21 struggles only an original Gameboy owner understands



This week marks the 25th anniversary of the release of the original Gameboy.

I remember when it was announced and my friends and I were baffled as to how an entire Nintendo system could possibly fit into your hand. It was amazing at the time, but looking back, there were some serious frustrations that we had to deal with every time we turned on a game.

Here are 21 struggles of owning a Gameboy.

1. Every week you had to ask your mom to buy you 36 AA batteries so you could keep playing Tetris.

2. If you forgot your batteries in it or left it in the car when you went to camp, the batteries would explode and you’d have to scrape acid out of the back of your Gameboy if you ever wanted to play Ken Griffey Jr Baseball again.

3. The screen resolution was adjusted by a wheel on the side that had two options; so light you couldn’t see it or so dark you couldn’t see it. That’s it.

4. If you happen to get the screen set to a resolution where you could actually see, you’d better pray that the sun doesn’t shine through any window in your house or everything is going completely blank.

5. The only way you could see to play it in the car was if you put a blanket over your head, which meant you could see but you were sweating like a pig and it looked like your parents had a pet ghost.

6. There wasn’t a remaining battery percentage anywhere so you never knew how much gameplay time you had left. Instead there was a light that said BATTERY under it. When it lit up you knew you were in trouble.

7. Most of us still have panic attacks thinking of that light turning red. It’s like the eye of a demon staring at you through your bedroom window.

8. At some point your Gameboy stopped working and, after a thorough inspection, you discovered that there was a piece of a Fudge Round in the back where the game cartridges went. You blamed your brother but it was definitely you.

9. If you wanted to carry a Gameboy around you had to buy cargo shorts because no other pocket could ever hold that thing.

10. You know how systems and phones talk about their ability to show millions of colors? The Gameboy boasted four shades of gray. That’s it. You had gray, lighter gray, darker gray, and really dark gray.

11. There was a case you get to protect it, but it was the size and shape of a dog crate. You could seriously carry a small child in that thing and I’m fairly certain it was too big to carry onto a plane.



12. If your Gameboy was like mine, at some point one of your buttons got stuck and so Tetris became impossible because the pieces just kept spinning like a propeller.

13. The original commercial made me think I would be having epic battles against futuristic cyborgs in space. Instead I was sitting in my room alone playing Riddick Bowe Boxing for the 8,000th time.

14. I can’t count how many times I tried to adjust the volume but instead adjusted the brightness, so instead of hearing the announcer a little better on NBA Jam, the screen went blank and you ended up losing to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

15. Apparently the technology didn’t exist to make anything other than white dudes, so when they tried to make Ron Simmons on WCW’s wrestling game he was basically a shadow with pants.



16. You didn’t have endless customization in games like you have today. We had two options. One player or two players and Background music or silence.

17. The size of an iPhone 5 is 4.87 x 2.31 x 0.30 inches. The size of the Gameboy is 3.5 x 5.75 x 1.25, which means the Gameboy is four times as thick as the iPhone and double the width.

18. There was no such thing as wireless play with the Gameboy multiplayer, so if you wanted to go up against your friend you had to pull out a link cable. The problem was that it was so short, if one of you lowered your arms or accidentally turned around the cord would yank out and end your game or it would pull the Gameboy out of your hand and smash on the ground.

19. The first Madden football game didn’t have an NFL license so instead of playing as your favorite NFL superstars you had nameless guys running around in the most unexciting way imaginable. It’s like being a Jacksonville Jaguars’ fan.

20. I love the classic games, but you’ll never be able to convince me that the sports games weren’t awful. If you disagree, please watch this NBA Live 96 gameplay footage.

21. The biggest plus is that it wasn’t the awful Virtual Boy, which had graphics that were just as bad, but it was strapped to your head like a giant pair of red goggles.