GAME BOY ESSENTIALS

Timeline of Significant Game Boy Events

This list is a work in progress. It is not exhaustive at this point, and serves as a writing aid for my articles. Feel free to contact me with any addition at pl@gameboyessentials.com.

A Note on Europe

Very little information is written in this note that pertains to Europe; this is unfortunately by design. A lot of fundamental research about the release dates of European Game Boy titles is missing. What is available is often only a year, when I want this list to be month by month.

There is also a lack of specificity of the European market; a title could have been released in one year in the UK and the next year in France, while never having been made available in Germany. Assigning a single year to a situation this complex is, in my opinion, peddling false information.

For example, the original European release date of the Game Boy is unsourced on Wikipedia at the time of writing these lines. This means that we must trust Wikipedia to faithfully report on the release date of the Game Boy in Europe. All of the many different countries of Europe, reduced to one unsourced date. I might as well throw a dart at a calendar.

1980

April

Ball, the first Game & Watch, is released in Japan.Japan

1983

July

The Family Computer is released in Japan.Japan

1985

October

The NES is released in the New York market as a test bed for a staggered release of the console. It will see a full North American release in September 1986.North America

1986

September

The NES is released in North America. It was released in a limited fashion starting with the New York market the year before.North America

1989

January

Epyx publicly unveils the Handy at CES, which will become the Lynx later in the year.North America

April

Game Boy is released in Japan for ¥12,500 with Super Mario Land, Alleyway, Baseball, and Yakuman. No game is bundled with the unit, as is customary in Japan.Japan

June

Tetris is released in Japan.Japan

July

Game Boy is released in North America for $90 USD with Super Mario Land, Alleyway, Baseball, and Tennis. Tetris is of course bundled with the system.North America

September

Atari releases the Lynx for $179 in North America.North America

Mickey Mouse is released in Japan, which will become The Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle upon its North American release.Japan

Motocross Maniacs is released in Japan. It is Konami’s first Game Boy title.Japan

Motocross Maniacs is released in North America. It is Konami’s first Game Boy title.Japan

December

Makai Toushi SaGa, the first RPG for the Game Boy, is released in Japan. It will become The Final Fantasy Legend upon its release in North America.Japan

Selection: Erabareshi Mono is released in Japan. It will become The Sword of Hope upon its release in North America.Japan

1990

January

Solar Striker is released in Japan.Japan

February

Nemesis is released in Japan.Japan

Solar Striker is released in North America.North America

March

The Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle is released in North America.North America

April

Nemesis is released in North America.North America

September

The Final Fantasy Legend is released in North America.North America

October

The Sega Game Gear is released in Japan for ¥19,800.Japan

November

The Super Famicom is released in Japan.Japan

December

The TurboExpress is released in Japan for ¥44,800 and North America for $249.JapanNorth America

1991

January

The Japanese version of Operation C, called simply Contra, is released.Japan

February

Operation C is released in North America.North America

March

NEC temporarily raises the price of the TurboExpress due to low screen yields.JapanNorth America

April

The Sega Game Gear is released in North America for $149.North America

June

The Sword of Hope is released in North America by Seika.North America

Seiken Densetsu: Final Fantasy Gaiden is released in Japan. It will become Final Fantasy Adventure upon release in North America.Japan

July

Rockman World is released in Japan. It will become Mega Man: Dr. Wily’s Revenge when it is released in North America.Japan

August

The Super Nintendo is released in North America.North America

October

Mario the Juggler, the last Game & Watch game, is released.JapanNorth America

November

Final Fantasy Adventure is released in North America.North America

Metroid II: Return of Samus is released in North America.North America

December

Rockman World 2, developed by Biox, is released in Japan.Japan

Mega Man: Dr. Wily’s Revenge, developed by Minakuchi Engineering, is released in North America.North America

1992

January

Metroid II: Return of Samus is released in Japan.Japan

February

Mega Man II, developed by Biox, is released in North America.North America

October

Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins is released in Japan.Japan

The price of the Game Boy is decreased by $10 to $80 USD at some point during the year, with the price drop evidently in force during the holiday period.North America

November

Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins is released in North America.North America

1993

June

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening is released in Japan.Japan

August

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening is released in North America.North America

October

The NES Top Loader is released in North America.North America

1994

May

The original DMG-01 Game Boy, after a number of price cuts, ends up at ¥8000 in Japan.Japan

June

Super Game Boy is released in North America and Japan.JapanNorth America

October

In my beloved Québec Christmas Sears catalogue, a Game Boy without any bundled game is sold for 60$ CDN. It appears the system is sold for the same price (USD $60) in the United States.North America

The first Game Boy game to use the ESRB rating system is released. It is Nintendo’s collaboration with Hudson, Wario Blast: Featuring Bomberman! The ESRB was officially unveiled the previous month.North America

November

Unfortunately, Itchy & Scratchy—Miniature Golf Madness is released in North America.North America

1995

February

The first third-party Game Boy game to feature an ESRB rating, Desert Strike: Return to the Gulf, is released. All released Game Boy games will be rated after the end of February.North America

March

Mario’s Picross is released in North America.North America

Mario’s Picross is released in Japan.Japan

Nintendo releases coloured Game Boy models in North America for $60 USD, under the umbrella of the Play It Loud! Campaign. The price was carried over from the regular grey model.North America

April

Game Boy Gallery is released in Europe. I could not confirm which countries in Europe. It is also released in Australia within the same year.Europe

