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Nintendo’s trailblazing Game Boy marked its 25th anniversary with the portable device’s legacy still popular even in the age of smartphone games and living in the minds of nostalgic fans.
Incidentally, the Japanese firm released its 8-bit Game Boy on April 21, 1989, the year Soviet troops pulled out of Afghanistan, the Chinese army violently cracked down on protesters in Tiananmen Square and the Berlin Wall fell.
It also helped turn Super Mario and Donkey Kong into global franchises, allowing users to change their favourite games on the go just by inserting small cartridges into the device.
Game Boy’s discount price and popular software blew away the competition at the time and pushed mobile gaming into the mainstream. The popularity was such that at one point, portable gaming was synonymous with the Game Boy.
It laid the foundation for what we call portable gaming today, regardless of whether it is console or smartphone games, because the basic concept is the same. Mobility was crucial, remembers one 21-year-old Japanese, if he wanted to escape his parents’ wrath. The device can be called as the mother of modern games as it allowed users to connect with another gamer through a link cable, setting off the beginnings of online gaming networks that now number in the millions of users.
The company is however, struck with financial losses. Nintendo has no commemorative events planned for the Game Boy. In its heyday, Nintendo sold almost 119 million original Game Boy consoles and shifted another 81.5 million units of the next-generation Game Boy Advance series, which was launched in 2001.