Honestly, when it comes to portable gaming no one has ever really managed to challenge Nintendo. The Game Boy is one of the most successful systems of all time, despite the fact that it went up against technically superior portable consoles like the Lynx and Game Gear. It's had an interesting history, and here are ten of the coolest and strangest bits of it. 10. It's One of the Best Selling Consoles of All Time: Only the Playstation 2 tops Nintendo portable systems in terms of sales numbers , and even then just barely. The DS has Game Boy beat, but at 118 million units sold, the Game Boy and Game Boy Color still have sold more than both versions of the Xbox combined, and more than double the number of every single system Atari ever made put together.
9. It Featured the Smallest Digital Camera in the World: These days everything you buy has a camera, but in 1998 that was still years away. Nintendo decided to just go ahead and get the ball rolling in that direction with the Game Boy Camera, which could be combined with the Game Boy Printer to turn you into a full-on walking photo studio in between games of Six Golden Coins. In 1999 the Guinness Book of World Records recognized Nintendo's accomplishment as the smallest digital camera then in existence.
Of course, not everything about the camera was great...
8. Its Camera is Clearly Haunted: The camera came preloaded with little mini games, and one of them was the most ball-shriveling thing in gaming history. If you select "Run" in the menu screen, that horrifying face above shows up along with the question, "What are you running from?" That is straight up Jigsaw stuff right there, and I am convinced the only reason that never appeared in a Saw film was because of licensing issues. No official explanation for this madness has ever been put forth.
7. It Was One of the First Gender Equal Systems: These days female gamers are just as common as males gamers, but in the '80s and '90s it was all a big old sausage fest. Except for the Game Boy, that is. In 1995 girls made up only 29 percent of NES players, but they accounted for almost half of Game Boy players. This might explain why the second official Metroid game, with the first lady of gaming herself Samus Aran, went straight to Game Boy.
6. It Had a Different Name in Korea: The Japanese and the Koreans have a somewhat tense relationship because of all that pesky occupation, racism, and killing that Japan used to like to do to the Koreans. When the Koreans were freed from Japanese rule after World War II there was a ban on Japanese cultural imports. Not wanting to lose that valuable Korean gaming dollar (Remember, this is a country where StarCraft is a professional sport), Nintendo licensed the Game Boy through Samsung and sold it under the name Mini Comboy.
5. It Can Administer Anesthesia: Please don't watch that video. It's full of screaming, frightened children. The point of it is that in 2009 a company patented something called the PediSedate, which in no way sounds like it involves an unmarked van. The device connects to a music player or a Game Boy (Which was discontinued from production in 1999 by the way), and can be used to engage kids in play as a headset administers nitrous oxide. The goal is to make anesthetic less frightening, but considering their website appears to be down and no one has mentioned it since this video was released it's fair to say the idea didn't catch on.
4. You Could Get It Blinged Out: Well, not any more, but in 2006 Aspreys of London offered a limited edition 18k gold plated Game Boy with diamonds all around the screen. The piece was priced at $25,000 and weighed more than six times what a not pimped out Game Boy weighed.
3: You Can Sew With It: Singer released a sewing machine called the Isek in 2000. It was a bit on the small side, and perfect for younger users. This was doubly true because it game with a custom Game Boy game with 80 patterns. Just plug your system into the machine and watch it go! You can design and customize with the game, and it even lets you do simple embroidery. These are now very, very expensive on eBay.
2. They Were Ridiculously Tough: Having personally sent a DS cartridge through a washing machine and have it come out working perfectly, I can attest to the craftsmanship that Nintendo adheres to. This Game Boy was in an American barracks in the First Gulf War when it was damaged in a bomb attack. Damaged, but not destroyed. It's now on display in the Nintendo World Store in New York City where it continuously plays Tetris.
1. It Was the First System in Space: Aleksandr A. Serebrov visited the MIR space station in 1993, and like anyone else on a long trip he wanted to take his Game Boy. Anyone that knows space travel knows that weight is very, very important when launching people past the atmosphere, so Serebrov was limited to one game. Appropriately for the Russian, he chose Tetris. All told, the system was in orbit for 196 days, and later sold at auction .