The Game Boy is an 8-bit handheld video game device developed and manufactured by Nintendo. It was released in North America on July 31, 1989. It is the first handheld console in the Game Boy line, and was created by Gunpei Yokoi and Nintendo’s Research and Development. It was originally bundled with the puzzle game Tetris. Despite many other handheld consoles introduced during its lifetime, the Game Boy was a tremendous success.
The Game Boy has four operation buttons labeled “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 on the left side to adjust the contrast. A sliding on-off switch and the slot for the Game Boy cartridges are located at the top of the Game Boy.
The Game Boy also contains optional input and/or output connectors. On the left side of the system is an external power supply jack that allows users to use an external rechargeable battery pack or AC adapter instead of four AA batteries. The Game Boy requires 6 V DC of at least 250 mA. A 3.5 mm stereo headphone jack is located on the bottom side of the console which allows users to listen to the audio with headphones or speakers.
On the right side is a port that allows a user to connect to another Game Boy system via a link cable, provided both users are playing the same game. The port can also be used to connect a Game Boy Printer. The link cable was originally designed for players to play head-to-head two-player games such as in Tetris. However, game developer Satoshi Tajiri would later use the link cable technology as a method of communication and networking in the popular Pokémon video game series.
- 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 flavor 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 STN LCD 160 × 144 pixels
- Frame Rate: Approx. 59.7 frames per second on a regular Game Boy, 61.1 on a Super Game Boy
- Vertical Blank Rate: Approx 1.1ms
- Screen size: 2.6 in diagonal
- Color Palette: 2-bit (4 shades of “gray” (light to very dark olive green))
- 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 ~14–35 hours)
- Dimensions: 3.5″ x 5.8″ 1.3″