Non-Game Boy: Serious games before they were cool


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Since the release of Brain Age in Japan, Nintendo has turned their attention toward casual, nontraditional fare for adult audiences. Much of it, like Brain Age, is casual game material with a slight educational slant, but other successful DS releases, like Cooking Navi and Eigo Zuke, are not games at all, but rather educational aids and tools designed to use the DS's unique interface. They're all doing massive business, which makes it difficult to laugh at them no matter how silly they are.
But Nintendo was not the first company to attempt to sell application software on a gaming system, however. That distinction probably falls on BASIC Programming for the Atari 2600. Nintendo wasn't even the first company to sell application software on a Nintendo handheld. In fact, Game Boy non-games appeared in 1991. They didn't change the face of gaming. But they make for an interesting historical footnote now, and isn't that better than selling millions of copies? It is for us!

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