Summer CES 1989: Game Boy Coming To America
We had previously reported on the Japanese launch of Nintendo’s new portable gaming machine, Game Boy, and now we’re excited to confirm that the new handheld will arrive this August in America! Not only that, but we’re getting a much better deal with pack-in content.
Nintendo’s micro-sized gaming machine accepts special game cartridges, just like the NES does. Except these are tiny little gray pieces of plastic that fit into the top of the Game Boy. These mini Game Paks will retail for $19.99 – $24.99 and there will be several of them at launch, including a brand new Mario game called Super Mario Land. What’s that? Mario’s not packed in? Nope!
Tetris gets the honors of being the software packed-in with the Game Boy. The system will retail for $89.95 and will come with a copy of Tetris for free. This addictive puzzle game has been all the rage across the world on PC and now the obsession will be even greater than ever with the ability to play anywhere!
In addition to the Game Boy handheld system and Tetris, the retail package will include 4 AA batteries, a set of earbuds (stereo sound!), and a special Video Link cable. This wire can be attached to two separate Game Boy systems to allow for two players to game head-to-head! Tetris supports this mode, as do other games like Tennis and Baseball. These games are somewhat superior to their NES counterparts thanks to the ability for each player to see the game from their own perspectives.
Game Boy features a monochrome LCD dot-matrix display. There’s a contrast dial on the side of the system to adjust the picture clarity to your liking. It does not feature a backlit screen, which could cause a host of issues when trying to play in low light. We’ve had an early look at some third party accessories that look to remedy the situation, but no announcements have been made as of yet.
Nintendo won’t be the only one releasing a new handheld this year. Atari is coming out with its Atari Portable Color Entertainment System (that name just rolls off the tongue). It’s going to cost somewhere around $150 and features a full color display, which can be played in total darkness. The edge definitely goes to Atari in the technology department, but the question remains whether or not the higher price tag and software lineup can even begin to compete with the powerhouse that is Nintendo.
No matter what, we’re excited to see improvement in the portable gaming sector. Handheld gaming is about to grow up and we can’t wait to see what’s in store! Will you be picking up either system? Let us know in the comments below!
Craig has been covering the video game industry since 1995. His work has been published across a wide spectrum of media sites. He’s currently the Editor-In-Chief of Nintendo Times and contributes to Gaming Age.