The Game Boy Micro was a rare design misstep by Nintendo, and it came about because Nintendo of America was 'forced' to release it, according to former president of NOA Reggie Fils-Aimé in his book ‘Disrupting the Game: From the Bronx to the Top of Nintendo’.
Nintendo has built a reputation for astute design decisions, not least with the success of the Switch and Switch Lite, find out why in our Nintendo Switch versus Nintendo Switch Lite feature. If you are keen on old consoles like the Game Boy Micro take a look at our guide to the best retro game consoles.
As reported by VGC (opens in new tab) the former Nintendo exec has revealed some interesting facets about the development and launch of the Nintendo Game Boy Micro, a rarely spoken about console.
In his book Fils-Aimé critiques the tiny console's design: “From my perspective, the concept of Game Boy Micro was a nonstarter. 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 ran counter to current consumer electronics trends of making screens larger."
The micro handheld console's design recalls Nintendo's successful Game and Watch series from the 1980s, but it lacked sales, selling less than a million units in its first month on sale in 2005. While the company should have been focused on the then recently launched Game Boy Advance, a more advanced product, Nintendo of America was tied to this peculiar design choice.
Yet, all these years on we kind of love the design of the Game Boy Micro – its tiny form and retro styling 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 obscure design 'failure' from Nintendo isn't overpriced for collectors – yet.