Where were you on July 31st, 1989? I was in middle school – technically summer break between grades but you get the idea. I wanted a Nintendo Game Boy bad. It was almost a given this was going to be a hot toy at school. It was. I remember the “cool kids” having the Game Boy in school. I also remember it being confiscated during class time because they could not keep it put away. It was both harsh and funny at the same time. This was the first real attempt by Nintendo to take on a new market. Their Nintendo Entertainment System was was a huge success in homes. They had portable gaming devises prior. The problem being the Game and Watch series didn’t take off. The new Nintendo hand held did just that though.

The cornerstone of the Game Boy’s success

Nintendo launched this new device with a handful of titles, the biggest of which was Tetris, the pack-in title. This was genius on the part of Nintendo.  The pack-in title was key to the success of the Game Boy, it needed a killer non-gamer hit. This was also probably a big middle finger to Sega and Tengen. Both companies thought they had the rights. Nintendo proved them both wrong. No matter the reasoning, Tetris was reason enough to grab a Nintendo Game Boy and grab it fans did.

The first Game Boy was quite rough

The Nintendo Game Boy set a standard for portable gaming, even with a crappy screen. This little thing went hours on a few AA batteries and was the gaming device for tons of gamers. Sure, Sega had the Game Gear and Atari the Lynx but neither could stand against Nintendo. Unfortunately for both of those companies, the foothold that Nintendo had was too much. Nintendo has held the portable crown since launch.

Today, we salute you Nintendo Game Boy. If you don’t have one, or simply want to beef up your collection then visit eBay or grab a deal on Amazon. If you want to know more about the independent homebrew, and better commercial software, available, check our coverage of the Game Boy out.

This article was originally published on Retro Gaming Magazine.