Gulf War veterans have lost another comrade today, especially veterans who were gamers. The Nintendo Store in New York City has retired the iconic Game Boy that survived an explosion during the war.
Tanooki Joe, the Twitter user behind the account @VideoGameArt&Tidbits, which delivers high-resolution video game and retro gaming memorabilia, took to the social media platform and said the externally damaged Game Boy was officially retired from Nintendo NY after its exhibit was absent for some time. They said that during a recent visit to the store, an employee confirmed it was because it had been returned to Nintendo of America’s headquarters in Washington State.
“The Gulf War Game Boy has officially been retired from @NintendoNYC,” they said. “After not seeing it on display for a while, I asked one of the workers about it. He told me it was returned to Nintendo’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington.”
The Gulf War Game Boy has officially been retired from @NintendoNYC
After not seeing it on display for a while, I asked one of the workers about it. He told me it was returned to Nintendo’s headquarters in Redmond Washington. pic.twitter.com/wCPJDa3vlp
— VideoGameArt&Tidbits (@VGArtAndTidbits) June 29, 2023
In 1991, the original Game Boy was nearly destroyed in a barracks bombing during the Gulf War. Its plastic casing got scorched by the fire, the motherboard was exposed, and the A and B buttons were melted along with the D-pad buttons — all damages that rendered the toy useless. According to Esquire, Stephan Scoggins, the medic who stored the handheld system in the barracks, sent the damaged Game Boy to Nintendo for repair with a note that read: “Fortunately, this Game Boy, several Game Paks, and sundry other personal items were the only casualties claimed by a fire.” When the Nintendo technicians tested the Tetris cartridge that came with it, they were shocked to discover the Game Boy still worked.
While we don’t know what retirements plans Nintendo of America has in mind for the charred Game Boy, it’s truly a miracle it managed to survive the Gulf War and live to tell the tale from within the Nintendo Store near Rockefeller Center. It’s a piece of gaming history that belongs in a museum.