The history of Nintendo Handhelds

YamiHoshi

Nintendo 3DS Developer
Nintendo is known as "the" handheld maker.
It made a lot of handhelds, but, how did it start?
We're taking a Celebi, and travel through time.
First stop: 1990.

September 28th, 1990 - Game Boy series
1 year before my birth, the first Game Boy has been released.
In The Netherlands, we mainly dub it as the "baksteen".
Game Boy was really revolutionary, but now it's just a simple thing.
People mainly enjoyed Tetris, Super Mario Land, Pokémon and Game Boy Camera on it.
We used a really thick cable for it, and the cartridge was secured by the power switch.
Nearly 6 years later, the Game Boy Pocket released, which was smaller and lighter, and requires fewer batteries.


November 23rd, 1998 - Game Boy Color
Now we'll skip 8 years of our lives to the Game Boy Color.
This featured a coloured screen, equal to the NES.
The cartridge is no longer secured by the power switch.
Instead, the cartridges got a filled corner, so you can't play a Game Boy Color game in a Game Boy, but the GBC is backwards compatible with the GB.


June 22nd, 2001 - Game Boy Advance series
The Game Boy Advance was a total redesign from the older generations.
It used graphics, comparable to the SNES or Sega MegaDrive.
It also introduced the L and R buttons on a portable device.
The cartridges were half in size of a GBC cartridge, and added 2 "shoulders" at the top, preventing to be inserted in an older generation handheld.
The link cable, used for multiplayer in every generation, obtained an extra pin, to prevent an older generation handheld to be linked to the GBA.
In 2003, the Game Boy Advance SP came out, introducing backlight (outside Japan), shell design, and a cartridge slot at the bottom.
In 2005, right after Nintendo DS's release, the Game Boy Micro was released, being nothing more than an extremely small Game Boy Advance, with a super clear screen.
GBA and GBASP are both backwards compatible with GB and GBC, GBM can play GBA games only.


March 15th, 2002 - Pokémon Mini
A commonly forgotten handheld is the Pokémon Mini, with only a few official cartridge-based games.
It introduced shaking to play a game, and rumble.
Instead of the L/R buttons, it had a C button.
Although the games were super cheap, the handheld itself was super impopular, and the only developers for it, are hackers.


March 11st, 2005 - Nintendo DS series
Nintendo DS, known as the Nitro (or NTR) during development, was the new revolution in terms of games.
It introduced a second screen, a touch screen, microphone, PictoChat, wireless multiplayer, online multiplayer (came later), X/Y buttons, 2 cartridge slots, and publicly known piracy (came later).
The cartridge was a black SD card-like cartridge, which is impossible to insert it into any older generation handheld.
Graphics were comparable to something between Nintendo 64 and PlayStation.
It's redesigns were all unrelated to the first design, but equal to the DS Lite.
Nintendo DS Lite came out in 2006.
The DS Lite introduced not many difference, only clearer screens with 4 levels, a more confortable stylus, a half sized GBA slot with a cover, and a complete redesign, on which every new Nintendo handheld is based on.


April 3rd, 2009 - Nintendo DSi series
While being in the same generation, the DSi, known as the TWL during development, differs so much with the DS, including from the inside, that we gave it an own section.
It introduced an entirely new OS, DSi Shop, 2 camera's (front facing and back), music distortion, WPA2 support, SD card slot, more RAM, a build-in browser, and region locking on a handheld.
The backwards compatibility with the GBA disappeared, and got replaced by an SD card slot.
The DSi was made to make an failed attempted to fade out piracy.
A short time ago, the DSi Mode has been hacked, and most cartridge-based DSi games could be played on a regular DS.


