Flappy Bird was regarded as a throwback when it emerged as one of the most popular games of 2014. The iOS and Android program had gameplay and graphics that were dated by more than fifteen years. The contrast to the original mobile games is interesting, particularly today as the Game Boy celebrates 25 years.

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The Game Boy was not the first mobile computer game. It wasn’t even the first to come out of Nintendo’s video games department. It’s difficult to imagine a world of mobile gaming without the device, however, and anyone who enjoyed some part of their childhood in the last quarter decade will probably remember the effects of at least one of its iterations.

25 Years ago the Game Boy changed gaming

Some of the games that appeared on the original Game Boy were so popular they created new worlds of economic activity. The Pokemon boom of the 1990s was driven by the release of the Game Boy games in the US, and contributed massively to the mass amount of animé consumed in the country today. Kirby, another of the enduring characters created by Nintendo Co. Ltd (TYO:7974), first debuted on the console, and the console provided many first glimpses of Mario himself.

The Game Boy sold more than 118.69 million units of the Game Boy including later iterations the Game Boy Color and Game Boy Pocket. Those later iterations used the same basic hardware as the original, albeit with features added and a much slimmer casing. The Game Boy created mobile gaming as a viable business, and it is still a major one today, accounting for the revenues of companies like Zynga and King Digital.

Nintendo struggles on Game Boy’s birthday

Nintendo has retired the Game Boy moniker. It may indeed have belonged in the nineties. On the 25th anniversary of its release, an interesting observation may be made about Nintendo Co. Ltd (TYO:7974), the company that unleashed it upon the world: the only area it doesn’t struggle is in mobile gaming.

Nintendo is having trouble maintaining a presence in the living room, but it still makes an incredibly successful handheld, even as smartphones are poised to steal that market. The 3DS is, in fact, one of the biggest drivers of games sales out there right now, and Nintendo Co. Ltd (TYO:7974) is relying on its success to keep investors at bay while it tries to turn the rest of its business around.

Nintendo’s greatest successes might be behind it, or the company may be ready to bounce to new heights, but there is no questioning the influence the company has had on the video game world, particularly in the mobile gaming sphere. The company produced outstanding handhelds time and time again, beginning with the incredible release of the Game Boy on April 21 1989.