All right, you come overall the way to this side.
behind the table.
– What's your name? Raja, Marques.
– Good to meet you.
Nice to meet you.
– I wanna give you this.
It's a blindfold.
So go ahead and put that onand let me know whenyou're totally blind.
– I'm totally blind.
– I'm gonna put an object over here on this table.
All right, go aheadand reach down, – pick it up and see if you can ID it.
Man: It's a brick.
Definitely a screen.
Maybe a GPS.
Is this a cassette tape player? Uh, it's a controller.
Man 2: Oh, there's some buttons.
Oh, it's definitelya gaming thing.
Is this a Game Boy? Is this a Game Boy?Oh, my God, it's a Game Boy.
Oh, yeah, it's totally a Game Boy.
– ( Game Boy chiming )- ( gasps ) Oh, love that sound.
I'm Marques Brownlee and I review dope, new tech.
But on this show I'm rewinding the clock to discover the tech of the past that changed our lives forever.
This is “Retro Tech.
” All right, it's timeto break the seal on literally the oldest pieceof tech I've ever held.
The Game Boy first came out back in April of 1989.
So this year is the 30th anniversary of its release.
Let's get in there.
This is happening.
Ready? The Game Boy is the most popularportable handheld gamingconsole ever.
And it kinda changed the courseof gaming history.
I was not a part of that.
I never used the Game Boy.
Never owned one.
So, this is a totally fresh true first impression for me of a piece of tech that changed history.
I recognize this guy.
I know who Mario is.
This is Tetris.
This is Tetris.
I'm holding Tetris.
Let me pop this open.
I don't know how to open this.
think like 1989.
How would you.
Oh, that's terrible.
( laughs ) That was, uh– They could've done better there.
The unboxing experiencehas gotten better since that piece happenedin 1989.
This is it.
Wow, these are big buttons.
That is a thick consoleright there.
( music playing ) I'm gonna fire it up.
Oh, it lit up.
( Game Boy chimes ) Okay, so I've got my Game Boy.
But this is the first time I've held a piece of tech that I basically know nothing about.
So I wanna speak to some people who've lived and breathed this thing to find out its cultural impact over the past 30 years and what made the Game Boy pop.
– What's up? – Good to meet you.
– As well.
So, to begin, I'd like you to checkunder your seat.
Oh, my goodness.
Am I in some–Oh no! – Oh, Game Boy!- ( Game Boy chimes ) First thing I'm gonna ask is foryou to look under your chair.
All right! Yes! Oh! Oh, memories.
( singing ) ♪ Memories ♪ – ( Game Boy chimes )- That little ping.
Bing! You guys need more batteries.
Brings back so many memories.
Remember when you usedto suck on your Game Boy? Was it just me?All right.
In 1989 when this came out, what were the '80s like? ( music playing ) The '80s were a timeof a massive shift in culture and technology.
This was the birth of personal technology.
I mean, this is when the Walkman first came out.
You had a lot less entertainmentat your disposal.
There was no on-demand TV.
Life for a child was boring.
I mean, seriously, kids, like, you don't even knowhow good you have it.
You have smartphones.
You can even play on a tablet.
In the '80s it was just painful.
At the time, gaming was largely in arcades.
♪ Here we go, here we go, here we go ♪ And then all of a sudden, homeconsoles really made a play.
It was revolutionary.
Announcer: Everybody enjoys Atari.
No, we don't need ababysitter tonight.
Seth:The Atari was such a phenomenon that all there other companieswanted to make video games and get in on the action.
When it comes to space games, nobody compares to Atari.
Have you compared themto Intellivision? So a couple years later, Nintendo comes knockingand they say, “You know, we have thisvideo game system.
” People are skeptical because Nintendo started out as a card company.
They made playing cards.
Do you know how old Nintendo isas a company? I would be guessingit started in the '70s.
– 1970s?- Yeah.
– Really? Nintendo's been around formore than a hundred years.
It was onlyin the very early '80s they start to thinkof themselves as a technology company.
Nintendo just took over and started spearheadingthe games industry.
It is the video game craze, the Nintendo craze.
Nintendo was the kingof video games at this point.
You got all these great games.
You got Duck Hunt.
You got Solomon's Key.
You got Castlevania.
Dan: You had Zelda games.
You had Mario games.
You had all the bigNintendo stars.
Seth: So when the Game Boy was coming out there was a little doubt that this was gonna be good.
And the designerbehind the Game Boy was this guynamed Gunpei Yokoi.
And famously he was one day on a very crowded train in Japan and he saw a businessmanjust kinda poking awayat a calculator to kill time on his train ride.
And he thinks to himselfwhat if he could actuallyhave a real mobile game he took could take with himon the train.
