Game Boy turned 30 in 2019 — making it possible the most iconic handheld gaming system in history. Long before you could crush candies on your cell phone, adults and kids alike were snatching up Pokemon, rearranging blocks in Tetris, and jumping through tubes with their favorite plumber — all without cords or TVs.
Here’s a look back at how Nintendo’s been holding our hands for the last three decades.
The Game Boy – 1989
Price at release: $89.95
On April 21, 1989 Nintendo released the handheld gaming console that would change the world: the Game Boy. The original Game Boy featured a flat, green screen and 8-bit dot-matrix display. The inputs featured a directional pad, “Select” and “Start” buttons, and the “A” and “B” buttons.
While the Game Boy was technically inferior to the other handheld gaming systems being released by rivals (like SEGA’s Game Gear and Atari’s Lynx), its extended battery life and addicting games like Tetris rocketed it up to the top of every kid’s birthday list. After selling more than one million units in the United States within weeks after its release, there was no denying that Game Boy would be the King of Handhelds for years to come.
Here’s the original commercial for the Nintendo Game Boy:
Game Boy Turns 30: The Game Boy Pocket.