Retro Weekends – The Nintendo Game Boy

Metroid 2

The Downfall

Here’s that dreaded section! But fear not, the Game Boy Color is fine. However I can’t say the same about the original Game Boys. You see, when we first got the two Game Boys, the plastic screen covers, or rather one of them, always came loose. The other was simply non-existent. So the screens themselves were exposed to the elements. But this wasn’t the downfall. What happened was that the Game Boy I decided to keep had a pixel problem. From the outset there would be two thin, vertical, dead lines of pixels on the right side. However I still managed because they were very thin and not so intrusive. But then as time passed, more of these lines were appearing, mostly on the right side, sometimes right next to each other. It got so bad after some years that I stopped using that one and switched to the other one (at this point both of my sisters stopped playing it).

The other one was free of dead pixels and completely clean. Then… they appeared again, this time going horizontal and from the bottom. Keep in mind that almost all games have player characters and enemies scrolling on the bottom. Not only that, some games like Pokemon have text that appears on the bottom. At first it was one thin horizontal line. Then two, then more, until eventually the bottom was un-viewable and games unplayable. By the time this happened I was already on my Game Boy Color. But it was sad to see an old dog like the Game Boy suffer. It probably still works today. but its game playing days are long over.

The Accessories weren’t safe either. The Link Cables are safe, but the others weren’t. With the Worm Light, I started using it for the GBA I had gotten a few years after getting the GBC since the ports were the same, but plugging it into that saw the light being upside down and under the handheld. I had to bend the light up to the top. This proved to be its undoing as a year later it eventually stopped working.

The Power Pak stopped working, but in the strangest of ways. If you look at the connecter of a GBC’s A/C adaptor, you’ll see a little yellow part on tip of it. The pak had one, and you slipped the pak into the port on the bottom. So for some reason after maybe a year, this part came loose! Given the pak still worked, but now I had to push the pak in harder to make it function; I even taped it down so that it wouldn’t move. But any little jolt would move it out of place and power off the GBC. I tried to plug in just the A/C adapter directly into the GBC (instead of the pak’s pass-through), but the little yellow part was stuck in the port, making the connection incomplete. Unwilling to take the risk by keeping the pak plugged in and risk losing Pokemon data on saving, its days were over. I threw it out, never to see it again.

GB Library 2

And today…

I still have my original Game Boy and the Game Boy Color. As you can see, the original Game Boy’s plastic screen cover is missing. Behind the unit, the battery cover is also missing. I’m not sure if it still works though. As for the GBC, it’s still in good working condition. The screen has scratches on it, but you can still play games on it no problem. That little yellow tip I mentioned even came loose from the port, though it came out in pieces. My physical collection of Game Boy and GBC games hasn’t changed since back then, but I have gained more games though the 3DS’ Virtual Console. If you’re wondering where my Game Boy Advance is, I still have it, but that’s an article for another time. While I didn’t take my handheld gaming as seriously as I do now, it was but a taste of things to come.

So, what are some of your cherished memories of the Game Boy, Game Boy Pocket, and Game Boy Color? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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