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Nintendo America's former marketing manager thought 'Game Boy' was a bad name and wanted to change it

by rawmeatcowboy
19 April 2019
GN Version 5.0

The Game Boy was one of Nintendo's major phenomenons, and sent the company into a completely different stratosphere when it came to success. While Nintendo had found a ton of fortune with the NES, the Game Boy's success outside of Japan wasn't guaranteed. The burden of marketing the device in the states fell on marketing manager Don Coyner, and he wasn't sold on the name from the get-go.

“I was sitting in my office and [Nintendo of America president Minoru] Arakawa walked in with a Game Boy in his hand and gave it to me and said, ‘We’re launching this at Christmas. I looked at it and my first reaction was, ‘That’s a really bad name.’ You know: ‘Game Boy.’ He’s like, ‘What do you mean? Why is it a bad name?’ I said, ‘Well, it feels really young. It seems a little bit sexist and it just sounds kind of Japanese.’ He was a very quiet guy, thoughtful guy. He kind of said, ‘Hmm, yeah, we’re not going to change the name.’”

The decision to stick with the name seemed to be a good one, as the term really caught on. There are still people today who call any portable gaming system a Game Boy!

This is just one small snippet from a fantastic Polygon feature on the Game Boy's history. Do yourself a favor and check out the full piece here.