One of the great thingsabout the early days of Nintendo is they really believed in R&D, in experimentation.
So Gunpei Yokoi came upwith first the Game & Watch which was an interestinghalfway step between arcade games and homegames and portable games.
( speaking foreign language ) It wasn't actually any good, but it was kinda clever and fun and people liked it.
That was the beginningof Nintendo dipping their toesinto mobile games.
And then taking that forward, he evolved that concept that started with the Game& Watch into the Game Boy.
Announcer:Now, you can have all the power and excitement of Nintendoright in the palm of your hand.
Introducing Game Boy.
Nobody did hypelike Game Boy did hype.
Sherri: It was revolutionary.
It's Nintendo in your hand.
The Game Boy promised to takethese games that we love so much and allow us to takeit with us anywhere.
If someone came into schoolwith one of them it was likethey were the cool kid and then everyone'scrowding around – in the classroom like lookingat that thing, you know.
You turn it on, it was like, “Ah! It's moving!” And you can do stuffwith it.
And I think it's somethingabout maybe the design.
It's a very friendly design.
But this thing was madein the days when people were worriedabout nuclear weapons.
Anything other than direct hit, this thing could survive it.
There's a Game Boy that hassurvived a Gulf War bombing and it's still playing Tetris today.
Still the single mostindestructible piece of gaming equipmentwe've ever had.
Marques: Durability isdefinitely vital to the success of any piece of tech, old or new.
But is the Game Boy really as tough as they say? To find out, I've asked YouTubelegend and friend Casey Neistat to come meet me at a Brooklyn warehouse.
I don't entirely knowwhat I'm here for today, but Marques invited me by to play with one of my favoritechildhood toys, which I probably haven't seensince I was 12 years old.
That's all I know.
That's all I know.
Marques, why–why are we doing this again? Okay, so there's a storyof a Game Boy surviving a bombingin the Gulf War.
And if it can survive that, I kinda just wanna knowwhere that breaking point is 'cause I don't–I feel like it doesn'tget much worse than that.
So, flamethrower, fire extinguisher.
I feel like I wanna–I wanna man the fireextinguisher here.
– Okay, I'll man the flamethrower first.
I'm gonna ask for Brian.
For making surewe do this safely.
I'd help you, Marques, but I'm just gonna standover here instead.
You don't wanna, like, hold onto it or anything? No, no, I'm good.
You look great.
So we got the Game Boyover here.
I just haveto trust my aim.
You can count on me, Marques.
( Casey screams ) Casey:That's so much fire.
Marques, what happenedto your eyebrows? Not the most comfortablebackpack I've ever worn.
– All right.
( chuckles ) They're burning.
( indistinct chatter ) I think we have our firstcasualty, everyone.
Okay, here's the thing.
– The outside is– is really— Severely melted.
– The buttons are now black.
– It's burned all around, too.
The flame really encompassedthe totality of the device.
It definitelywrapped around and cookedthe whole thing.
It also seems like the bodywas more susceptible to just meltingthan the buttons.
The real question is are you gonna be ableto get the cartridge in there? Oh, that's gonnabe the hardest part.
It– It softened the back.
You're gonna, like, needthe blowtorch again.
Melted it and nowthe cartridge might.
Maybe if you.
Maybe we should– We should just put it onand just try to give iteverything you've got.
And that sounds promising.
– ( indistinct chatter )- ( gasps) – ( Game Boy chimes )- Come on! – Are you serious?- ( laughs ) Are you serious?What? Okay, so the screen is toast.
– Is it, though?- But– The screen is fine.
Oh, the screenunder the protector is still on.
I feel like we have100% functionality.
It completely does everything that it did before it wasliterally blowtorched.
It just smellsa little worse.
( coughs )I'll agree with you on that.
– ( laughs )- So that's– That's about the mostincredible thing – I've seen in a long time.
– That was like 12 hard hits.
I mean, it's not bad.
– It's impressive.
– It's not bad.
Marques: Okay, so the Game Boy was undeniably built like a brick.
But the hardware is nothing without software.
So, what about the Game Boy experience made it fly off the shelves back in 1989? Big part of the Game Boy success is that it was pairedwith the perfect game for it.
Announcer: Game Boy comes withthe outrageous new game Tetris.
Tetris was the gamethat everybody had to play.
It was super addictive, super easy to get into, difficult to master.
So it's like, “Oh, maybe I am a gamer.
If I can play this, let mesee what else I can play.
” Tetris has even a more unusualorigin story than the Game Boy.
Tetris comes from the Soviet Union in the early '80s where a computer scientist named Alexey Pajitnov in his little lab came up witha game that he called Tetris.
