Yesterday, Nintendo’s classic handheld celebrated two decades of on-the-go gaming – poorly lit on-the-go gaming, but on-the-go gaming nonetheless.

When I was a wee lad, I didn’t have a Game Boy. Oh no, I had a Game Gear – Sega’s theoretically “portable” Master System and attempted competitor. Don’t get me wrong, I have fond memories of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (the uber-hard version) and Shining Force, but in retrospect, most of those fond memories involve sitting next to a wall plugged in via the AC adapter, since that thing guzzled six batteries at a time like a Humvee guzzles Unleaded.

The Game Gear, of course, failed to challenge Nintendo’s Game Boy. Titles like Tetris, Pokemon, and Super Mario Land would firmly establish Nintendo’s dominance in the handheld scene, a dominance that went largely unchallenged until only recently. Oh sure, others tried, but it wasn’t until Sony’s PSP that they had any modicum of success.

Ironically, the only company that could kill the Game Boy was Nintendo itself – despite claims that the Nintendo DS would not replace the Game Boy Advance, it… well, it did. However, the mega-popular DS continues the Game Boy in spirit if not in name (and also in having constant hardware revisions), so it’s hard to call the death of the Game Boy platform a defeat for the House of M.

For the full-size version of the awesome “Definitive Game Boy Timeline” seen here, head on over to Gizmodo to check out the complete history of Nintendo’s handheld. Can you believe it took Nintendo 14 years to put a backlight on the damn thing?

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