  • RAM
    Random-access memory
    Random access memory is a form of computer data storage. Today, it takes the form of integrated circuits that allow stored data to be accessed in any order with a worst case performance of constant time. Strictly speaking, modern types of DRAM are therefore not random access, as data is read in...

    :
    8 kB
    Kilobyte
    The kilobyte is a multiple of the unit byte for digital information. Although the prefix kilo- means 1000, the term kilobyte and symbol KB have historically been used to refer to either 1024 bytes or 1000 bytes, dependent upon context, in the fields of computer science and information...

     internal S-RAM (can be extended up to 32 kB)
  • Video RAM: 8 kB internal
  • ROM
    Read-only memory
    Read-only memory is a class of storage medium used in computers and other electronic devices. Data stored in ROM cannot be modified, or can be modified only slowly or with difficulty, so it is mainly used to distribute firmware .In its strictest sense, ROM refers only...

    :
    On-CPU-Die 256-byte bootstrap; 256 kb
    Kilobit
    The kilobit is a multiple of the unit bit for digital information or computer storage. The prefix kilo is defined in the International System of Units as a multiplier of 103 , and therefore,...

    , 512 kb, 1 Mb
    Megabit
    The megabit is a multiple of the unit bit for digital information or computer storage. The prefix mega is defined in the International System of Units as a multiplier of 106 , and therefore...

    , 2 Mb, 4 Mb and 8 Mb cartridges
  • Sound: 2 square wave generators, 1 PCM
    Pulse-code modulation
    Pulse-code modulation is a method used to digitally represent sampled analog signals. It is the standard form for digital audio in computers and various Blu-ray, Compact Disc and DVD formats, as well as other uses such as digital telephone systems...

     4-bit wave sample (64 4-bit samples played in 1x64 bank or 2x32 bank) channel , 1 noise generator, and one audio input from the cartridge. The unit only has one speaker, but headphones provide stereo sound (for further information, see Game Boy music
    Game Boy music
    Game Boy music is a type of chip music produced using a portable gaming console of the Game Boy line. To produce music of the genre, one needs a Game Boy and a cartridge containing appropriate tracking software, such as LSDJ.- Software :...

    )
  • Display: Reflective STN LCD
    Liquid crystal display
    A liquid crystal display is a flat panel display, electronic visual display, or video display that uses the light modulating properties of liquid crystals . LCs do not emit light directly....

     160 × 144 pixel
    Pixel
    In digital imaging, a pixel, or pel, is a single point in a raster image, or the smallest addressable screen element in a display device; it is the smallest unit of picture that can be represented or controlled....

    s
  • Frame Rate
    Frame rate
    Frame rate is the frequency at which an imaging device produces unique consecutive images called frames. The term applies equally well to computer graphics, video cameras, film cameras, and motion capture systems...

    :
    Approx. 59.7 frames per second on a regular Game Boy, 61.1 on a Super Game Boy
  • Vertical Blank Rate: Approx 1.1ms
  • Screen size: 66 mm (2.6 in) diagonal
  • Color Palette: 2-bit (4 shades of "gray" {light to very dark olive green})
  • Communication: Up to 2 Game Boys can be linked together via built-in serial ports, up to 4 with a DMG-07 4-player adapter.
  • Power: 6 V, 0.7 W (4 AA batteries provide ~15 hours)
  • Dimensions: 90 mm (W) x 148 mm (H) x 32 mm (D) / 3.5" x 5.8" 1.3"

See also



  • List of Game Boy colors and styles
  • List of games for the original Game Boy
  • List of Game Boy accessories (list of all known accessories)
  • Game Boy accessories
    Game Boy accessories
    This is a list of video game accessories that have been released for the Game Boy handheld console and its successors. Accessories add functionality that the console would otherwise not have.-Game Boy Pocket Sonar:...

     (description of some selected accessories)
  • Game Boy Advance
    Game Boy Advance
    The is a 32-bit handheld video game console developed, manufactured, and marketed by Nintendo. It is the successor to the Game Boy Color. It was released in Japan on March 21, 2001; in North America on June 11, 2001; in Australia and Europe on June 22, 2001; and in the People's Republic of China...

  • Game Boy line
    Game Boy line
    The line is a line of battery-powered handheld game console sold by Nintendo. It is one of the world's best-selling game system lines with a combined 200+ million units sold worldwide....

  • Microvision
    Microvision
    The Microvision was the very first handheld game console that used interchangeable cartridges. It was released by the Milton Bradley Company in November . The Microvision was designed by Jay Smith, the engineer who would later design the Vectrex gaming console...

    , the first handheld to use cartridges

External links