Click here for Part 1.
Eventually, the Game Boy did finally enter my household to stay, thanks to getting married to another avid Nintendo fan. Through her, I now have the original brick Game Boy, which she had long before owning an NES, as well as the handheld’s later evolution, the Game Boy Color.
After we had been married for a short time and came to own a GameCube, we still did not have the portable hardware’s next true evolution, the Game Boy Advance. In a funny sort of way, it was almost as though history were repeating itself, as we were often strapped for cash, unable to afford Nintendo’s 32-bit hardware.
Thankfully, the very same friend who allowed me to borrow his original Game Boy for the California trip elected to give us his Game Boy Player. Soon, we were back in business, playing titles such as Metroid: Zero Mission on our television through the GameCube.
Unfortunately, but for the ability to run Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance games on the TV, it was a bit lacking next to the Super Game Boy, as the custom color palettes could not be applied to the classic Game Boy titles, nor were the borders which were programmed into a number of Game Boy titles usable on it.
Regardless, to this day, the adapter remains affixed to the bottom of Nintendo’s purple box.
Eventually, we were able to begin climbing past our financial stumbling blocks, and decided to look into joining the world of cellphones. Looking into the matter, I struck upon some tremendous fortune.
A Rogers Video (Canadian video rental store/cable/cellphone place) near where my wife worked at the time had a special of some sort going which involved giving new customers who signed up a free gift: a Game Boy Advance SP (in silver), and one free game.
After some negotiating for a phone deal better suited for my wife and I, the seller was all-too willing to give me that Game Boy Advance SP. In addition, I received a copy of Pac-Man Collection (which I soon learned, out of curiosity, was only worth a dollar for trade-in at the Blockbuster in which I worked at the time) and a pair of cheap MP3 players that broke soon after.
Still, I was quite satisfied. At long last, I finally had a Game Boy of my very own; not one that belonged to my wife, not one that was borrowed from a friend, not one which required a TV to play. But an honest-to-God, true, portable Game Boy.
And I almost never left the house without it, purchasing a protective case that would fit on my belt, thus allowing me to be ready to game anytime, anywhere. This was especially handy when waiting at the doctor’s office, for a bus or subway, and numerous other places where waiting was intolerable.
Ironically, it was not long after that Nintendo released the limited edition NES Classic themed GBA SP. I find it almost horribly ironic at how the NES Classic GBA SP was one of the only times that it seemed a “limited edition” piece of hardware truly was limited. And soon, they were nowhere to be found. Personally, I still want one.
Perhaps even more ironic is that Nintendo would soon reveal the platform that would put the Game Boy brand to rest after a nearly two-decade run at the top of the portable gaming world: the Nintendo DS. It was a little slow to start and even had a slot for Game Boy Advance games, but after the DS was released, the writing was on the wall where the Game Boy was concerned. Nintendo tried to prolong its lifespan with the Game Boy Micro, but the effort was all but futile: consumers the world over made it known that the Nintendo DS was the future.
As usual, I was a little slow to jump into the next level of portable gaming: the DS had been out for about a year before the wife and I finally decided to take the plunge, deciding that the special Hot Rod Red bundle packaged with Mario Kart DS would be the perfect place to jump in. Much to my surprise, yet another good friend would supply an imported graphite-colored DS unit, allowing us to play head-to-head. Since then, there has been the DS Lite and the DSi, and I’ll likely get the latter at some point in the future (though I wish it came in the Crimson/Onyx color scheme of one DS Lite version).
But even now, with the DS at the forefront as my constant traveling companion, I still treasure my Game Boy Advance SP, my first real Game Boy. Nor has it been relegated to a closed drawer or closet somewhere, as I still play it– after all, my DS won’t play original Game Boy and Game Boy Color games. And if I do move to DSi, that won’t play even the Game Boy Advance games, either.
In fact, it was only a little more than two months ago that I made my latest Game Boy acquisition: the elusive and valuable Mega Man 5 for the Game Boy, complete with Super Game Boy color and border options. This one is the real jewel of the Game Boy Mega Man series, as it features an entirely original cast of enemy boss characters, the Stardroids. And while there was no box or booklet, I still managed to get it at a steal for $9.99. I would have gotten it when it was on store shelves so many years ago, except that it seemed to disappear from my area as quickly as it had appeared.
It is with this that I say “happy 20th anniversary, Game Boy.” Your reign is one that I will not soon forget, and I’ll always remember the good times, and continue to pursue more of the ones I had missed.