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28 Years of Christmas
1994: The Game Boy Just Won't Go Away
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on December 10, 2002   |   Episode 15 (Show Archive)  

The Scoop: By 1994, everybody knew what the GameBoy could and could not do. It had eaten up the competition, no matter if it was the Lynx, GameGear, or Turbo Express. But nine years after the N.E.S. had been released, eight bit systems had come and gone, and the world was just about ready to get rid of their 16 bitters.

So Nintendo made an executive decision. Instead of releasing a brand new portable that could take advantage of the advancements in technology since 1989, Nintendo opted to release something called the Super GameBoy.

The Super GameBoy was an extremely large cartridge that had a slot built to house a GameBoy game. This device fit into your Super NES and played your GameBoy games on the television. You could also add colors and backgrounds, as well as buy game specifically designed to take advantage of these features. Upon release, the Super GameBoy was priced at $59.99, and sold marginally well.

The Other Side: Let's face it; we really didn't need the Super GameBoy. I mean, between 1990 and 1993, there were less than ten good games on the portable. And adding a limited amount of colors to the system shouldn't have been that important. I mean, the Lynx, GameGear, and Turbo Express had done it all years earlier. And at least two of those systems were 16 bit. I could probably go on for hours complaining about the way the GameBoy muscled out the competition. But I won't, not in this article, at least.

The Impact: In 1993 the GameBoy was all but dead. Licensees were starting to cut back, and the bulky system was really showing it's age. The release of the Super GameBoy actually resurrected interest in the aging portable. Companies like Capcom, Acclaim, Konami, and many others actually started looking at the portable as a viable home for their games, despite the age of the system.

The Super GameBoy essentially added another six years to the life of an already ancient system. It led the way to its portable counterpart, the GameBoy Color. The hardware was basically the same, however it allowed for color. Between 1994 and 2000, a number of high quality apps would find their way to the system. Games like Donkey Kong Country, Pokemon, Metal Gear Solid, and especially the two Legend of Zelda games.

Where Are They Now?: Nintendo would wait years until they released their GameBoy Advance, and even when it arrived it was not exactly the stellar leap in technology gamers were expecting. Regardless, with a Mario remake, and a number of big name titles, the GameBoy Advance had an impressive showing, and is still bringing huge numbers. This Thanksgiving Nintendo reported a million units sold over the week, and so much software, it boggles the mind.

Perhaps the big news, however, is that Nintendo will be releasing a GameCube peripheral that will allow gamers to play "most" of their GameBoy Advance games through the GameCube. This 'GameBoy Advance Player' will attach to the bottom of the GameCube, and offers a few minor upgrades to the games. However, in a puzzling move, one that reminds me a little bit of the Virtual Boy, this GBA Player will turn off after a certain amount of time.


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