Let’s Go Retro – 1989: Nintendo Game Boy

Let's Go Retro

As we start 2014, it’s hard to believe that a piece of iconic tech (which certainly feels like it only emerged a couple of years ago), will actually be celebrating its 25th birthday.

In this week’s Let’s Go Retro we revisit 1989 and take a look at the Nintendo Game Boy.Game Boy

What: Nintendo Game Boy

Type: Handheld game console

Generation: Fourth generation

When: 21 April 1989

Price: $89.99

Developed and manufactured by Nintendo, the Game Boy was an 8-bit handheld video, and the first device in the Game Boy line.

Following on from the 1980 handheld Game & Watch console, the Game Boy combined features from its predecessor along with the Nintendo Entertainment System.

The white device compromised of four buttons and a directional pad, with a greyscale display and slot for game cartridges.

Game Boy Bundle

Powered by four AA batteries, the Game Boy could offer users up to 12 hours of gameplay – something that many consoles couldn’t compete with.

These fourth generation competitors included the likes of the Sega Game Gear and Atari Lynx, which were technologically superior, but Nintendo’s pricing and power meant that the Game Boy was an instant phenomenon.

Originally bundled with legendary puzzle game Tetris, the console’s release in the US saw all 40,000 units sold on its first day, while the game went on to become a best-seller, shifting 30 million copies.

Although it was discontinued in 2003, the Game Boy is the most successful video game system ever released, with more than 87 million sold during its lifespan.

Now, 25 years after its original release, it’s safe to say that the Game Boy has definitely become a man…

So that’s the tech, what else did 1989 offer?

The last year of the 80s saw quite a few historical events take place, but in the movie world, all we wanted was to have what she was having after the release of When Harry Met Sally.

Other films of the year also included Uncle Buck and Road House, while on the small screen a yellow cartoon family known as The Simpsons made their debut, along with Saved by the Bell and Baywatch.


Music was a mixed bag of Madonna, Simple Minds and two soap stars called Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan. So, especially for you, here are some of the other notable events from 1989:

January 20 – George H.W. Bush became the 41st President of the USA

March 29 – The 61st Academy Awards took place without a host. Best Picture went to Rain Man

October 5 – The Dalai Lama won the Nobel Peace Prize

December 23 – Band Aid II secured the UK Christmas number one with ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’