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. Might as well throw a dart at a calendar.

1980

April

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

1983

July

The Family Computer is released in Japan.

1986

September

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

1989

January

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

April

Game Boy is released in Japan with Super Mario Land, Alleyway, Baseball, and Yakuman.

June

Tetris is released in Japan.

July

Game Boy is released in North America with Super Mario Land, Alleyway, Baseball, Tetris and Tennis.

September

Atari releases the Lynx for 179$ in North America.

September

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

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.

December

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

1990

January

Solar Striker is released in Japan.

February

Solar Striker is released in North America.

February

Nemesis is released in Japan.

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

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

November

The Super Famicom is released in Japan.

December

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

1991

January

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

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.

1993

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 to feature the ESRB rating system, which was unveiled the previous month in the United States, is released. It is Nintendo’s collaboration with Hudson, Wario Blast: Featuring Bomberman!

1995

February

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

March

The Play It Loud! Game Boy models are released in North America.

July

The Virtual Boy is released in Japan.

August

The Virtual Boy is released in North America.

October

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

November

Virtual Boy Wario Land is released in North America.

November

Virtual Boy Wario Land is released in Japan.

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 eludes me.

June

The Nintendo 64 is released in Japan.

July

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

August

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

September

The Nintendo 64 is released in North America.

September

The Gunpei Yokoi designed Game Boy Pocket 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 kickstart a fad that will last a couple of years.

October

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

1998

January

Super Game Boy 2 is released in Japan only.

April

The Game Boy Light is released in Japan only.

April

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

August

Pokémon Yellow Version is released in Japan.

October

The Game Boy Color is released in Japan.

November

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

1999

March

The Wonderswan, designed by 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.

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

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

December

The Wonderswan Color is released in Japan.

2001

February

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

March

The Game Boy Advance is released in Japan.

June

The Game Boy Advance is released in North America.

September

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

2002

July

The SwanCrystal is released in Japan.

November

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is released in North America. It is the last NA Game Boy Color game.

2003

February

The Game Boy Advance SP is released in Japan.

March

The Game Boy Advance SP is released in North America.

March

The Game Boy Player is released in Japan.

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$, down from 99$.

2005

September

The backlit AGS-101 is released. Variants will be released later, but this will be the last system to support Game Boy cartridges. This marks the end of the Game Boy era.