The Game Boy (Japanese:ゲームボーイ) is a series of handheld battery powered portable video game consoles sold by Nintendo. It is the best selling game system to date.

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. It has double the processor speed, twice as much memory, a color screen, and an infrared communications port. Often referred to as GBC.
  • Game Boy Advance (2001) - features a 32-bit processor, a larger color palette, and a real-time clock for use in games. 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. Often referred to as GBA.
    • 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. This version requires a special adapter to give it a headphone jack.
    • Game Boy Advance Player (2003) - Similair to the Super Game Boy device (see above), this device allows Game Boy games to be played on the Nintendo Gamecube.

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.

Game Boy CameraGame Boy Printer

The Game Boy Camera & Printer are accessories for the Game Boy handheld gaming console, released in 1998. They marked the beginning of a thus far mostly unsuccessful attempt by Nintendo to expand the gameboy from merely a gaming device into a rudimentary PDA.

The e-Reader accessory was launched in late 2002 and works only with GBA compatible models. This device is similair to a bar code reader. Simple games, often old NES titles, are printed on trading cards. The cards are scanned by the device to load the game into the GBA.

The Virtual Boy, a companion console, was released in 1994 but was a dismal failure.