The Nintendo Game Boy
The first handheld games console with interchangeable cartridges was the Microvision, released in 1979. However it was another ten years before the concept of mobile gaming really became mainstream with the rise of the Nintendo Game Boy. Nintendo has led the market ever since with their line of Game Boy and DS devices. It is only in recent years that their dominance has been challenged by the rise of smartphones.
Created by Gunpei Yokoi and his Nintendo Research & Development 1 team, the Game Boy eventually sold over 118 million units (including variants such as the ‘Pocket’ and ‘Color’). Yokoi designed the original to be light, inexpensive and durable with the knowledge that these were the key features required for the product to be a success (combined of course with an extensive library of games). This tactic allowed Nintendo to stay ahead of its competition (such as the Atari Lynx and Sega Game Gear) as rival consoles were more expensive, power hungry and lacking in popular games like Tetris or Super Mario Land.
Looking back at the design of the Game Boy, its appearance is a classic of the late 1980s / early 1990s period. As an enormous, grey slab of plastic it gained iconic status as a must have gadget for the younger generation across the globe.
Over time as Nintendo evolved its line of Game Boy consoles, they streamlined the newer models and finished with the stylish retro-feel of the Game Boy Micro, released in 2005.