For as long as I can remember, I have been enjoying Nintendo games wherever I go. Thanks to the Nintendo Switch, more people than ever are now doing the same. As shiny and new as the Switch still feels to us, Nintendo began this domination of the handheld gaming market three decades ago today — a mastery which has only grown stronger.

The Game Boy launched in Japan on April 21, 1989, hitting North America a few months later and eventually reaching European hands almost a year later. It quickly became a cultural icon, one which is still widely recognized and beloved thirty years later.

When I was four years old, some incredibly kind soul my dad worked with gave him a Game Boy, complete with a case and a ton of games, to give to me. I was very fortunate to have games like Tetris, Super Mario Land 1 and 2, Wario Land 1 and 2, Mario & Yoshi and Bubble Bobble all at once, and I didn’t take it for granted. I put hours into this dot matrix machine, and it sparked an obsession with games that would last a lifetime.

Then, of course, we saw the incredible, worldwide phenomenon that is Pokemon begin with the Game Boy, and it was also home to the first handheld Zelda game (and my first Zelda game ever), Link’s Awakening. The Game Boy was going strong for a solid nine years before it saw a successor (not including subsequent versions of the original model, such as the Game Boy Pocket and the Japan-exclusive Game Boy Light) with the Game Boy Color. A lifespan of this caliber is crazy to think about now, considering that most console generations have typically lasted considerably less.

From now through the following week, we’re going to be celebrating this incredible milestone with related articles in our regular columns. As usual, I have some tantalizing trivia to share, so stay tuned!

What are your fondest memories of the original Game Boy?

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