[ Retro Scan ] The 1989 Game Boy Box

February 10th, 2021 by Benj Edwards

Nintendo Game Boy 1989 North American retail box scan front - 1989Now you’re playing with…glowing robot hands?!

Nintendo Game Boy 1989 North American retail box scan back - 1989Brother and sister are finally getting along with “Multiple Player Action.”

A friend recently noticed I haven’t posted a new Retro Scan since 2019 (by the way—wasn’t 2020 hell?), so I thought I’d dig through the archives and look for something fun. My scanner isn’t even hooked up at the moment. That’s how long it’s been!

Here’s a nice high-resolution scan of the Nintendo Game Boy box art, front and back, that I scanned a few years ago for an article. One of the most fascinating things about it for me is how the text on the back refers to the Game Boy’s D-pad as a “cross key joystick.” As far as I know, this is the first and only time I’ve seen it described that way. So maybe that’s the official Nintendo term for the D-pad?

I know I’ve let this site wither on the vine for too long, but I’m glad some people are still out there reading it. Hope you enjoy the scan.

[ From Nintendo Game Boy North American Box, 1989, Front and Rear ]

Discussion Topic: What’s your favorite Game Boy game?

9 Responses to “[ Retro Scan ] The 1989 Game Boy Box”

  1. Philip Says:

    Thanks for the scan! I’ve never heard of ā€¯cross key joystick” either. I’ve never been sure what to call it. I guess D-pad is probably the most common name now. I always call it the “plus pad” because a lot of nintendo in-game tutorials just refer to a picture of it and it looks like a plus!

    I’ve been reading your articles at howtogeek.com. Good stuff. Keep up the good work!

  2. Benj Edwards Says:

    Thanks, Philip! Glad you enjoy the articles.

  3. Rowan Lipkovits Says:

    Don’t worry about post frequency — thanks to RSS, as long as we are still alive, your posts will reach us when you’re good and ready.

  4. Benj Edwards Says:

    Thanks, Rowan. Glad some people still use RSS out there!

  5. Rafa Says:

    Thank you very much for the material, it is very useful!
    Would it be possible to have all 4 sides?

  6. Jistuce Says:

    The official Nintendo-sanctioned term for their version of a d-pad is “cross-key control pad”, and has been since the early days of the 8-bit Nintendo. I’m surprised they used the word “joystick” to describe it on the GameBoy box.

    My favorite GameBoy game is… probably Qix. An odd choice, to be sure, but it was my introduction to the title, and a rather good port of a game well-suited to the system’s limitations.

    The other possibility is Metroid II. Which would be a masterpiece on any system, but it isn’t as well-suited to the GameBoy specifically.

  7. Bret Bernhoft Says:

    Tetris is an excellent game for Nintendo to have paired with the original Game Boy unit. It’s a useful and neutral means of introducing video games to the public.

    Seeing these images of the 1989 Game Boy makes me glad I was alive when it came out, so many memories there. Thanks for putting this scan together and for sharing the content.

  8. nin10doguy Says:

    Hey, thanks a lot for the scan! It looks really nice and brings back memories.

    The GameBoy Brick, as it’s endearingly known as, is a beautyful design. There’s something simple and elegant about these old designs that the electronic devices of today just cannot capture.

    I think part of that elegance has to do with the simplicity, comfort and intuitiveness of the design. It is also rugged and unassuming, something that says “Play me!”, without worrying about pampering it as one would handle a modern piece of fragile and pretentious electronic equipment.

    My favorite GameBoy game is Zelda: Link’s Awakening. Truly a masterpiece of a game!

  9. Kevin G Says:

    Love seeing the retro gaming and computer stuff. Game Boy was one of the truly revolutionary items that led to more advancements like the current Nintendo Switch that my grandkids are so obsessed with. My gaming console of choice as a kid was the Atari 2600 what fun, but the joysticks were junk when played with a lot.

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