Nintendo Game Boy

 Home > Browse Our Collection > Games Consoles > Nintendo > Nintendo Game Boy

The Game Boy is an 8-bit, fourth-generation, handheld video game console developed and manufactured by Nintendo. It was released in Japan on April 21, 1989, in North America in August 1989, and in Europe in 1990. In Southern Asia, it is known as the "Tata Game Boy" It is the first handheld console in the Game Boy line. It was created by Gunpei Yokoi and Nintendo's Research and Development — the same staff who had designed the Game & Watch series as well as several popular games for the NES.

The Game Boy was Nintendo's second handheld system following the Game & Watch series introduced in 1980. It combined features from both the Nintendo Entertainment System and Game and Watch. It was also the first handheld game to use video game cartridges since Milton Bradley's Microvision handheld console. It was originally bundled with the puzzle game Tetris.

Despite many other technologically-superior handheld consoles introduced during its lifetime, the Game Boy was a tremendous success. The Game Boy and Game Boy Color combined have sold 118.69 million units worldwide. Upon its release in the United States, it sold its entire shipment of one million units within weeks.

The Game Boy's main controls for playing games are located on the lower half of its front frame. The Game Boy has four operation buttons labelled "A", "B", "SELECT", and "START" as well as a directional pad. There is a volume control dial on the right side of the console and a similar knob to adjust the contrast on the left side. A sliding on-off switch, as well as the slot for the Game Boy cartridges are located at the top of the Game Boy. Normally, users leave the cartridge in the system as recommended by Nintendo to prevent dust and dirt from entering the system.

* CPU: Custom 8-bit Sharp LR35902 core at 4.19 MHz which is similar to an Intel 8080 in that all of the registers introduced in the Z80 are not present. However, some of the Z80's instruction set enhancements over the stock 8080, particularly bit manipulation, are present. Still other instructions are unique to this particular flavour of Z80 CPU. The core also contains integrated sound generation
* RAM: 8 kB internal S-RAM
* Video RAM: 8 kB internal
* ROM: On-CPU-Die 256-byte bootstrap; 256 kb, 512 kb, 1 Mb, 2 Mb, 4 Mb and 8 Mb cartridges
* Sound: 2 Square Waves, 1 programmable 32-sample 4-bit PCM Wave, 1 White noise, and one audio input from the cartridge. The unit only has one speaker, but headphones provide stereo sound
* Display: Reflective LCD 160 × 144 pixels
* Screen size: 66 mm (2.6 in) diagonal
* Color Palette: 4 shades of grey
* Communication: Up to 2 Game Boys can be linked together via built-in serial ports, up to 4 with a DMG-07 4-player adapter. More than 4 players is possible by chaining adapters.
* Power: 6 V, 0.7 W (4 AA batteries provide ~35 hours)
* Dimensions: 90 mm (W) x 148 mm (H) x 32 mm (D) / 3.5" x 5.8" 1.3" (in)

Manufacturer: Nintendo
Date: November 1990

This exhibit has a reference ID of CH4033. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.

Nintendo Game Boy

  Games Archive   [81]
  Software Archive   [1]

Click on the Image(s) For Detail

User Submitted Articles

Add Your Article >>>

Help support the museum by buying from the museum shop

View all items

Founding Sponsors
redgate Google ARM Real VNC Microsoft Research
Heritage Lottery Funded
Heritage Lottery Fund
Accredited Museum