ON THIS DAY: GAMEBOY TURNS 25!

On this day…April 21st in the year 1989 Tokyo (AFP) released its 8-bit Game Boy. Yes, Nintendo’s trailblazing Game Boy marks its 25th anniversary today with the portable device’s legacy living on in cutting-edge smartphone games and among legions of nostalgic fans.

Billed as a “handy game machine”, few knew it would start a revolution that did for portable gaming what Sony’s Walkman had done for mobile music. It also helped turn Super Mario and Donkey Kong into global franchises, allowing users to change their favorite games on the go just by inserting small cartridges into the device.

Although they did not invent portable gaming…Game Boy’s discount price and popular software blew away the competition at the time and pushed mobile gaming into the mainstream. It laid the foundation for what we call portable gaming today, regardless of whether it is console or smartphone games, because the basic concept is the same… That’s the legacy of Game Boy. “The device also allowed users to connect with another gamer through a link cable, setting off the beginnings of online gaming networks that now numbers millions of users.

“It made gaming portable, but what’s great was it was built on the concept of networking, enabling users to connect and battle each other- ‘It was a revolution’!

The unfortunate part of this story is that a quarter century later, the company’s financial fortunes have suffered. The Game Boy was discontinued years ago. But in its heyday, Nintendo sold almost 119 million original Game Boy consoles and shifted another 81.5 million units of the next-generation Game Boy Advance series, which was launched in 2001.

The original device’s red buttons and cross-shaped directional pads may look clunky these days, but they evoke a sense of nostalgia for many fans.

Although we can all acknowledge that the small screen and games seems outdated…in the past, it seemed to be enough. For one 21 year old student…today’s games have so many possibilities. However, it’s not necessarily a good thing as the struggles with today’s hyper-fast world of 3d offerings where movement is limitless…is usually tricky to master. “Recent games have become so complicated that you can be totally lost on what you’re supposed to be doing,” he said, admitting he sometimes feels “nostalgic” for simple games with black dots and horizontal scrolls. Happy Birthday Gameboy!

 

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DRINK TO YOUR HEALTH OR TO DEATH…WATER, HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH?

Several years ago, a 28-year-old California woman died after competing in a radio station’s on-air water-drinking contest. After downing some six liters of water in three hours in the “Hold Your Wee for a Wii” (Nintendo game console) contest, Jennifer Strange vomited, went home with a splitting headache, and died from so-called water intoxication.In 2005 a fraternity hazing at California State University, Chico, left a 21-year-old man dead after he was forced to drink excessive amounts of water between rounds of push-ups in a cold basement. Club-goers taking MDMA (“ecstasy”) have died after consuming copious amounts of water trying to rehydrate following long nights of dancing and sweating. Going overboard in attempts to rehydrate is also common among endurance athletes. A 2005 study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that close to one sixth of marathon runners develop some degree of hyponatremia, or dilution of the blood caused by drinking too much water.Severe cases of hyponatremia can lead to water intoxication, an illness whose symptoms include headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, frequent urination and mental disorientation and sometimes even death.

When a person drinks too much water in a short period of time, the kidneys cannot flush it out fast enough and the blood becomes waterlogged. Drawn to regions where the concentration of salt and other dissolved substances is higher, excess water leaves the blood and ultimately enters the cells, which swell like balloons to accommodate it. Brain cells however are tightly packaged and has almost zero room to expand and swell.  Thus, drinking too much water can cause the entry of water into brain cells leading to brain swelling, which manifests as seizures, coma, respiratory arrest, brain stem herniation and death,” explains the chief of nephrology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Where did people get the idea that guzzling enormous quantities of water is healthful? A few years ago Heinz Valtin, a kidney specialist from Dartmouth Medical School, concluded that no scientific studies support the “8 cups of water a day” dictum. In fact, drinking this much or more “could be harmful, both in precipitating potentially dangerous hyponatremia and exposure to pollutants, and since he published his findings, Valtin says, “not a single scientific report published in a peer-reviewed publication has proven the contrary.”So how do we know how much water to drink? Apparently there is some science behind it. According to Verbalis: While exercising, “you should balance what you’re drinking with what you’re sweating,” but measuring sweat output is not easy. When in doubt simply follow Verbalis’s advice, “drink to your thirst. It’s the best indicator.”

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