Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Death of the Gameboy

George Harrison recently released a statement, suggesting that Nintendo may never return to the gameboy again, as the Nintendo DS appears to have taken over. This idea has been in the minds of gamers ever since Nintendo announced their newest handheld and it launched in 2004. But never, has a Nintendo executive yet said that it was likely to happen.

The original Nintendo Gameboy launched in 1989 with a price tag of $170, bundled with Tetris, which became an instant classic in the hearts of gamers. The handheld was the first of its kind. It was black and white and only in 8-bit graphics, but it worked smoothly with a satisfyingly long battery. It was these two advantages that put it over the competition such as the Atari Lynx, which had over twice the graphical resolution (with color) of the gameboy. The lynx, however, was unstable and the battery could only manage around 90 minutes of life or less.

Then, as technology advanced, Nintendo was able to slowly add more to their gameboys, taking what some gamers thought was the safe route by only using technology that was very familiar and comfortable rather than putting the newest hardware into their systems (as they still do today). Then, after a few years Gameboy Color came out in its 16-bit color display. It too, took the gaming world by storm. And eventually, by 2001 they released the last major step of the gameboy, the Gameboy Advance with new shoulder buttons added and a nicely done 32-bit display, and the ability to play all past gameboy games on the device.

Over the years, Nintendo branched out with their gameboys, releasing slightly improved models, such as the Gameboy Pocket and the Gameboy Advance SP. The last model of the gameboy released was the 2nd model of the Gameboy Advance SP, with the only difference being a brighter backlight than its predecessor, and features of every previous gameboy (with the exception of the removable faceplate of the Gameboy Micro, which many gamers saw as a joke).

Then, in 2004 Nintendo began to change their focus to expand to not only gamers, but everyone. And Mr. Satoru Iwata (currently the worldwide Nintendo President) said the only way to expand the audience by as much as they wanted to, was to release the device with a brand-new game and image. And they also included a Gameboy Advance slot at the bottom of the device so that, in case the device flopped, it would have something to fall back on (though gameboy color and original gameboy game were unsupported). But it did not flop and it soon overshadowed the gameboy, with over twice the graphics on two screens, a touch screen, a longer chargeable lithium-ion battery, a brighter backlight, and using SD cards rather than their traditional cartridges (though the SD cards were modified so they would not fit into any other SD slot).

In George Harrison's statement he said:
"This year in our marketing you really won't see much push against Game Boy itself, so it will kind of seek its own level. It's hard to say in the future if we will ever bring back the Game Boy trademark.

"It was a big risk for us to actually pass on it and call the new product the Nintendo DS, but it was part of Mr. Iwata's philosophy that if we're going to make a radical difference and try to reach a new audience, then we have to change the name... we had to make a break even though we had one of the greatest trademarks in the history of the industry."

So, I'm sorry to say, that it is incredibly likely, that the rumored Gameboy Evolution may never be released.

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