1. 25
  1. 23

    To keep reading this story, create a free account.


    1. 10

      The irony! It’s a site about UX, and itself features a positively hostile experience.

      1. 11

        it was cheaper, many could afford it. 90US$ compared with 150US$ (Game Gear) and 180US$ (Lynx)

        Are we sure that’s not the bigger reason why? I remember the “user experience” of GameBoy Color where you needed to plug in a light to shine on the front of the screen. The battery life argument is strong, yes, rechargeables being kinda rare back then, but I feel like price is the elephant in the room.

        I think a much better supporting example would be the UX of automatic transmissions versus stickshift, like in the Chevy Corvette Z06. Or VCRs vs Tivo. Or why the-year-of-linux-on-the-desktop gets stuck at Mac’o’clock (for me, anyway).

        1. 7

          On top of that, I remember this from an old Sega Power book (roughly):

          Ah, the Game Gear. If you like paying for batteries, there’s no better investment you can make.

          It drank batteries, six at a time. The Game Boy would just keep going and going and going.

          1. 3

            I remember taking the Game Gear on a family road trip as a kid…one Game Gear, between four kids, with no extra batteries. That was a solid 30 minutes of fun.

            1. 1

              Check out the WonderSwan. It was created by the same person as the gameboy after he left Nintendo. Uses a single AA battery and last forever. That man knew what he was doing.

          2. 5

            As someone who deals with Gameboy modding and creation of music (LSDJ, Nanoloop) the author of the blog post seems to mix and match the best features of the original Game Boy (DMG, Dot Matrix Gameboy) and the Game Boy Pocket (GBP):

            • In 1989 the DMG came out, the GBP came out in 1996.
            • It is by no means tiny. It is a surprisingly chunky device (which I assume is by design because it is pretty empty inside). The GBP is tiny in comparison but it is larger than most phones these days.
            • It is powered by 4 AA batteries, not 2, thus pretty heavy. Yes, it runs for 30h. The GBP on the other hand takes 2 AAA batteries and runs way shorter. You can’t have it both ways.
            • Even the pictures don’t match up, the large image is a DMG, but Yokoi in the picture is holding up a GBP.
            1. 5

              I see that here too, history is written by the victors. (i.e. post-hoc justification, hindsight is 20/20 etcetera, etcetera, etcetera). Some of the quotes in the article, of the game boy creator exuding confidence in his choice, seem a little too confident. Fishing stories, as it were.

              The low cost and perhaps the battery life (which is also cost) is probably the key differentiator. In my book cost does not fall under UX, though battery life does.

              Does anyone know if the games were cheaper? Were there more titles?

              Users often trade bad UX for cost. The only way to do a proper study would be to, say, add up the cost of the GameBoy and the top five games and see how that stacks against an equivalently priced system.

              A much more convincing case study would be a device that cost more than the competition and yet won out and it could be convincingly attributed to a better UX.

              1. 4

                This sounds like a great illustration of the “worse is better” principle. Create something rock-solid and reliable with incredibly simple implementation, even at the cost of functionality that from the outside would look like a requirement.

                1. 6

                  Call me a cynic but there’s one way sure to lose credibility in tech subjects is by defining yourself with the terms astrology and spirituality.

                  student of life, spirituality and astrology. https://i.imgur.com/P6qR0fM.png

                  And I wasn’t wrong here. While a lot of arguments makes sense - gameboy was just a better product, not because of UX (whatever that means these days) but because it literally worked better and longer and was almost half the price. Not to mention better marketing, design and general appeal.

                  1. 1

                    I’m marking this as incorrect because you clutter up a decent point (that the gameboy was strictly a better product) with an incorrect assertion about credibility. If you’re speaking about credibility in tech broadly, you’re incorrect–see the outsize influence of spiritual events like Burning Man for example, or the faith in “software eating the world”. If you’re speaking about credibility with you in tech subjects, I’d suggest stating that explicitly next time–and noting that several luminaries including Alan Turing exhibited some degree of spirituality or another.

                    If you disagree with the thesis, do so on its own merits and with facts. Attacking the author because you don’t like their aesthetic is something we get enough of in other communities.

                    1. 1

                      You are getting offended and miss my point. Is it unfair to threat blog authors as sources? i.e. if I know that Washingtonpost is full of rubbish I’ll probably not gonna read the article. Same way with blog author: it they introduce themselves in a fashion that doesn’t breed credibility why should I be inclined to continue?

                      There’s abdudance of content - ability to filter it by skimming headlines, sources or the paragraphs themselves is one of the most valuable skills in today’s learning world. You can disagree with me if you want but If I read “spiritual astrology fan” I’m not having high expectations going further on while reading about something complete opposite (arguably) of spirituallity and astrology - technology.

                  2. 1

                    A somewhat similar story is Betamax vs. VHS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddYZITaxlTQ