By today’s standards, the Game Boy seems simple and primitive — a relic of a time long gone by. It had a monochrome, dot-matrix display that relied on natural light; it offered just two face buttons for input, in addition to the directional pad and little-used “SELECT” and “START” keys; it was capable only of 2D raster-based visuals (with one noteworthy exception). Retro indeed.
And yet, the original 1989 handheld from Nintendo and its direct descendants went on to be one of the best-selling game devices, paving the way for the global saturation mobile phone games enjoy today. It introduced Tetris to a truly mass audience for the first time, cementing that iconic puzzler as one of the greatest games ever released. It gave us the first Kirby title in a long-running series. It gave us one of the best Legend of Zelda titles (the best, according to some). And it did all of this with some remarkable hardware configuration, using technology that was already a decade old when it first hit the gaming world.
You’ll learn a lot about the technical side of Game Boy and just how ingenious it was as a gaming platform, as well as a challenge to programmers, by watching these videos by JackTech. They’re on the long side, but definitely worth your time.