Released in 1980, the Game & Watch was Nintendo’s very first handheld console. Each console had a single game to be played on an LCD screen. Approximately 60 electronic Game & Watch handheld games were released with unique toy-like experiences.
Next to be released was the Game Boy Original, a small and affordable handheld console that could play more than one game per device. The Game Boy was released in 1989, first in Japan, then North America, and eventually Europe. 119 million units were sold after the release of the Nintendo Game Boy.
Next, Nintendo released the Game Boy Pocket. In 1996, the Game Boy Pocket proved very similar to the Game Boy Original, however, it was lighter and a bit smaller. Multiple colors became available. The device required two AAA batteries, less than the original Game Boy. The Game Boy Light and Game Boy Color were both released just two years after the Game Boy Pocket in 1998. They added a backlit screen, tripled internal memory, and a double processor speed.
In 2001, Nintendo released the Game Boy Advance Original featuring a 32 bit processor, a larger high-resolution screen, L and R triggers, and graphical prowess comparable to SNES. The Game Boy Advance SP and Game Boy Advance Micro were next to follow. They added a clamshell design (later seen in the Nintendo DS). They no longer required batteries as a rechargeable battery was integrated in. Adjustable brightness was also added.
By 2004, the original Nintendo DS was released and included dual screens, a bottom touch screen and an included stylus. The screens could work together or independent of one another. Wifi capabilities were introduced. Up until 2017, the original Nintendo DS has follow-up consoles beginning with the Nintendo DS Lite, then DSi, DSi XL, eventually to the Nintendo 3DS Original, the 3DS XL, and the 3DS 2DS (and then updated of each).
In 2017, the Nintendo Switch was released and includes a tablet design with a capacity touch screen, and a kickstand. The console is the most recent handheld console released by Nintendo. It has detachable Jo-Con controllers with classic button controls and Wii motion control. The device can be played on the go or via a TV.