Nintendo First Releases the Game Boy in Japan
The Game Boy (ゲームボーイ, Gēmu Bōi?) is an 8-bit handheld video game console developed and manufactured by Nintendo.
It was released in Japan on April 21, 1989 (1989-04-21), in North America on July 31, 1989 (1989-07-31), and in Europe on September 28, 1990 (1990-09-28). In Southern Asia, it is known as the "Tata Game Boy" It is the first handheld console in the Game Boy line. It was created by Gunpei Yokoi and Nintendo's Research and Development 1—the same staff who had designed the Game & Watch series as well as several popular games for the NES.
The Game Boy was Nintendo's second handheld system following the Game & Watch series introduced in 1980, and it combined features from both the Nintendo Entertainment System and Game & Watch. It was also the first handheld game to use video game cartridges since Milton Bradley's Microvision handheld console. It was originally bundled with the puzzle game Tetris.
Despite many other, technologically superior handheld consoles introduced during its lifetime, the Game Boy was a tremendous success. The Game Boy and Game Boy Color combined have sold 118.69 million units worldwide. Upon its release in the United States, it sold its entire shipment of one million units within weeks.
The Game Boy was developed by Gunpei Yokoi and his R&D1 team at Nintendo. He wanted to combine the best features of the successful NES with the portability of the Game & Watch handhelds, which he also developed. The first prototype of the Game Boy was produced in 1987 and expectations at Nintendo were high. Nintendo of Japan president Hiroshi Yamauchi predicted that it would sell over 25 million in the first three years.
An interesting move was the choice of game to be bundled with the Game Boy. Out of all the games it had to be Tetris: A game developed by a Russian mathematician, which has sold over 1 million copies to date. Someone at Nintendo had noticed the game at an exhibition in 1988 and immediately knew that it would be the ideal game to complement the Game Boy. The decision was spot-on!