Release Date: 07/31/1989
Colors: White, Clear, Red, Green, Yellow, Black, Blue, Grey,
This was the first handheld I ever had. I got it for my 7th birthday, used of course, with a copy of Tetris. I remember the copy of Tetris had a cigarette burn mark on the top of the cartridge and was stained yellow. I’ll never forget that! Sadly, I only ever owned two Game Boy games. The other was Galaga & Galaxian that I found at a thrift store. Despite only having this game for the longest time I played it a lot. I remember that green screen burned into my memory and the sound of the theme song chirping away in the background. I wish I knew just how many awesome games were for the system back in the day as I missed out on a lot.
And for 80’s hardware, the system is quite impressive. Being such a small 8-bit system is really something else. The worst part about the system is the awful screen. There is no backlight and it’s monochrome in green. People gave the Game Boy hell for this and still do it until this day. The Japanese market got an improved Game Boy Light with a backlight, but it was never released here. The system is quite chunky, but that can be a good thing. It has some weight and feels good in the hand even today. There’s a contrast wheel and a sound wheel as well as a link cable port. This thing took four AA batteries but didn’t burn through them as fast as people think. This wasn’t the Game Gear after all. The batteries could last as long as 30 hours. Not having a CFL backlight had its advantages.
The system also had a headphone jack, and the speaker was good enough. Systems are only as good as their libraries and the Game Boy had some great additions. Sadly, there was also a lot of garbage on the handheld. Some developers didn’t know how to optimize the hardware and made ugly games with sluggish controls and animations. While others defined the system. It may be hard to back to the original hardware today especially when newer Game Boys play these games with better hardware. I recommend modding this system with an IPS screen and maybe swapping the shell out. A lot of these yellowed over the years and the plastics became brittle. However, I will praise the large screen as it’s easy to see the sprites on the screen.
Overall, the original Game Boy’s worst problem was the terrible screen, but the batteries lasted a long time, it sounded pretty good, and the screen was at least large. It may be hard to go back to an original Game Boy today, but anyone who is curious or wants to own one is encouraged to modify it with modern hardware and make it more enjoyable to play today.