In Pictures: The history of the Game Boy

  • Perhaps the first real push by Nintendo to reach a broader market, the Game Boy Micro, released in 2005, was a sleek and fashionable unit designed to appeal to casual and female gamers as much as the traditional male Game Boy audience.

  • Third was the Game Boy Color, which came to market in 1998, and was the first Nintendo handheld to support colour. This one here was a special edition Pokemon design.

  • The DSi was released in 2008, and offered even more upgrades on the basic DS hardware - two cameras for taking photos and enhancing gameplay, SD card slot for storing music, photos and games, and an online shop for buying cheap downloadable games.

  • The Game Boy Advance SP hit markets two years later, in 2003, and was notable in offering a self-lit screen for the first time in Game Boy history (previously finding good lighting condiditons for play was a real challenge at times). It was also the first to use a rechargable, in-built battery.

  • The first true successor to the Game Boy was the Game Boy Advance. The upgrade in power was significant, and the console had additional buttons to allow more complex gaming.

  • The DS like came next, released in 2006, and was a small upgrade on the original DS, with improved screens and a smaller form factor.

  • The original Game Boy was first released in 1989, and quickly became the dominant handheld console, despite being extremely limited in terms of tech specs.

  • Nintendo retired the Game Boy brand (with the exception of the Micro) for the new Nintendo DS console in 2004. It was a real revolution - two screens, one of them a touch screen, online play and even more buttons to play with. It is now the best selling Nintendo franchise of all time.

  • Nintendo followed up the Game Boy (or "grey brick," as it was affectionately known) with the Game Boy Pocket in 1996. Not much more powerful, but sleeker.

  • The final model of DS - the DSi XL, is available in Japan, but won't be released in Australia until April. It's the same basic console as the DSi, but much bigger for people who struggled with the DS's relatively tiny viewing portals.

  • The 3DS will be the first console since the Virtual Boy, released in 1995, to offer 3D gameplay experiences. The Virtual Boy failed badly, but one assumes Nintendo won't repeat history.

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