Game Boy Ad 1989
The first handheld in Nintendo’s Game Boy lineup was released in Japan on April 21, 1989, then North America, three months later, and lastly in Europe the following year. It portable game console was designed by the same team that developed the Game & Watch and several Nintendo Entertainment System games, thus it combined features from both the NES home system and Game & Watch hardware. Featuring a green dot-matrix screen with adjustable contrast dial, five control buttons, a 2-voice speaker with adjustable volume dial, and cartridges as physical media for games. Read more for five commercials you probably never seen or knew about.

5. Game Boy + Tetris (1989)

The original code name used by Nintendo employees for the Game Boy was “Dot Matrix Game”, and the initials DMG came to be featured on the final product’s model number: “DMG-01”. Internal reception of the console at the company was initially very poor, and it even received the nickname “DameGame” from Nintendo employees, with dame being Japanese for ‘hopeless’ or ‘lame’ in that context.

4. Have You Had Your Fun Today? (1991)

The color scheme consists of two tones of grey with accents of black, blue, and maroon. All the corners of the portrait-oriented rectangular unit are softly rounded, minus the bottom right, which is curved. At launch, you could either purchase a standalone unit, or a bundle with a game (Super Mario Land or Tetris).

3. Great Games

Despite being technically behind its fourth-generation competitors (Sega’s Game Gear, Atari’s Lynx, and NEC’s TurboExpress), the Game Boy was best known for its long battery life and durable construction. It quickly outsold the competition by moving one million units in the United States alone within just a few weeks.

2. Responsible Adults

Nintendo’s Game Boy and its successor, the Game Boy Color, have sold an estimated 118 million units worldwide, making it one of the most recognizable devices from the 1980s, becoming a cultural icon in the years following its release.

1. Hey Kid

Several upgraded models were released during the console’s lifetime, including the Game Boy Pocket (1996) and the Game Boy Light (1998; Japan only). Production of the Game Boy continued into the early 2000s, and eventually discontinued after the release of its successor, the Game Boy Advance, in 2001.