Play Tetris with my friends.
And he just made little copies and just kinda started sellingit out the back of the vanand backtracked and tried to get the rights from the Russians later.
That lead to a series of lawsuits and fights.
Millions of dollars changed hands and somehow Tetris ended upon every platform imaginable and became a partof the daily lives of millions of peoplearound the world.
I have Tetrisin my Game Boy.
You have Tetrisin your Game Boy.
So I feel like we can go backin time a little bit – 'cause we have the cable.
– This is unbelievable.
Tetris was your gateway drug.
There was hit after hit.
You got Zelda Link's Awakening, Super Mario Land, Metroid.
This is when Nintendo made itsway to the American zeitgeist.
Dan: It became the background noise for so many things.
You'd see Hillary Clinton playing one on Air Force One.
Astronauts up in space stations would send back photos – of themselves playing the Game Boy.
– It's not going too well.
– I think I got your number.
– I just lost.
– ( sighs )- OG.
And if your Game Boywasn't enough, you could get a host of other weird, wacky, and wonderful add-ons.
♪ Smile! You're on Game Boy camera ♪ Most Game Boy accessoriesnever really caught on, but the Game Boy had the videogame market share and fan base that could support an ecosystemof third party accessories.
So, we've tracked down someof the most noteworthyaccessories to the Game Boy.
And now I just kinda wanna seeif they're any good or not.
This is Dope or Nope.
All right, let's get it started.
First accessory, please.
Okay, we have.
a Handy Boy by STD.
( chuckles )Okay.
The slightly lower text screenwas a bigger part of why the Game Boy was so cheapand so appealing, but if you wantedto play at night, you need some sort of a lightto see the screen at all.
Oh, yeah, that light is good.
There's a flip down.
So if I wanna do not magnified, I can.
And then I got the speakers.
– They're turned on.
– ( Game Boy chimes ) Wow, that's loud.
( music playing ) I can't say I don't like it.
Honestly, if you're lookingfor, like, one accessory to turn the Game Boyinto something better than it already is, this one's dope.
All right, what do we got.
not a whole lotof English on this box, but this is the Pocket Sonar.
Let's– Let's check this out.
Okay, so this is the part that goes into the backof the Game Boy.
And this is probably.
use the sonar to catch fish? Do I– Do I have any– any wayto demo this right now? Is there a way to catch fish? Uh.
I'm almost scared to ask.
this won't be painful.
It's just a little sonar.
These menus are not Englishso I'm gonna go ahead and assume that the first menu optionmeans start.
I– I think I need a deeperbody of water for it to actually showthe fish.
It's a– It's an idea.
It's a concept.
But I'm not sure this is gonnabe winning me any dinners in the next couple weeks.
So, basically, uh, Pocket Sonar.
All right, next up.
Oh, part of it fell off.
The Game Boy Camera.
Which at one point heldthe Guinness World Record for the smallestdigital camera.
The Game Boy Printerand printer paper.
How do I take a picture, though? Oh, there– Wow! That is the viewfinder.
Holy smokes, that is actually not that bad.
And I'm gonna go aheadand hit A.
– ( Game Boy beeps )- And it saves my photo.
That's my selfie.
There's my first selfieon a Game Boy.
So now I thinkI'm ready to print.
And now I'm sending the printfrom the Game Boy to the printerover this cable.
It's like a postage stamp sizedlittle print here.
Uh, this is– this iswhat the final print looks like.
It's not very good, obviously.
So, the printer, I'm sure itworked better back in the day.
Cool idea, but the executionnot so great.
The Game Boy Printer, that's a nope.
But the camera, on the other hand, that worked a lot betterthan I expected it to.
The viewfinder on the Game Boyscreen was fine.
I can take selfies or photos of other thingswith the same camera.
This is really impressive.
The Game Boy is truly an iconic piece of tech, but back in the '90s it had to compete with other portable gaming consoles that seemed more state of the art.
( music playing ) The Game Boy was actuallycompeting against systems from Atari and Sega.
They had color screens.
Just big, loud displays.
Of course, you're like, “Well, I want color.
” So you're gonna gowith the Game Gear.
Wrong choicebecause for that color, for that bigger display, you are paying in battery life.
You wanna go with somethingthat lasts long.
Seth: The Game Boy was developed with this philosophy that Nintendo really lived by.
It was lateral innovationby withered technology.
And what that meant was that they looked for tech that might've been around for a couple years.
And the technology was mature enough that they knew how to use it.
So while other companieswere putting out systems that seemed much flashier, they didn't really knowhow to use all that flash.
Dan: Nintendo kind of did what Steve Jobs did years and years later with the iPhone.
They really striped out a lot of what you didn't need.
