Game Boy Review: Celebrating The Original Handheld 25 Years On

REVIEW: Game Boy!

The Game Boy changed the world, and even now it's 25 years on it's still rocking ours.

To celebrate the quarter-centenary of Nintendo's classic gaming system, we decided to return to the Game Boy and see how much of love of the machine transcended mere nostalgia.

The results? This thing is still pretty damn incredible.

Yes, the specs have paled a little from by comparison to modern systems.

Where the iPhone has a full touchscreen, and the PS Vita has about 100 buttons and a HD screen, the Game Boy keeps things simple. It has four buttons (A, B, Start, Select) and an admittedly small 2.6-inch screen, with a resolution of a mere 160 × 144 pixels.

It also featured a fairly rudimentary sound system, with only one speaker (though with stereo headphones). The 8kB of RAM and video RAM was small, and the colour palette of 4 shades of grey was, again, a little basic.

Interestingly, on other scores the Game Boy still holds up well. It had replaceable batteries, which - yes - didn't last more than 30 hours, but that's more than an iPhone. It also achieved 60FPS, was fairly light and portable, loaded up instantly and came with a free copy of Tetris.

Which gets us on to the heart of our review: the games. For this is where the Boy really shined. It's not for nothing that Nintendo has endlessly remade and rereleased some of the Game Boy's finest moments in the three decades since its release. These are stone cold classics. The list writes itself - Tennis, Golf, Pokemon Red/Blue, Dr Mario and Metroid II. There was a version of Killer KInstinct, the original Final Fantasy and Qix. There was the first three Mega Mans (Mega Men?), a first-person Doom-style adventure (Facebook 2000) and more Mario than anyone could play through in a reasonably busy childhood.

So now, perhaps the Game Boy doesn't quite hold up to the modern tech, flashy screens and complicated games of the modern era. But what made it great in the past still makes it great today - portable, simple, addictive mobile gaming with an imagination and - yes - love, that even modern kids can love.


What's Hot