The Game Boy – Where All Portable Gaming Started

Nintendo is the only company responsible for bringing gaming to the rest of the world. While Playstation and Xbox fans argue about their impact in the gaming industry, Nintendo sits back and watches the fun knowing what they have been able to provide the world. At a time when children had only to go out and play or be bored during the rains, the Nintendo was a welcome reprieve. The Game-Boy was one of their first inventions that brought glory to youngsters around the world in 1989. They had set the stage for portable gaming consoles.

Humble Beginnings

The story about the concept of Nintendo is one for history. The chief engineer who was working at Nintendo had to take the train to work every day. On One such day, the man, Gunpei Yokoi, saw a businessman in a suit, playing with his calculator and spending his time. The man entertained himself by pushing the keys of the calculator and thus was the beginning of the spark that set off portable gaming. In the 1980s when the game was founded, the games were developed to use the same technology as the calculator in the same era.


The company adopted a lateral thinking strategy when it came to the Game and Watch; the predecessor of Game Boy. They decided not to invent a brand new technology to support the industry, but to use the existing technology of calculators to do it. By using a pre-existing technology, the company was able to provide users with a cost-effective gaming platform, which then led to its popularity amongst all kids.  The biggest problem that users found with the Game and Watch was that the games could be played only one time. Thus came along the first ever ‘Game Boy.’ In the late 80s, Yokoi invented the Nintendo Entertainment System that was able to combine the Game and Watch, and also let users change the cartridges to play more games.

The Technology and User Reception

In the 80s, the choices of screens were not seen as a constraint. People were more enthralled by innovation to worry about the color screens or the quality of the graphics. The design principles of the initial Game Boy were maintained to make it accessible to everyone at a reasonable price. The monochrome screen was decided to be the primary viewing platform, and the shades of grey that was displayed on the screen were looked at as an opportunity as opposed to a hindrance. Critics say that this is the area where Nintendo probably lost its popularity. While they were the first to bring the concept to the world, companies like Lync and Sega were providing advancement in technology in the form of color screens and powerful processors.

The most exciting part about the competition is that they did not realize that while their advancement was on the technology side, the battery was severely affected. Users who were able to see the value for money lay with the Game Boy as opposed to technology and color screens. With twice the amount of battery life that the Game Boy offered and the exclusive rights to the Tetris game, the Game Boy won on all accounts.