The GameBoy was released in late 1988 as a follow-up to Nintendo's successful Game & Watch handhelds. It was the first of the modern portables on the video game market and inspired other companies to make similar portables and try to outdo Nintendo. But in the end, it was the GameBoy that won.
The key selling features were the 160 x 144 pixel screen, four-channel stereo sound and the GameLink feature. The GameBoy's screen was black and white but the main competitor, Sega Game Gear, had a colour screen and a TV tuner attachment. Although this console was superior to the GameBoy, it failed to steal away the popularity of Nintendo's console. This was mostly due to the cheaper price and larger library of the GameBoy as well as the lighter weight and longer battery life (both due to the black and white screen). Games such as Tetris (the pack-in game with the GameBoy) and Super Mario Land also helped the console sell well.
Whenever sales of the GameBoy have shown signs of slowing, Nintendo have made new variations of the GameBoy or marketing blitzes to increase the sales again. These include the GameBoy Pocket (30% smaller version GameBoy but with equal screen size, takes two AAA batteries, introduced November 1996), the GameBoy Color (GameBoy with a colour screen. Sega was years ahead of them) and the GameBoy Advance. In the later years of the GameBoy's life, the Pokémon craze helped to increase sales.
RAM: 8kB internal
ROM: 256kBit, 512kBit, 1MBit, 2MBit and 4MBit and 8MBit cartridges are known (32kB, 64kB, 128kB, 256kB and 512kB 1024kB).
VRAM: 8kB internal
Sound: 4 channel stereo sound, can be mapped to left, right or both speakers
Display: Reflective LCD 160 x 144 pixels
Colour Pallette: 4 shades of grey
Sprites: 40 sprites of either 8 x 8 or 8 x 16 pixels [switchable]
Communication: Up to 4 Gameboys can be linked together via serial ports
Power: 6 Volts, 0.7 Watts (4 AA Batteries - 35 hours (GameBoy)/2 AAA batteries - 10 hours (GameBoy Pocket))