Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Thanks to handheld gaming, it's possible to game everywhere. Nintendo is dominating the handheld market, and has produces 6 out of 7 of the best-selling handheld consoles of all time, Consistently revolutionizing the industry and creating iconic gaming devices, as well as cherished memories, for people of all ages. This is the evolution of Nintendo handhelds! The company's first venture into handheld electronic gaming came in 1980 with the Game & Watch. The product derived its name from featuring just a single game, as well as a clock on an LCD screen. Multiple series of the Game & Watch were made Some looking drastically different, like the Multi Screen that featured two screens and a clam-shell design that would later be replicated in future handheld Nintendo consoles. Until 1991, Nintendo released around 60 different Game & Watch games, like Ball Parachute Snoopy Donkey Kong Jr and Mario the Juggler. To keep gamers entertained, most games came with two modes 'GAME A' representing the 'easy mode', and 'GAME B' representing a faster, harder version of the same game. The Game & Watch sold 43.4 million units worldwide, making it the 7th most sold handheld console. Fun Fact Gunpei Yokoi got the idea to create the Game & Watch when he saw a bored man play with his calculator in the train. In 1989, Nintendo offered more versatility to gamers with the handheld, brick-like Game Boy that used interchangeable cartridges. This meant that gamers could simply buy a game, rather than a new device, each time they wanted a different experience. Remaining popular until this day, the Game Boy was portable, durable and came with hugely popular titles like Super Mario Land Kirby's Dreamland Pokémon Red and Blue and Tetris. Nintendo released a compact version, the Game Boy Pocket, in 1996. It was notably smaller and lighter, and came in different colors. This Game Boy had a black-and-white display, rather than the green-tinted display of the original Game Boy. The battery life however was decreased from 15 hours for the original to roughly 10 hours. Two years later, the Game Boy Light hit shelves exclusively in Japan. The Game Boy screen was difficult to see in the dark, and the Game Boy Light fixed that problem with a backlight. Next came the Game Boy Color released in 1998. It came in colorful colors and like the name suggest, the Game Boy Color could display games in color. Many games were re-released with color like The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening and Tetris. Other games included Pokémon Gold and Silver Super Mario Brothers Deluxe and The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages and Seasons. Needless to say but the Game Boy and the Game Boy Color were a massive success. In total 118.7 million units were sold, making it the second most sold handheld game console. Fun Fact In 1993 a Russian cosmonaut, named Aleksandr Serebrov took his Game Boy to space to play Tetris. The Game Boy is said to have orbited earth 3000 times and was sold at an auction for $1,220. In 1995 the Virtual Boy was released, but it was a commercial failure. You had to put your head in a mounted display, which was like a VR headset. VR didn't add to games at all, it was just a novelty. It was also uncomfortable to wear not portable, too expensive, and games were not in full color, but in black and red. Those colors were just unappealing, especially when compared to the colorful games in other Nintendo consoles. It featured a number of games, including Mario's Tennis, Wario Land and 3D Tetris. But those games weren't played that much, since people experienced dizziness and headaches from this thing. The Virtual Boy is one of the worst-selling consoles of all time, with roughly 770,000 units sold. Fun Fact Nintendo claimed that a color display would have made the system too expensive and that it would result in “jumpy” images, so the company opted for a monochrome display. Three years later than planned, in 2001, the Game Boy Advance hit store shelves. It had a landscape design and incorporated shoulder buttons, which is why they called it the Advance. With processing power similar to that of the SNES, the Advance's game library was full of SNES ports, allowing gamers to play the same epic titles while on the move. This, of course, included the greats like Super Mario World The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and games from the 'Final Fantasy' series. Pokémon games, like Ruby and Sapphire were also big hits with the Advance owners. A compact, foldable version of the Game Boy Advance came out in 2003, known as the 'SP'. The original Game Boy Advance received complaints due to the dark screen, and the SP fixed that problem using a significantly brighter LCD screen and an internal front-light. It was also the first of Nintendo's handheld lineup that had a rechargeable battery. The Game Boy Advance Micro came in 2005 and was much smaller than the original. The design could be changed with interchangeable faceplates. The Game Boy Advance Micro did not sell well, because the Nintendo DS was already released at this time. In total, the Nintendo Advance family sold over 81.5 million units globally, placing it fourth in the list of best-selling handheld consoles. A console you probably never heard of before is the Pokémon Mini, released in 2001. It was the smallest game system Nintendo created and themed