Nintendo's Game Boy portable gaming system has been around for 20 years today, and even has a spiritual successor in the DS. Benj Edwards takes a look at why the franchise is a lasting one on Ars Technica.
- Tetris: "Every new hardware platform needs a 'killer app,'" and that was as true in 1989 as it is now. The addictive game perfectly fit the capabilities of the tiny console that could.
- Battery life: The Game Boy could run at least 10 hours on 4 AAs, propelling the relatively crude monochrome system past its energy-guzzling color competition.
- Name recognition: Nintendo's NES was the top console when the Game Boy was released, attracting customers who'd never heard of Sega and were tired of Atari.
- Price: The Game Boy's no-frills approach—and Nintendo's commitment to keeping costs low even as technology improved—made it the go-to system for the on-the-go gamer.
- Pokemon: A perfectly timed mid-career boost from a sensational role-playing game kept Nintendo's handheld current through the turn of the millenium.
- Flexibility: Just one of 7 distinct models are fully back compatible, even with full redesigns, the addition of color, and sharper displays.