Handheld Consoles Part 1: Game Boy
Over the last couple of years, I’ve been on a quest of rounding out the collection of video game handheld consoles with original hardware or ones that have been modified to some modern creature comforts. In this series of posts, I want to go over the handhelds that I now have in my collection and give my take on them.
For the first post, I’ll start where I all began for me, the Nintendo Game Boy.
Within the first few months of the Game Boy being available, I was able to get one as a gift. I also got an officially licensed pouch/case and copy of Alleyway to complement the pack-in copy of Tetris.
Since the Game Boy did not have a backlight, I had gotten a Nuby Game Light attachment that would slide on to the top of the Game Boy to be able to play games in poor lighting conditions. The drawback of the Game Light was that it required four more batteries on top of the four AA batteries that the Game Boy required.
Over the next few years, my Game Boy game collection would grow to around 20 games. Of those, I would consider Super Mario Land, Final Fantasy Adventure, and The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening to be my top three favorite games.
While Super Mario Land may not rank as highly as Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins on other people’s lists, but I find the larger size of objects makes everything feel really cramped versus the first Mario Land. Plus, the “Muda Kingdom” theme in Super Mario Land just slaps. Check out Smooth McGroove’s acapella version of the song; but, be warned, it may get stuck in your head for a while.
Of course, with age, the Game Boy would develop columns of dead pixels as the way the screen connects to the main board will gradually fail. Depending on how bad the problem is, you can sometimes resolve it by running a heated soldering iron near the connection point on the display assembly. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always fix the problem or it can exacerbate the issue.
I opted to get the display replaced with an IPS display with a backlight. The display that I got has an on-screen display menu that I can use to set the color scheme and make minor tweaks to the active display area. As shown the above image, I went with the color scheme that is closest to the color of the original display.
Between the IPS display and using an EverDrive GB X7, there is a bit of noise that comes through the audio now. One way to remedy that would be to replace the power regulator board that connects to the main board with a RetroSix CleanPower. That is on the list of mods I’m hoping to do in the near future.