People still play Gameboy

Games25 years of Gameboy

"Of course I bought it on the first day it came out in Germany. And that was the 50th birthday of my then potential mother-in-law. And during the birthday party the Gameboy arrived and I unpacked it and I didn't like the birthday! I moved into the room and just played Tetris for the rest of the evening. "

Markus Schwerdtel was editor-in-chief of the game magazine "GamePro" for a long time. Today the 40-year-old is responsible for the mobile strategy of a large IT publisher. He can still remember his first day with the Gameboy very well. Because when this inconspicuous, clunky, gray block appeared in the shops 25 years ago, a real hype began. Technically, the Gameboy does not tear up trees, the display, for example, is not even colored, but only black and white. But Nintendo's device is cheap, and perhaps even more important: It is very economical with the batteries, so that you can play all the games for hours that you otherwise only know from the console. And above all there is: Tetris.

Gameboy = Tetris

The block game is sold together with the Gameboy from the start. This is by no means a matter of course, because the game comes from the Soviet Union, was developed there in 1984: at the Soviet Academy of Sciences in Moscow. In the middle of the Cold War, however, Nintendo succeeds in outdoing the competition; the Japanese secure the Tetris license for portable game consoles. Tetris becomes a killer application for the Gameboy, says Andreas Lange, director of the German computer game museum:

Andreas Lange, curator of the Computer Games Museum in Berlin (picture alliance / dpa / Tobias Kleinschmidt) "And that was the final breakthrough. You already knew that this was a very successful game, but with the Gameboy, the 89 in the bundle The Tetris game was sold, it then had an incredible success, which was then also visible to the public, because it was the case that people really played with the Gameboy in public space and you saw people everywhere who just played Gameboy. And so Tetris games and Gameboy games were synonymous with each other in the beginning. "

Smartphones as the new gameboys

Tetris is still played today, but no longer on the Gameboy, but mainly on smartphones. Many people today have a small game console with them all the time. The result: Mobile game consoles are no longer as popular as they used to be, says Markus Schwerdtel:

"It is only of interest to people who either play very intensively and want games that are only available on these platforms, and of course also for children and young people who do not yet have their own mobile phones, because they actually play quite a lot What helps Nintendo a lot here are the brands, the brands they have: Pokemon, Zelda, Mario, of course, because these things are only available on Nintendo handhelds and they keep people thinking To buy such a thing. Because I can't play Mario on my smartphone. "

The Gameboy is also still used in the retro scene, for example to make music with it. The little gray box, it still has a lot of fans. This is no wonder, because the Gameboy was robust, straightforward and of simple elegance. A quarter of a century Gameboy - who knows how many boring bus rides this little handheld turned into one big adventure. The Gameboy, he was the beginning of the end of boredom.