Happy birthday Game Boy: Nintendo's handheld turns 25

25 years ago, Nintendo released a bulky grey block featuring a 2-bit screen and interchangeable game cartridges. Called the Game Boy, it subsequently changed handheld gaming forever.

Gamers backs in the 1980s were used to having handheld consoles that featured only one game. Mixing elements of the already popular NES and Game & Watch, the Game Boy launched bundled with classic puzzle game Tetris.

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Powered by an 8-bit processor, clocking in at a dizzying (at the time) 4.19MHz, and featuring 8KB of RAM, the new handheld was years ahead of the other devices on the market. Sega attempted to challenge the Game Boy's supremacy a year on, but failed miserably, despite its Game Gear being better on paper.

The Game Boy's durability, affordable price tag, innovation and extensive library of games gave it a head start on all the competition. Over its 10-year lifecycle, the Game Boy saw over 800 game releases, according to DigitalSpy.

In 1996, Nintendo released two games that would go on to fully cement the Game Boy's place in history - Pokemon Blue and Pokemon Red - instantly laying the foundations for a billion-dollar franchise.

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The Game Boy experienced a number of redesigns, too, with the Super Game Boy TV plug-in, Game Boy Pocket and, in time, the Game Boy Colour. This all paved the way for the handhelds that would follow, right up to the Nintendo 3DS today.

Happy birthday, Game Boy.

Image credit: Flickr (Audrey & Max)