Game Boy that Survived a Bombing – New York, New York - Atlas Obscura
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Game Boy that Survived a Bombing

Nintendo New York

Though the case is scorched and the buttons half-melted, this hardy handheld gaming device can still run a game of Tetris. 


When Nintendo debuted the Game Boy in 1989, it revolutionized the gaming industry. Gamers were no longer restricted to staying home or visiting an arcade to play video games. They now had the freedom to take their favorite game anywhere they wanted. This new level of portability meant that the handheld system needed to be durable to survive whatever damage it may encounter. While the manufacturers in Japan may have prided themselves on how tough the Game Boy was, even they must have been shocked to find out that it could survive an actual bombing.

When Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein sent troops to invade Kuwait in 1990, he set off what came to be known as the Gulf War. In 1991, the United States led a 35-nation military coalition response known as Operation Desert Storm. Part of this operation was Stephan Scoggins, a U.S. Army medic. He had brought with him a Nintendo Game Boy to play with during downtime as a way to relieve stress.

The Game Boy was stored inside the barracks one fateful day when Iraqi forces bombed the U.S. base. Fortunately, there were no casualties that day. Sorting through the debris, Scoggins discovered his Game Boy. The casing was heavily scorched, the buttons melted, the motherboard was exposed and the overall shape of the system was warped.

Scoggins sent his Game Boy back to Nintendo hoping to have it repaired. The technicians saw the busted condition and figured there wasn’t anything they could do. Not expecting much to happen, they decided to try inserting a game cartridge into it. To everyone’s amazement, a cartridge of Tetris worked. Rather than repair the Game Boy, Nintendo sent Scoggins a replacement and kept the original charred system as a historical relic.

To this day the Game Boy is still functioning. It was previously displayed at the Nintendo flagship store in Rockefeller Center, New York with a demo of Tetris playing on loop.

Know Before You Go

The Game Boy is displayed at the Nintendo NYC store in Rockefeller Center. It is located on the store's second floor. No admission is needed to view the item. Store hours are 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. Monday - Friday, 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. Sunday.

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