March 25th, 2011 - Nintendo 3DS
While writing, this is current generation in Japan, and next generation for the rest of the world, but it won't last long anymore.
The Nintendo 3DS, known as the CTR during development, is the first handheld with a 3D display without the need for glasses.
Short after the E3 2010, Toshiba announced some 3D without glasses TV's, and LG introduced 3D without glasses smartphones and tablets.
Aside of the 3D top screen, it introduced 3 camera's (2 on the back, 1 on the front), a circle pad (aka, control stick, joystick, etc.) an infrared port, docking station, Home button, wireless switch, 3D slider, Mii's on a handheld, notes, 1 friend code for all games, wide top screen, notification LED, gyroscoop, and accelerometer.
The cartridge is simular to the DS cartridge, but it's white, and adds one shoulder on the right, preventing to be inserted in previous generation handheld.
It uses the same charger port as the DSi.
The graphics are simular to Wii graphics.
The 3DS is backwards compatible with DS, DSi, and DSiWare games, on either 3DS's resolution, and DS's resolution.
The 3DS has been developed to make an end to piracy.


Release dates based on European releases.
All images from the English version of Wikipedia, shrunk by me.
All the text is my own text, it's not based on anything at all.
 

Puddin

eat the rich
You forgot Game & Watch devices (too many to list)



(I could have SWORN this was in MJ >_>)
 

YamiHoshi

Nintendo 3DS Developer
>>Herr Shyguy
I don't know, we don't have Nintendo Power in my country.
The only real Nintendo Megazine we have here, is [N]Gamer.
 

Chivi-chivik

I'm Chivi-chivik M@ngaka!
You forgot that GBA can be connected to a Gamecube. And the DS (all the brands) to a Wii.

And you have forgotten the fact of the not so failed but failed Virtual Boy. It was going to be the first console with 3d graphics and other handheld, but it finished being a monochromatic console (black and red graphics), being not so portable, because it was very big and it could broke up easily, and having a 3D that resembled to the Paper Mario 3d graphics (2D-3D). Also, it could cause you eye problems, so the console stopped every 15-20 mins. for notice you that you should stop playing for prevent eye problems and headaches. They only sold 800.000 Virtual Boys. One Mario game for this console was cancelled.
See more info in our Wiki or in Wikipedia. :)
 

YamiHoshi

Nintendo 3DS Developer
>>Chivi-chivik
Game Boy Player is not a handheld, it's a GBA simulator for Gamecube.
>And the DS (all the brands) to a Wii.
There is nothing like that.

And I didn't mention Virtual Boy, because I based everything on European releases, but the Virtual Boy was never available in Europe.
 

Chivi-chivik

I'm Chivi-chivik M@ngaka!
Goddess of Death said:
>>Chivi-chivik
Game Boy Player is not a handheld, it's a GBA simulator for Gamecube.
>And the DS (all the brands) to a Wii.
There is nothing like that.

And I didn't mention Virtual Boy, because I based everything on European releases, but the Virtual Boy was never available in Europe.
Anyways you can connect a GBA to a gamecube for play to the GBPlayer.

The DS can be connected to a Wii, but not for play DS games in a Wii (that's impossible), there is games that you can connect a DS for do something (examples: PKMN Battle Revolution: You can play with the pkmn you have in PKMN Diamond/Pearl/Platinum/Heart gold and Soulsilver. Final Fantasy CC: Echoes of Time: You can play in the multiplayer mode with a Wii and a DS, all together.)

The Virtual Boy never had been in Europe for its failure.
Also, you should talk about other things altought they haven't been released in europe. I'm european too, but I talk of everything created by Nintendo.
 

YamiHoshi

Nintendo 3DS Developer
But still, Game Boy Player is no handheld, you can only play handheld games on it.
And the communication between DS and Wii is no handheld either.
I'm mainly focussing on hardware handhelds, not communications or console addons.
 

Chivi-chivik

I'm Chivi-chivik M@ngaka!
Goddess of Death said:
But still, Game Boy Player is no handheld, you can only play handheld games on it.
And the communication between DS and Wii is no handheld either.
I'm mainly focussing on hardware handhelds, not communications or console addons.
I know that GBPlayer and the communication between DS and Wii are not handhelds!
OK, but, anyways, you should explain that. It's interesting.
 
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