It didn't have fancy controls.
It had a little D-padand two buttons and that was basically it.
It had very simple audio.
Sherri: And there was a slot in the back for your cartridges and you would slide it on and you just wait for the bing! The audio you could only dobasic bloops and bleeps.
And you go, “Who would want that?” Well, it turnedinto a whole music genre that a lot of people love now.
Marques: The lo-fi sound of the Game Boy is so iconic that it spawned a whole genre of music called Chiptunes.
So I've invited a Chiptune artist who goes by Storm Blooper to show me how all this works.
Chiptunes is basicallythe creation of music utilizing old video gamessound chips.
So there's a specific chipin the Game Boys – just for the music?- Just for the music.
Yeah, so it can only playfour notes at any given time.
So, it's incredibly limiting, but with that people have madesome really insane compositions.
Marques: The Game Boy's internal memory is so small that it can only handle a song about eight kilobytes in size.
In other words, one Chiptunesong is about 500 times smaller than one compressed MP3.
So, how do we get startedmaking a Chiptune song? – Okay, you ready to dive in?- I'm actually ready.
( Game Boy chimes ) You're not familiarwith music creation, huh? Not– not really.
This is all super new to me.
I guess I'll be goingfrom scratch.
– ( music playing )- So.
That sounds real good.
Let me– Let me change thissecond note.
– Okay, okay.
– ( music playing ) Beautiful.
– It slaps.
Okay, so far so good.
I'm gonna give this–this Boy back to you.
– I'm gonna let you be.
I'm gonna let you do it.
– All right.
Let's see what I can do here.
( music playing ) I'm– I'm just tryingto put together something that flows from top to bottomand doesn't sound like trash.
( music playing ) I'm working on the not soundinglike trash part really hard right now.
( music playing ) Okay.
I'm almost there with my– with my masterpiece.
( laughs ) ( music playing ) How'd I do?I mean, this is– It's pretty good.
Let's bring inthat kick drum, too.
Ready? ( music playing ) Boom.
– I can see a whole club bumpingto this tomorrow.
– Me, too! I wanna see– I wanna seewhat you've made 'cause this is just mein two minutes messing around, but you've had way moretime and experience.
– Let me see what you— Okay.
– What you got.
– Let's do it.
( Game Boy chimes ) ( music playing ) Marques: I definitely didn't expect you could squeeze music this fresh out of tech this old.
Considering the short lifecycle of most tech around today, the legacy of the Game Boy truly feels like something special.
So, I guess the last thingI'm trying to figure out is the impact these things hadon the tech we have today.
What do you thinkthe Game Boy legacy is? The Game Boy's legacy, it's hard to overstate.
Without the Game Boyyou don't have the iPhone.
You don't have Candy Crush Saga.
You don't have smartphonegaming.
You just don't.
The Game Boy singlehandedlychanged technology forever.
Margaret: And the Game Boy was the beginning of the idea of that everywhere we go in lifehave a thing in our pocket that knew how to entertain us.
Seth: I mean, the Game Boy gave us control of free time.
It changed what free time was.
Dan: You would not see everyone on their iPhones if not for the Game Boyand the huge influenceit had on our culture.
And I think the legacy of the Game Boy is that minimalism in technologydesign is a feature, not a bug.
Margaret: I think we've now kind of come full circle to the simplicity and the purity of design.
What we saw reemerge with the first generation iPhone, an absolute straight line that you can trace from day one of the Game Boy.
This is so Zen.
Right? So clean and efficientand minimalist.
Sherri: The Game Boy is so well-designed.
So simple that you take for granted all the work that went into giving youthis piece of tech.
When you sell 200 millionof anything, it's tough to sayit was not a gigantic success.
The Game Boy, besides being a huge seller, has made all of us into gamers.
Sherri: And it became this worldwide phenomenon thanks to the Game Boy.
So, okay, before all this, I felt pretty disconnected to the Game Boybecause I hadn't used one.
But now that I've talkedto people who have used the Game Boyand I've used it myself, I've experienced the legendof its durability and its companionship, now I get it.
And not only that, but I alsonow recognize the connection between the Game Boyand the tech we have today.
Without thisthere would be no this or many other pieces of techwe have today.
This is important.
Thanks, Game Boy.
( music playing ) Hey, what's up, guys? Thank youfor watching this special.
It was a lot of fun to make, and I hope you had a lot of funwatching it, too.
So I have some good news.
Future episodes of “Retro Tech”will be upcoming in December.
So if you have any suggestionsfor other pieces of doperetro tech you'd like to see videos on, feel free to drop them inthe comment section below.
Let me know.
Till the next one, thanks for watching.
Catch you guys later.