The iconic Gulf War Nintendo Game Boy is heading into retirement

Gulf War Nintendo Game Boy exhibition with handheld in view
(Image credit: VGArtAndTidbits)

If you’re into retro consoles, you’ve no doubt heard of the Game Boy that miraculously survived a Gulf War bomb explosion. Well, that hardy handheld is now heading into retirement, as it has officially left its home at the Nintendo Store in New York. Sadly, that means you’ll no longer be able to go witness the battleworn backpack buddy for yourself, as it now reportedly resides at the company’s headquarters.

Before we dive into the Gulf War Game Boy’s retirement plans, let’s recap why it’s such an iconic piece of video game history. Back in 1991, Nintendo’s best handheld contender was damaged in a barracks bombing. While the console’s exterior looks exactly like you’d expect, its innards managed to mostly survive the explosion, meaning it could still run the copy of Tetris that came with it.

Look, If that’s not a testament to the Game Boy’s durability, I don’t know what is, and the handheld’s remarkable story has been celebrated at the New York Nintendo Store for years. However, according to VideoGameArt&Tidbits on Twitter, the popular portable has now left the retail exhibition, and it has already made its way to Redmond Washington for a deserved rest.

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In a Tweet, the video game archive account says NYC Nintendo Store staff confirmed the Gulf War Game Boy’s whereabouts after being asked about its prolonged absence. The archivist behind the account, Super Mario collector TanookiKuribo, also comments that the handheld’s screen was starting to degrade, but attributes that to “it being on constantly for nearly 30 years.”

While I’m personally sad that I won’t be able to go check out the remarkable Game Boy if and when I visit New York, the heroic handheld deserves a rest. I’m not so sure the Nintendo Switch or Steam Deck could survive the same sort of assault, and you could say even the portable in question survived out of sheer luck. Still, its story is one for the video game history books, one that cements the 8-bit console’s legacy.

As a side note, if you’re into weird handhelds, you might want to check out our Tetris McNugget hands on, as we recently put the promotional McDonald’s portable to the test. 

Looking for a newer portable? Check out the best Nintendo Switch bundles. Alternatively, check out the best gaming laptops for a collection of durable, reliable rigs.

Phil Hayton
Hardware Editor

I’ve been messing around with PCs, video game consoles, and tech since before I could speak. Don’t get me wrong, I kickstarted my relationship with technology by jamming a Hot Wheels double-decker bus into my parent’s VCR, but we all have to start somewhere. I even somehow managed to become a walking, talking buyer’s guide at my teenage supermarket job, which helped me accept my career fate. So, rather than try to realise my musician dreams, or see out my University degree, I started running my own retro pop culture site and writing about video games and tech for the likes of TechRadar, The Daily Star, and the BBC before eventually ending up with a job covering graphics card shenanigans at PCGamesN. Now, I’m your friendly neighbourhood Hardware Editor at GamesRadar, and it’s my job to make sure you can kick butt in all your favourite games using the best gaming hardware, whether you’re a sucker for handhelds like the Steam Deck and Nintendo Switch or a hardcore gaming PC enthusiast.