Nintendo Research and Engineering is a division within Nintendo that focuses exclusively on developing Nintendo handhelds. They have held this role since the Game Boy Color was created. The general manager of the division is Satoru Okada, who joined Nintendo in 1975. In February 2013, the division was combined with Nintendo Integrated Research & Development.


According to Okada, Nintendo Research and Engineering were planning both the Game Boy Color and the Game Boy Advance at the same time. In fact, according to an interview with Nintendo Online Magazine, they were actually thinking about the Game Boy Advance before they did the Game Boy Color. Okada worked alongside Gunpei Yokoi in creating the original Game Boy, and stated that ever since then he had wanted to create a new handheld with entirely new specs. The Game Boy Color was merely an upgraded Game Boy with the inclusion of color, though the Game Boy Advance featured many more features that couldn't be done on previous versions of the Game Boy, such as mode 7 graphics. The GBA also featured L and R buttons, which weren't present on the Game Boy or Game Boy Color.

Interestingly, Okada stated that making sure backwards compatibility is present in a handheld system is a duty of Research and Engineering. With this in mind, the Game Boy Color could play original Game Boy games, the Game Boy Advance could play both Game Boy and Game Boy Color games, and the Nintendo DS could play Game Boy Advance games. The Nintendo DSi was the first to break this trend, as it was only capable of playing Nintendo DS video games. Despite the Nintendo DSi being able to play games made specifically for it, most don't consider Nintendo DS games to be of a previous generation.


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