Game Boy

1989 portable video game console

The Game Boy (ゲームボーイ, Gēmu Bōi), is an 8-bit handheld video game console, first released in Japan in April 1989. It was later released in North America in July 1989 and then in Europe in September 1990. It is Nintendo's first handheld with switchable games. The Game Boy is also one of the first portable consoles to use game cartridges, meaning the games are interchangeable. The Game Boy family eventually expanded to include the Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, Game Boy Advance SP, and Game Boy Micro. The Game Boy was discontinued on 23 March 2003.

Game Boy
Product familyGame Boy line
TypeHandheld game console
GenerationFourth generation
Release date
  • JP: April 21, 1989[2]
  • NA: July 31, 1989[1]
  • EU: September 28, 1990
DiscontinuedOctober 1998[3]
Units soldWorldwide: 118.69 million, including Game Boy (Play it Loud!), Game Boy Pocket, Game Boy Light and Color units
MediaGame Boy cartridges.
Best-selling gameTetris, 30.26 million (pack-in/separately)
Pokémon Red and Blue, 23.64 million approximately (as of January 18, 2009).[4]
PredecessorGame & Watch
SuccessorGame Boy Pocket (redesign)
Game Boy Light (redesign)
Game Boy Color (successor)

The Game Boy has a green screen that displays four shades of dark green (gray for the Game Boy Pocket). Like the NES, the Game Boy has two face buttons, start and select, and a cross-shaped direction pad. The console has a single speaker, and it can be used with stereo headphones. As many as four Game Boys can be connected together with the Game Boy Link Cable.

The Game Boy was invented by Gunpei Yokoi, who was also responsible for creating the unsuccessful Virtual Boy and the successful Game & Watch games.

Recently, the Game Boy was compared to all Nintendo handhelds and systems released between 1989 and 2016 to see how long each one's battery life lasted, and the Game Boy beat all the other systems with 30 hours of battery life. The Game Boy provided the most game play at its time and currently still does.

Best-selling games



  1. White, Dave (July 1989). "Gameboy Club". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 3. p. 68.
  2. "retrodiary: 1 April – 28 April". Retro Gamer (88). Bournemouth: Imagine Publishing: 17. April 2011. ISSN 1742-3155. OCLC 489477015.
  3. "Consolidated Sales Transition by Region" (PDF). Nintendo. April 26, 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 1, 2016. Retrieved 2016-10-23.
  4. "ELSPA Sales Awards: Platinum". Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association. Archived from the original on 2009-05-15. Retrieved 2009-01-18.