Author Archives: Hanine El Mir

Hanine is an activist and anthropologist with a background in literature and media. From Game Boy and 3DS to Switch and mobile apps, there’s not one Pokémon game she hasn’t played. In her free time, Hanine tends to the community garden, cooks at a vegan kitchen and makes games.
A photograph of a person with dyed bright red hair and wearing a black mask (and a striped shirt). The person has their hands open, and are holding a disassembled games module. Behind them are other kinds of tools for and parts of gaming consoles.

Becoming the Game: Hardware Hacking, Agency, and Obsolescence

When I asked my aunt back in 2014 if my old Game Boy Color was still around, she handed it to me, but confirmed that the A and B buttons no longer worked properly. The Game Boy Color is a handheld game console that was released in 1998 as a successor to the black-and-white Game Boy (1989), though both consoles were discontinued in 2003. My grandmother had died recently, and we were clearing out my and my brother’s belongings from her newly empty house. Truthfully, I hadn’t touched this handheld console since the mid-2000s, around the time I upgraded from the family desktop computer to my own personal laptop. The title stickers on some of the cartridges had begun to wear out, but I held hope that this wasn’t an indicator of what their inside was like, or whether they had reached the end of their lives. I told my aunt I’d find a way to fix the buttons, to which she answered, “Why would you want to repair something from the past when the quality of what’s now in the present, on the market, is infinitely better?” In the mind of many people, it is indeed better to wait for a newer, more technologically advanced model to come out, a manifestation of planned obsolescence which we have learned to live with. (read more...)