As incredible as it sounds, the Nintendo Game Boy is 20 years old today!
The now iconic hand-held video game console was launched in Japan on 21st April 1989 as the spiritual successor to Nintendo’s Game & Watch line. The console, which went on to sell nearly 119 million units worldwide, was released to the US a few months later in August and to the UK and Europe the following year.
Bundled with it was, of course, a copy of Tetris but it was neither that, nor Super Mario Bros nor any of the big-selling titles that left a lasting impression with me — possibly because it’s one of the few video games I’ve actually completed that honour goes to Final Fantasy Legend.
Final Fantasy Legend was a western port of the Japanese RPG Makai Tōshi Sa·Ga and, despite being made by Square, wasn’t a Final Fantasy game at all, merely re-badged to cash in on the popularity of the Final Fantasy series in the US. It was apparently enhanced and re-released for mobile phones in Japan in 2007 and the series also celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. Too bad I traded mine in for a copy of Chase HQ… I don’t think I’m ever going to let my 13-year-old self live that down!
Still, at least I kept my copy of Solar Striker and if I ever lose that I’ll always have its theme tune permanently etched into my brain.
Update: Be sure to check out the Game Boy timeline over at Gizmodo.