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Game Boy

The Game Boy is a series of handheld battery powered portable video game consoles sold by Nintendo.

The hardware

  • Game Boy - the original 8 bit (1989). Based around a Z80 processor. Tiny black and white LCD screen which was not backlit. Plays games from ROM based media called cartridges (sometimes abbreviated as carts).
    • Super Game Boy - not a Game Boy portable, but a plugin cartridge for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, it was the first Game Boy to offer color games (although with a very limited palette). A few games for both Game Boy and Super Game Boy were bought out, but it has since been ignored. Super Game Boy was favoured by software developers and testers since they could use a larger television screen while working, instead of the small Game Boy screen.
    • Game Boy Pocket - smaller, neater unit.
    • Game Boy Light - only seen in Japan, same size as the Pocket, but has a backlit screen for improved visibility. Some suggest that its backlit screen impairs its battery life.
  • Game Boy Color - most recent update to the 8 bit range of Game Boy, the processor has doubled in speed, has twice as much memory and a color screen.
  • Game Boy Advance (2001) - features a 32-bit processor. Technically likened to the Super Nintendo and backed up with superior ports of classics such as Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario Kart and F-Zero alongside new titles such as Kuru Kuru Kururin
    • Game Boy Advance SP (2003) - Essentially a cosmetic change of the Game Boy Advance. No change in the hardware capabilites, just a drastically altered form-factor, which harkened back to the original Game Boy line. In addition to the cosmetic change, the GBA SP also introduced a rechargeable battery and a frontlit screen, both firsts for Nintendo's portable. Unfortunately, this version lacks a headphone jack.

Most game consoles become obsolete as newer systems become available. The Game Boy, is unique in its stamina. In 2003 it has been around for 14 years and in that time it has seen off many (often technically superior) rivals; most notably the SEGA Game Gear and the Atari Lynx. The current incarnation, the Game Boy Advance, will still play cartridges created for the Game Boy in 1989.

Thousands of games are available for the Game Boy, which can be attributed in part to its sales in the amounts of millions, a well-documented design, and a typically short development cycle.



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