In 1989, Nintendo released the original Game Boy as one of the world's first handheld game consoles and it sold over 100 million units worldwide. The console was distinguishable by its green screen and although it was not as powerful as its competition the Gameboy became an instant favourite due to its high-quality design and games. Among the games at release was Super Mario Land which was the first Mario game to be released on a handheld console. A few years later Pokemon also made its debut with the Red and Green versions which were to become instant classics.
Game Boy Color
In 1998, the Gameboy Color was released into the Nintendo family and it offered a full-colour screen as opposed to the original monochrome screen which featured on the original. This was a hugely popular release and it shipped almost 120 million units and it was only beaten by the release of the Playstation 2 and Nintendo DS. One of the things which made the Color so popular was that it was backwards compatible with the original console, this meant that on release it already had a large library of games and existing owners of the Gameboy could still play the games which they had got familiar with.
Game Boy Advance/Advance SP
The Game Boy Advance was released in 2001 and with new hardware, it offered a whole new range of games which were not playable on the older consoles. The Advance was also the first landscape Gameboy with the buttons either side of the screen as opposed to below. The screen, however, was not backlit but this was then changed with the release of the Advance SP. The Sp was released in 2003 and when folded it was half the size of the GBA making it a very portable device and offering the screen good protection. The SP was also capable of playing all the older Gameboy games but it wasn’t in the spotlight long as the Nintendo DS was released the year after.
The DS was released in 2004 and it offered the player two LCD screens with the bottom one being touch screen which added a whole new dynamic to Nintendo games. Wifi was also included and it allowed players to wirelessly connect with each other over short distances which further enhanced the playing experience of the Nintendo DS. Although the DS was not fully backwards compatible it did offer the option to play GBA advance titles. The Nintendo DS ended up being the second best selling console of all time with 154 million units being sold worldwide.
In 2010, Nintendo announced its 3DS and this was the first console capable of offering 3d effects without having to use 3D glasses or any other accessories. The 3DS once more offered backwards compatibility but only for older Nintendo DS games and not for any Gameboy games. The 3DS also had various redesigns including a larger sized XL, a flat tablet design in the 2DS and in 2014 an upgraded version was released with better specs than the original.
The Nintendo Switch was released in 2017 as a hybrid console capable of being used on the go or on a TV by connecting it to a dock. The dock made it possible for it to be used as a console with players using the detachable Joy-Cons as controllers to play the games. The Joy-Cons even offer motion sensor and tactile feedback very similar to the Wii remote to give players an even greater experience. The Switch became the fastest-selling home console and its success is mainly attributed to its game titles such as Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Pokemon: Let’s Go.
Nintendo Switch Lite
The Nintendo Switch Lite is due to be released in September and it offers a cheaper buy-in for the Nintendo range but it lacks a few features. Mainly of which is the ability to connect to a TV as it is a portable only device. There is also no detachable Joy-Cons which some games require in order to use motion sensing. It’s hard to tell how successful this model will be before release but it will offer a cheaper alternative for people really wanting to play the Nintendo titles.
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