June

Donkey Kong Land is released in North America.North America

July

The Virtual Boy is released in Japan.Japan

Donkey Kong Land is released in Japan as Donkey Kong GB.Japan

August

The Virtual Boy is released in North America.North America

October

The Sega Nomad is released, exclusively in North America, for $180.North America

November

Virtual Boy Wario Land is released in Japan.Japan

Virtual Boy Wario Land is released in North America.North America

1996

March

Tetris 3D, the last North American released Virtual Boy game, marks the end of Nintendo’s support for the console.North America

May

Nintendo announces the Player’s Choice program for SNES and Game Boy. An exhaustive list of Game Boy Players’ Choice and their releases elude me.North America

June

The Nintendo 64 is released in Japan.Japan

July

The Gunpei Yokoi designed Game Boy Pocket is released in Japan for ¥6800.Japan

August

Gunpei Yokoi, father of the Game Boy and general manager of R&D1, leaves Nintendo for his own company, Koto Laboratory.JapanNorth America

September

The Nintendo 64 is released in North America.North America

The Gunpei Yokoi designed Game Boy Pocket is released in North America, retailing for $70 USD, a price increase of $10 compared to the current price of the original model. It also eschews a bundled game.North America

October

Donkey Kong Land 2 is released in North America.North America

November

Donkey Kong Land 2 is released in Japan as Donkey Kong Land: Diddy’s Kong Quest.Japan

The first Bandai developed Tamagotchi is released in Japan. It will be an immediate runaway success.Japan

December

Sonic Blast is released for Game Gear in Japan and North America, the last major release on the console.JapanNorth America

1997

April

The first episode of the Pokémon anime is aired in Japan on TV Tokyo.Japan

May

The first Bandai developed Tamagotchi is released in North America. It was first released the year before in Japan. It will kick-start a fad that will last a couple of years.North America

October

Gunpei Yokoi is killed in a car accident. He was 56.JapanNorth America

1998

January

Super Game Boy 2 is released in Japan only.Japan

April

Sunsoft announces a reprint of all four early Game Boy Squaresoft titles; they have no new features or changes.North America

The Game Boy Light is released exclusively in Japan for the same price as the Game Boy Pocket, ¥6800.Japan

The first episode of the Pokémon anime is aired in the United States on first run syndication.North America

August

Pokémon Yellow Version is released in Japan.Japan

October

The Game Boy Color is released in Japan for ¥8900.Japan

November

The Game Boy Color is released in North America with Tetris DX, Wario Land II and Pocket Bomberman as release titles.North America

1999

March

The Wonderswan, designed by Gunpei Yokoi’s Koto Laboratory, is released in Japan.North America

May

Super Mario Bros. Deluxe is released in North America. It is according to my own research the first Game Boy Color-only release in North America.North America

September

Pokémon Yellow Version is released in North America. It is the last cartridge released in North America using the Game Boy wordmark on the box. It is Game Boy Color enhanced, however.North America

2000

March

Super Mario Bros. Deluxe is released in Japan as a Nintendo Power kiosk release.Japan

April

Heroes of Might & Magic is released in North America.North America

October

Heroes of Might & Magic is released in Europe.Europe

December

Heroes of Might & Magic II is released in North America.North America

The Wonderswan Color is released in Japan.Japan

2001

February

Disney⋅Pixar Toy Story Racer is released in North America.North America

Majesco Entertainment announces a budget rerelease of the Game Gear priced at $30 with reissues of ten games priced at $15 each.North America

March

Dragon Warrior Monsters 2 is released in Japan. It is the last cartridge compatible with the original Game Boy.Japan

Heroes of Might & Magic II is released in Europe.Europe

Disney⋅Pixar Toy Story Racer is released in Europe.Europe

The Game Boy Advance is released in Japan for ¥9800.North America

June

3D Pocket Pool is released in Europe.Europe

The Game Boy Advance is released in Europe.Europe

The Game Boy Advance is released in North America.North America

September

Dragon Warrior Monsters 2 is released in North America. It is the last cartridge compatible with the original Game Boy.North America

2002

February

The Game Boy Advance receives a price cut in Japan. It is now sold for ¥8800.Japan

July

The SwanCrystal is released in Japan.Japan

November

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is released in North America. It is the last North American Game Boy Color game. This is the true end of the Game Boy era, since from this point on all future events relate to Game Boy compatibility as a feature of Game Boy Advance systems.North America

2003

February

The Game Boy Advance SP is released in Japan for ¥12,500.Japan

March

The Game Boy Advance SP is released in North America.North America

The Game Boy Player is released in Japan.Japan

June

The Game Boy Player is released in North America.North America

2004

September

The Game Boy Advance SP is reduced in price in Japan, the US and Canada. It is now sold for $79 USD, down from $99, or ¥9800 in Japan.JapanNorth America

2005

September

The backlit Game Boy Advance SP (model AGS-101) is released in North America. It is never made available in Japan. Colour variants will be released at later dates, but this will be the last new system to support Game Boy cartridges.North America

The Game Boy Micro is released for $99 USD in North America. It does not play Game Boy cartridges, being limited to Game Boy Advance titles.North America

2007

April

In its financial statements, Nintendo forecasts no sales of Game Boy Advance hardware going forward, and forecasts eight million software sales for the next financial year. This means no new Game Boy Advance hardware is produced, and only stock already on shelves is still sold.JapanNorth AmericaEurope