The Gameboy was released in North America, 1989 of August, and was the first handheld in the Gameboy line up. If you had a Gameboy, you were cool in the eyes of others; according to “What kids think it does?” You had a system which you could take with you wherever you wanted, in case you got bored. (Wiki Gameboy.)
According to Gunning’s article “Astonishment is an unstable and temporary experience.”(Gunning 41.) . Some assumed by the name “Gameboy” that it would be another console based system, like in “What skeptics think of it?” Yet when the heard the idea of “mobile, handheld gaming; people thought it would be something like taking a large game cartridge and inserting it into the top; like “what people first thought of a handheld NES?” Back when the first Gameboy came out however, people we’re amazed at the mobility and freedom they were granted with the Gameboy. Kids could bring their gaming system with them to school, and they’d be able to play it whenever at their friends. However, “Astonishment gives way to familiarity.” (Gunning 41.) As time went on, people slowly became more and more used to what they were seeing and would eventually tire from it.
Slowly, gamers became more de-familiarized, which is taking an object that everyone recognizes, and changing some parts around to make it appear new; even though it’s the same as before with added features. In Gunning’s article, it’s explained that we need to be surprised, since being amazed is not a natural phenomenon. Whenever we come across something that we see every day, or something that seems new with more options; we shrug and move on. Thus, we aren’t surprised at all. Yet, whenever we do come across something that’s actually “new”, our amazement is genuine. Our astonishment will remain genuine, until more of the same is made over and over again, with a few added twists. Game makers resorted to de-familiarizing each new handheld that came out, in order to catch the eyes of customers. They’d take something that gamers were used to, like the Gameboy’s Color for example; add color and then suddenly: it’s a brand new system customer, even though it’s not. Then, the Gameboy Advance was released, which although played better looking games, and had a different design; it was simply an updated Gameboy Color. Eventually, the Nintendo DS came out, and then onto the 3DS. Being as how each new system was made from a previous console, which was used as a stepping stone in order to make their new system; real amazement didn’t come often. When new systems which are not using the schematics from previous systems, get made; then people will be completely fascinated.
In the end, the Gameboy first opened the door to handheld consoles. It eventually opened the door to making newer, similar systems. Yet despite slowly being de-familiarized, people still buy the new, descendant handhelds out of finding out what each new system has added on.
Gunning, Tom. (2003) “Re-Newing Old Technologies: Astonishment, Second Nature, and the Uncanny in Technology from the Previous Turn-of the Century”. In Thorburn, D. and Jenkins, H.(eds), Rethinking Media Change: The Aesthetics of Transition. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp 39-60.
“Game Boy.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 26 Jan. 2014. Web. 31 Jan. 2014.