around the Pokémon franchise. In total only 10 games were released for the Pokémon mini, most of which were only available in Japan. Although it's unknown how many units were sold, the Pokémon mini certainly wasn't a success. It was discontinued a year after its release 2004 welcomed the arrival of the Nintendo DS, the 'DS' standing for both 'Developers' System' and 'Dual Screen' according to the company, as it featured a bottom touch screen in addition to a top display screen. The DS came with a stylus for finer touch screen control, a built-in microphone that allowed for voice recording and voice recognition, as well as Wi-Fi capabilities. The cartridges were made much smaller than the cartridges of the Game Boy Advance. It had two slots so games of both cartridges could be played on the DS, making it backwards compatible. When playing games, one screen is used to show the main action, while the other is used for things like a map, inventory or secondary viewpoint. Due to its unique dual screen action, many new titles were unveiled by Nintendo, like Nintendogs and Brain Age. Other popular games for the DS were Super Mario 64 DS Pokémon Diamond and Pearl and New Super Mario Brothers. In keeping with tradition, a refined version of the DS came out in 2006 named the 'DS Lite'. It was slimmer and lighter. It had a longer lasting battery and a brighter screen. It was not the slimmest of the DS range though, because in 2008 the new 'DSi' model had an ultra-slim build, plus larger screens. It also introduced two digital cameras, but it wasn't backwards compatible. One year later, the 'DSi XL' further improved upon the handheld's specifications by increasing the screen sizes once more. It also had improved speakers and a longer battery life. The PlayStation Portable or PSP was released in the same year as the original DS and became its main competitor. PlayStation managed to sell 82 million units, making it the 3rd most-sold handheld console. However, it was no match for the Nintendo DS, which became the highest-selling handheld console of all time, selling more than 154 million units around the world! Nintendo next introduced 3D gameplay to their DS models. Regarded as a brand new console, the Nintendo 3DS was released in 2011. The bottom screen was a touch screen similar to the ones seen in former DS models. However, the top screen was wide with better graphics and had an autostereoscopic 3D LCD design. This meant that gamers could turn on 3D effects without the need of 3D glasses. The console itself had multiple cameras, a circle pad alongside the traditional D-Pad for easier gameplay, and internet connectivity with an improved online experience. Games that could be enjoyed on the 3DS were Mario Kart 7 Pókemon X and Y New Super Mario Brothers 2 and Animal Crossing. More models of the 3DS were released. In 2012 came the '3DS XL' which had much larger screens and an improved battery life. Nintendo released a 2DS version in 2013, taking away the 3D graphics, but making it more affordable. The New Nintendo 3DS was introduced in 2014. It fixed the problem that you had to face your 3DS directly from the front, or else the 3D effect would become blurry. It also had a more powerful processor and additional shoulder buttons. At the same time a larger version, the New Nintendo 3DS XL was introduced. And finally in 2017 Nintendo made the New Nintendo 2DS XL, featuring additional hardware features, but without the 3D functionality. To date, the total sales of the 3DS and 2DS handheld consoles are 75.8 million, making it the 5th most sold handheld console. Now we come to the most recent Nintendo handheld console, which is actually a hybrid console, the Nintendo Switch. Since it is also a home console, I've already covered the Nintendo Switch's features in Part 1 of this mini-series, so I highly recommend giving that a watch if you haven't already done so. To briefly recap though, the Switch was released in 2017. It has detachable, Joy-con controllers. The console can be docked and played through the TV or used on the go. A more affordable 'Lite' version of the Switch came out in 2019, with the limitation that it can only be played as a portable device. It can still play pretty much all of the same games as its older brother though, except for a few games like Ring Fit Adventure and Super Mario Party, since they are largely motion control-based. Besides the amazing titles already out for the Switch, Nintendo also announced some new exciting titles for the future, like Immortals Fenyx Rising and a new Zelda game, Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. Oh man I can't wait to play this! So far, sales of the Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite have surpassed 61.4 million. Making it the 7th most-sold Handheld console. Nintendo is also releasing a new console in November 2020: The Game & Watch! Wait what?!... That's right, the first console Nintendo created in 1980 is back, this time it features Super Mario Brothers. Going forward, it'll be interesting to see what the next major development or addition will be when it comes to handheld gaming. One thing is for sure, Nintendo isn't afraid to get creative and introduce exciting new technology. Let's hope Nintendo can continue creating innovative entertainment for many years to come. Click the video on the left to watch the Evolution of Nintendo Home Consoles. Please Subscribe and click the bell icon!