From the time it was released in 1989, there was one criticism, one grievance that seemed to follow the original Game Boy wherever it went: “Where’s the color?”
It was the one perceived shortcoming of Nintendo’s handheld device, and one that competitors such as SEGA’s Game Gear and Atari’s Lynx had little qualm going after in their advertising. Of course, they never mentioned how much more of a drain on batteries that color was, but fortunately for them, neither did Nintendo.
Come 1995, six years after the release of the original “black and white” unit, rumors began to stir surrounding the impending release of a “color Game Boy.” And what we got?
Suffice to say, people were expecting something a little bit different.
Rather than a Game Boy with color visuals, Nintendo was content to release the same system as before, but in a variety of new color shells, dubbed the “Play It Loud! Series,” after their more aggressive advertising slogan at the time.Five different colors were released in North America on March 20th: “Deep” Black, “Gorgeous” Green, “Radiant” Red, “Vibrant” Yellow, and “High Tech” Transparent. Additional colors were released in other regions, with Europe also getting “Cool” Blue, Europe and Japan receiving a “Traditional” White, and the United Kingdom getting a different shade of red with Manchester United logos emblazoned on it. Various promotions saw bonuses as well, such as an included “Play It Loud!” case, or Game Boy sunglasses provided by the retailer with a purchase.
In terms of specifications, the “Play It Loud!” Game Boys were nigh-identical to the original discussed previously, though they did feature dark grey buttons and frame for the screen, compared to the various colors seen on the original. The “Nintendo Game Boy” logo beneath the screen and button labels were dark grey (if not black) on all versions but High Tech Transparent and Deep Black itself, which instead used more of a pink/violet color. (The Manchester United version seemed to stick with a lighter gray not unlike the original’s screen border all around.)
While a differently colored shell may not have been the kind of improvement some Portable Power Players were hoping for by this point, it nevertheless kickstarted a trend that would continue not only with future iterations of the platform, but some of Nintendo’s home consoles as well.