The use of the Game Boy today can only be justified on nostalgic grounds, it left us blind and made thousands of eye doctors around the world millionaires! If you’re trying to get your playground back, there are less sight-damaging options, such as the Super Game Boy, the adapter that allows you to use Game Boy cartridges on a SNES and use your TV as a screen.
If you’re still determined to buy and, worse, use the original console, you should know that:
- It is not a very expensive device, you can get it for between thirty and fifty euros depending on its condition
- It is common for the controls (directions or buttons that don’t work) and/or the display (in the form of vertical or horizontal lines that are not displayed or always illuminated) to be faulty
Depending on the severity of the fault, it may be cheaper to purchase another unit than to repair the damaged one. There are no longer any spare parts for the original screen, so it is better to run away from those that present problems of this type.
Game Boy games do not have regional protection, you can use Japanese or American cartridges in a console bought in Europe, and are usually not excessively expensive
Three Game Boy models were distributed in Spain: the original, the Game Boy Pocket and the Game Boy Color. There are many variants of all of them, from special editions of the original (the Play It Loud or the Manchester United), to Pocket and Color with all kinds of colored, transparent and even backlit cases (the Game Boy Light, an iteration of the Pocket that was only sold in Japan).
It is to be thanked that the screens of the Pocket and Color, even without seeing each other in the dark, are better than those of the original Game Boy, show less halo and will leave you less blind.
There are several add-ons that can be incorporated into the console, such as Konami’s ‘Hyper Boy’ (a box, similar to the iCade, that turns the Game Boy into a tabletop with a magnifying glass, front lighting and joystick instead of a crosshead; there are variants from other companies), or the camera and printer, devices that are completely useless unless one pretends to be dedicated to the most avant-garde artistic activism, and which even in the nineties offered a questionable quality.
Game Boy games have no regional protection, Japanese or American cartridges can be used on a console bought in Europe, and are not usually excessively expensive (although everything depends, as always, on the rarity and state of the games). There are flash cartridges, from the everlasting Everdrive by Krikzz to cheaper options, programmable by cable from a PC; and those oriented to store songs used by chiptunes composers (musical instrument is one of the few worthy uses of this console nowadays).
To finish with this brief review, we must refer to the Game Gear, and warn how delicate these objects are to those nostalgic for Sega’s first laptop. There is no console that doesn’t need a replacement of all the electrolytic capacitors of the main board and the sound amplifier. There are workshops that perform the repair, but in the process we may find that the screen and/or the fluorescent tube of the backlight are also damaged.
To overcome these problems, several modifications have been designed. There are some fairly simple ones, which consist of replacing the fluorescent light with an LED panel, which allows you to recover the screen if the tube has broken and save batteries, but not improve image quality (the fact that one of the most common accessories of both the Game Gear and Game Boy was the magnifying glass gives an idea of how painful it was to play with them).
But there are also much bolder tutorials, which directly replace the original screen with a modern 3.5-inch LED like this one or this one, and even compare the results. Similar assemblies can be found for Atari Lynx, including one by McWill that allows you to connect the console to a monitor by VGA. Ah, from Game Gear you can find flash cartridge (from Krikzz, for a change), but from Lynx there is no commercial one yet, we will have to keep watching the AtariAge forums!