The original Game Boy, now 25 years old, was way more than just a revolutionary gaming machine that dominated the market for over a decade. Here are a few things you may not know about Nintendo’s first hand-held.
1. It can survive a bomb blast. That’s right, Game Boys were so sturdy that after one belonging to an American soldier was blown up during bombing in the first Gulf War the unit was still playable. It’s now on display at the Nintendo World Store in New York City.
2. Game Boy was called the Mini Comboy in South Korea. Because South Korea banned the sale of ‘Japanese Cultural Goods’ until 1998 the company worked out a deal with Hyundai to distribute their products there, thus circumventing the law. Hyundai made minor changes such as the name, but other than that the games were identical to the American versions. Watch the ridiculous commercial below.
3. Game Boys can be used as a diagnostic tool for your scooter. It’s not entirely clear how, but if you check out the video below YouTube user stekfly has managed to rig up a Game Boy Color to give him basic diagnostic feedback on his Aprilia SR50.
4. Game Boys can be used to sedate children. This one is a little creepy, but fascinating (video below). Patented in 2004, the Pedisedate was intended to entertain and calm kids while anesthesia was administered. It’s basically a pair of headphones with a nozzle on it for nitrous oxide. Why they chose to incorporate a Color Game Boy which was already discontinued is a mystery. Sadly, this technology was never fully realized.
5. You can use a Game Boy to catch fish. Only available in Japan, the Game Boy Pocket Sonar was a collaboration between Bandai and Honda. According to the box it could detect fish up to 20 meters deep when placed on the surface of the water. But, with feet in two very different worlds the Pocket Sonar never caught on with fishermen nor gamers.
The original Game Boy and Game Boy Color sold a collective 118 million units during their lifetimes. It’s an amazing feat given strong competition from competitors like Sega and Atari. It also propelled Nintendo to the top of the hand-held market where it sits today.