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

1983

July

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.

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.

1989

January

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

April

June

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.

September

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

Atari releases the Lynx for $179 in North America.

December

1990

January

February

Solar Striker is released in North America.

March

The Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle is released in North America.

April

Nemesis is released in North America.

September

The Final Fantasy Legend is released in North America.

October

November

December

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

1991

January

February

Operation C is released in North America.

March

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

April

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

June

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

July

August

The Super Nintendo is released in North America.

October

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

November

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

Final Fantasy Adventure is released in North America.

Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters is released in North America. It will never be released in Japan.

December

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

1992

January

February

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

May

Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters is released in Europe. It will never be released in Japan.

July

Wave Race is released in North America. It will later be rereleased as a Players’ Choice.

October

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.

November

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

1993

June

August

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

October

The NES Top Loader is released in North America.

1994

May

June

Super Game Boy is released in North America and Japan.

October

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.

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.

November

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

March

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.

Mario’s Picross is released in 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.

June

Donkey Kong Land is released in North America.

July

August

The Virtual Boy is released in North America.

October

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

November

Virtual Boy Wario Land is released in North America.

1996

March

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

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.

June

July

August

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

September

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.

The Nintendo 64 is released in North America.

October

Donkey Kong Land 2 is released in North America.

November

December

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

1997

April

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.

June

Wave Race is released in Europe.

October

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

1998

January

April

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

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

August

October

November

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

1999

March

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

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.

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.

2000

March

April

Heroes of Might & Magic is released in North America.

July

Warlocked is released in North America. Even though it is published by Nintendo, it will never see a release in Japan or Europe.

October

Heroes of Might & Magic is released in Europe.

December

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

2001

February

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

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

March

Disney⋅Pixar Toy Story Racer is released in Europe.

Heroes of Might & Magic II is released in Europe.

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

June

3D Pocket Pool is released in Europe.

The Game Boy Advance is released in Europe.

The Game Boy Advance is released in North America.

September

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

November

The Pokémon Mini, the diminutive portable console dedicated to Pokémon games was released in North America. It will fail to find any success in the market.

December

2002

February

March

The Pokémon Mini, the diminutive portable console was released in Europe.

July

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.

2003

February

March

The Game Boy Advance SP is released in North America.

June

The Game Boy Player is released in 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.

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.

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.

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. Nintendo has closed the books on the Game Boy name.

1980

April

1983

July

1989

April

June

September

December

1990

January

February

October

November

December

1991

January

March

June

July

October

December

1992

January

October

1993

June

1994

May

June

1995

March

July

November

1996

June

July

August

November

December

1997

April

October

1998

January

April

August

October

2000

March

December

2001

March

December

2002

February

July

2003

February

March

2004

September

2007

April

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.

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.

1989

January

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

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.

September

Atari releases the Lynx for $179 in North America.

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

1990

February

Solar Striker is released in North America.

March

The Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle is released in North America.

April

Nemesis is released in North America.

September

The Final Fantasy Legend is released in North America.

December

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

1991

February

Operation C is released in North America.

March

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

April

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

June

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

August

The Super Nintendo is released in North America.

October

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

November

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

Final Fantasy Adventure is released in North America.

Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters is released in North America. It will never be released in Japan.

December

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

1992

February

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

July

Wave Race is released in North America. It will later be rereleased as a Players’ Choice.

October

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.

November

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

1993

August

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

October

The NES Top Loader is released in North America.

1994

June

Super Game Boy is released in North America and Japan.

October

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.

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.

November

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

March

Mario’s Picross is released in North America.

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.

June

Donkey Kong Land is released in North America.

August

The Virtual Boy is released in North America.

October

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

November

Virtual Boy Wario Land is released in North America.

1996

March

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

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.

August

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

September

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.

The Nintendo 64 is released in North America.

October

Donkey Kong Land 2 is released in North America.

December

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

1997

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.

October

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

1998

April

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

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

November

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

1999

March

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

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.

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.

2000

April

Heroes of Might & Magic is released in North America.

July

Warlocked is released in North America. Even though it is published by Nintendo, it will never see a release in Japan or Europe.

December

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

2001

February

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

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

March

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

June

The Game Boy Advance is released in North America.

September

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

November

The Pokémon Mini, the diminutive portable console dedicated to Pokémon games was released in North America. It will fail to find any success in the market.

2002

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.

2003

March

The Game Boy Advance SP is released in North America.

June

The Game Boy Player is released in 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.

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.

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.

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. Nintendo has closed the books on the Game Boy name.

1992

May

Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters is released in Europe. It will never be released in Japan.

1995

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.

1997

June

Wave Race is released in Europe.

2000

October

Heroes of Might & Magic is released in Europe.

2001

March

Heroes of Might & Magic II is released in Europe.

Disney⋅Pixar Toy Story Racer is released in Europe.

June

The Game Boy Advance is released in Europe.

3D Pocket Pool is released in Europe.

2002

March

The Pokémon Mini, the diminutive portable console was released in Europe.

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. Nintendo has closed the books on the Game Boy name.