Blast from the past.

June 14, 2007

I made a fantastic discovery the other day. We had been discussing them fondly in work, you see, and it led me to wonder what had happened to mine. I was sure I still had it. My NES and Super NES were both long gone, I knew, but surely I wouldn’t have gotten rid of this? A look on top of my wardrobe revealed the padded black case that had been a permanent fixture slung over my shoulder all those years ago. I took it down, blew an impressive amount of dust off the top (almost triggering off an asthma attack in the process) and, with some reverence, opened the case to reveal my prize.

My old, original Nintendo Game Boy.

Naturally, hand-held games consoles have advanced a staggering amount since the days of yore. Just look at the PSP – it’s a brilliant piece of technology. The first time I picked one up I was amazed at the quality of the graphics and sound, even more amazed at the quality of the video playback, and genuinely liked the look of the console itself. Very stylish. Throw in Wi-Fi as well and as I said, you’ve got a fantastic piece of technology in your hands. And it’s only going to get more advanced – there are rumours of a slimmer, lighter PSP coming out that is getting rid of its optical drive completely (something I’m sure all the people who’ve been buying UMD films will just love) in favour of flash memory and games downloads. Unfortunately though, as a games console, the PSP utterly fails. Why? Because essentially it’s a PS2 you can carry around, and PS2 games need analogue controls. Which the PSP doesn’t have. Can you imagine it with two analogue sticks incorporated into it? It would be impossible to hold and play comfortably, which I imagine is the reason why Sony left them out in the first place. And so PSP versions of games designed for the PS2 are utterly terrible to play, because they’re just not designed with the faithful D-Pad in mind. And this is why the DS Lite works. Yes it has a touch-screen interface and many of its games are designed around that, but it also has the core principle that made the original Game Boy so great – simple games that utilise simple controls.

I’m not sure what it is, but there’s something about my Game Boy that just feels right. It’s big, but the shape and size of it feel right in my hands. It’s heavy by today’s standards but it feels sturdy. The controls are in just the right places. Maybe it’s these things, or maybe it’s the other little endearing details as well: the rubbery, best-feeling start and select buttons ever; the monochrome screen that you have to tilt to find just the right angle to see it properly; the “stereo sound” logo above the screen that for some reason isn’t centred; the audible buzz from the batteries when you first turn it on; that classic little “ding” sound as the Nintendo logo drops down. But most of all, it has Tetris. The classic, Game Boy version of Tetris is probably in the top ten list of most hardcore gamers favourite games ever, and for good reason. Tetris defines what the Game Boy is all about: a simple concept, easy to control, terrific fun and fiendishly addictive. When I’d popped some fresh batteries into my GB and switched it on (to my delight, it still worked) I thought I’d have a quick go for nostalgia’s sake. Twenty minutes later I’m on level 8 with 86 lines, utterly absorbed. God knows how many hours I spent as a kid staring at that tiny screen, frantically rotating the blocks trying to score a four-line Tetris just so I could hear the crazy sound-effect you get when it happens. There are very few games that can claim to be as addictive as Tetris. Pokemon Red is one of them, which I also owned (and I made MewTwo my bitch, mwa ha ha).

So I’m sorry. As big a fan of technology as I am, when it comes to hand-held consoles I’m rooted firmly in the past. You can take your colour screens and next-gen visuals and your Wi-Fi multiplayer connectivity. I’ll take my old Game Boy and Tetris every time. Now, who’s got a link cable?



  1. whoa! I used to have one too, think it broke eventually though and I had to get rid of it T__T I use to play The Simpsons video game for hours! Also tetris, I was addicted. XD

  2. all the ps2 games

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  3. Thank you!

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