The Nintendo Game Boy

I'm sure the Game Boy doesn't need an introduction for anyone born in the '70s and '80s. It was the first 'proper' mobile gaming device and it outlasted its more advanced competition.

Anyone who's ever played Tetris on it will know why it's so special.

I remember seeing a picture in a magazine of the first Mario game running on it shortly before it was released in Japan in 1989 and being completely blown away. This was an actual games console and it was a world away from the Game & Watch type of devices we'd been given before.

The only problem was that shortly afterwards, I saw the full colour California Games running on the Atari Lynx. 

I just presumed at the time that Nintendo had made a serious mistake and that their new device would be obsolete before it even reached the UK. When it eventually got here in 1990, Sega had also joined the partly with its Game Gear.

The battle for the handheld market in the '90s can really teach us a lot about the world of technology, as I ended up with the 'inferior' Game Boy.

There were two significant reasons for this. Firstly, the Lynx and the Game Gear paid a huge price for their colour screens as the battery life was shocking and extremely expensive. Secondly, amazing games like Tetris really didn't need colour screens.

The fact that the Game Boy was lighter, more durable and cheaper also went Nintendo's way.

I think the most important factor though was the inclusion of Tetris with every device. Their tenacity while fighting off Mirrorsoft for the rights to it really paid off, as the Game Boy was the perfect device for this great game. 

If you ever got bored of this though, the launch lineup included games like Super Mario Land, Golf and Tennis. The range soon expanded as well, with great games like Double Dragon appearing in the first year.

In time, Super Mario Land 2 showed us what developers could really do with this great little device and The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awaking took it all to another level.

Overall, I think it's safe to say that we got our fair share of great games over the years and it was a far superior selection than anything the Lynx or Game Gear could offer.

As we still see today with the Switch, seemingly inferior hardware can deliver a better gameplay experience if the developers pull out all the stops. I think it's safe to say that anyone who's played Breath of the Wild will agree with this.

Only last year, I found an old Game Boy and ended up playing Tetris for about an hour. I probably wound't have played California Games on an old Lynx like this, and I think that says it all.

Game Boys also seemed to be around for ever, as they released plenty of updated and colourful variations of this classic device before the Gameboy Advance appeared in 2001. Even this was compatible with the old games though, so you could always beat your Tetris scores.

Nintendo Gameboy

The most significant thing about the Game Boy is that Nintendo beat their rivals with a better all-round package and innovative game design.

While bad games really were bad, due to the technical limitations, I can't remember anything that was unplayable. Games like Double Dragon were also a lot better when you linked up two devices.

For me, the Game Boy will alway be a great example of classic tech and I think the fact that I'd be happy to play one right now says everything. 

In the end, we also learn that people preferred around 30 hours of battery life to a flashy colour screen. It also showed us that it was the games that people played on that screen that made the difference.