ByMark Newton, writer at
Movie Pilot Associate Editor. Email: [email protected]
Mark Newton

They just don't make them like they used to.

Nowadays, it seems you only have to breath slightly heavily on your smartphone (or other expensive gizmo) before they give up on life, turn themselves off and crumble into a million pieces. However, back in the 1990s things were built to last - especially the Game Boy.

The original grey brick Game Boy is an icon of design and technology. Everyone I knew had one of these spartan gaming monoliths stowed away in their school backpacks and each Game Boy had to be tough to survive. Clumsy kids would always drop them, others would be sat on, while the kids with anger issues would throw them at the wall after dying in Donkey Kong Country. Every single time though, the Game Boy would survive.

Take for example this particular badass of portable gaming. Back in 1990, an unknown soldier took his beloved Game Boy with him to the Gulf War. Unfortunately, when his barracks was bombed, the Game Boy became another victim of armed conflict. Amazingly, despite being literally blown up and suffering major fire damage, the Game Boy still works! To this day it sits in a glass cabinet at the Nintendo World Store in New York with a game of Tetris still being shown on the screen.

I'd like to see one of those new fangled iPhones do that!

I too can personally testify to the fortitude of the humble Game Boy. I once left my older brother's Game Boy under an incredibly hot lamp which resulted in a rather severe case of meltage. Although the buttons were reduced to a glutinous mass, the actual games still ran perfectly. Luckily, I also survived the beating my brother gave me.

This original 1990 commercial also shows the Game Boy can survive a hard life on the streets:

Back in the late 1980s, Nintendo made a conscious effort to pursue quality. Prior to the release of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, the video game industry had been plagued with concerns about the quality of gaming hardware and software. The open platform of game development meant the market was becoming increasingly saturated with terrible games that were churned out on the cheap by inexperienced developers. This almost lead to the crash of the entire industry, until Nintendo introduced their 'Seal of Quality' in 1985.

This, now immediately recognizable seal, showed that the product being supported by Nintendo had reached their level of quality, greatly increasing customer confidence in their wares. This is one of the prime reasons Nintendo managed to dominate the video game market in the late '80s and early 1990s.

I personally still also have my first Super Nintendo from 1992. With the exception of changing a fuse in the plug, it still runs like the day it was bought. I'm not sure how many Xbox Ones and PS4s will be able to claim that feat in twenty years time.


Latest from our Creators