Handheld gaming historians, take note: homebrew programmer Chris Covell's latest feature, The Decline of the Game Boy, tracks nearly fifteen years' worth of Japanese releases for Nintendo's first portable console, revealing a number of interesting trends.

Covell dispels the commonly held belief that a glut of puzzle games killed off interest in the Game Boy. Puzzlers accounted for 28 percent of the console's Japanese release lineup for 1989 and 1990, and the genre tapered off significantly in the following years. Instead, Covell suggests that games based on licensed properties caused the platform's decline. In 1995, a staggering 52 percent of Japanese Game Boy releases were based on films, TV shows, or popular media brands.

Perhaps as a consequence, 1996 saw the Game Boy's leanest release schedule since its launch. The handheld would've likely died a quick death afterward if but for one thing: Pokemon. The 1997 launch of Nintendo's monster-collecting franchise added another six years to the Game Boy's lifespan... and birthed another disastrous trend, as Covell notes in his article.

Also recommended (and less depressing): Covell's Forgotten Game Boy Gems, an article spotlighting some of the more worthwhile obscurities from the console's library, including Sunsoft's Mr. Gimmick-like Trip World, the Balloon Fight semi-sequel Balloon Kid, and Nihon Bussan's unfortunately named Booby Boys.