Was this tiny Nintendo console really a huge design failure?

The Game Boy Micro was a rare design error on Nintendo’s part, and it came about because Nintendo of America was “forced” to release it, according to former NOA President Reggie Fils-Aimé in his book “Disrupting the Game: From the Bronx to the top of Nintendo’.

Nintendo has built a reputation for shrewd design decisions, especially with the success of the Switch and Switch Lite, find out why in our Nintendo Switch vs. Nintendo Switch Lite feature. If you like old consoles like the Game Boy Micro, check out our guide to the best retro game consoles.

As reported by VGC, the former Nintendo exec has revealed some interesting facets about the development and launch of the Nintendo Game Boy Micro, a seldom talked about console.

A photo of the Game Boy Micro

(Image credit: Evan-Amos)

In his book, Fils-Aimé criticizes the design of the tiny console: “From my point of view, the Game Boy Micro concept was a failure. The hardware was exceptionally small, not only were the control buttons difficult for any reasonably sized adult to manipulate, but also the screen was tiny. This went against current consumer electronics trends of making screens bigger.”

The handheld micro-console’s design is reminiscent of Nintendo’s hit 1980s Game and Watch series, but it lacked sales, selling less than a million units in its first month on sale in 2005. the company should have focused on the then recently released Game Boy. Advance, a more advanced product, Nintendo of America tied to this particular design choice.

Still, all these years we’ve adored the design of the Game Boy Micro – its tiny shape and retro style feel almost modern. It’s compatible with Game Boy Advance games and older Game Boy cartridges, so it has its uses. You can get one for around $180 / £150, so unlike some retro consoles, this obscurely designed ‘failure’ from Nintendo isn’t too expensive for collectors – yet.

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