That looks pretty interesting🤔
Backlit GBC, can’t wait.
I ended up sending back my Game Boy Light, unfortunately it had an issue with the light switch where sometimes turning off the light would shut down the whole system. I cleaned the battery contacts with alcohol which made it better but not robust enough to use the system with confidence.
The display exceeded my expectations though. I never owned a Game Boy Pocket and only used friends’ Game Boys back in the day, but the ghosting feels like part of the appeal, especially when the games were designed around it. The gap between the plastic and the screen wasn’t an annoyance either. The contrast wheel is pretty neat as well, and I found it to be more important when the EMF backlight is in use.
I’m not sure which system to use now. I looked into backlit GBAs and the European models of the AGS-101, but the screens and repro-screens on those just look like DS Lite displays anyway, with a similar amount of ghosting and oversaturated colours (at least with GBA titles).
I might just stick with the 3DS Virtual Console for now to replay Mole Mania and DK '94. Not sure about Link’s Awakening DX, it looks too vivid.
I could also try and pick up a mint condition Game Boy Pocket as @poptart suggests - for me scratches on the display plastic have to be avoided.
Mint condition GBP is great, but if you have one in otherwise fine condition you can just replace the LCD cover with a glass one from ebay.
I still haven’t decided on a GBP. It’s the old paradox of choice again…
Hard to consider these following factors:
- Which colour! They all look pretty nice
- Which box design. I was tempted by a JPN silver model but the portrait, less colourful, less abstract box isn’t as nice as the horizontal boxes…
- Power LED or no power LED. No LED seems cleaner but it’d be nice to know when the batteries are low.
- Made in Japan models (early production run) vs Made in China (later runs) manufacturing differences? Is the quality control consistent? My GBC was Made in Japan, but was an early unit.
May I introduce you to my world: just buy them all.
You can have a collection of all the colors you like, all the models you like, all the revisions you like, and because they’re Game Boys they don’t take up a lot of space, they don’t cost much, and you can just switch games from one system to another with zero fuss.
Edit: re power LED, I accidentally bought one with no power LED and I’ve been using it. It lasted the entire playthrough of Link’s Awakening without needing new batteries on rechargable eneloop-like IKEA batteries which are not generally thought to be great with GBP. Taught me to not worry about battery so much.
This looks great. Wow, finally.
Is the aspect ratio and resolution the same as the OG GBC?
My personal philosophy is to just grab one in great condition at a good price. You will probably “learn” to love any color or model you buy, provided there are no screen, build, or sound quality variances.
I think so. According to a blog post from last year, “the image is 4x linearly scaled so aspect ratio is correct.”
I’m not usually an early adopter, though, so I’m going to wait for the first batch to go out and get some first-hand impressions on it.
Been reading into the oversaturation of the AGS-101 display (and by extension, the DS Lite display) and it reminds me a lot of the overrated OLED Vita display which oversaturated colours compared with what the monitors the artists would have been working with. Intentionally muted colours often turned overly vivid (or neon as was the case with green) and I remember it being a annoyance with that display. It appears to be the same deal here:
I played some Wario Land 4 on my Game Boy Micro, N3DS XL (I thought maybe the screen dimming would compensate) and DS Lite and only the Game Boy Micro didn’t turn the sunset a bright yellow - it was orange there. The DS Lite had a colour gamut of about 73% of sRGB according to the experts at DisplayMate, which was super high for 2006, and would explain the oversaturation given what Nintendo R&D would target back in 2000/2001 for WL4.
I also saw this comparison over at the shmups forum, haven’t played CastleVania HoD before so it’s a surprise to me how different it looks:
Wario Land 4 photos: Micro, DS Lite, N3DS XL
Only the Micro is close to what was intended by the developers.
I may be wrong but the 101 and DS Lite is probably more accurate to the RGB value’s intent and similar to what you would see in a PC emulator or on Game Boy Player, however the design intent wasn’t to have it like that, but to have it look nice on an original or AGS 001 screen.
You’re spot on there.
The DS Lite, especially for the time, had an objectively better display than anything that came before it, with 74% of the sRGB standard: http://www.displaymate.com/psp_ds_shootout.htm
But as you mention, developers weren’t designing for that display, and almost all GBA games had to be made with the older models’ limitations in mind. The lower colour gamut of the GBM display happens to fit the games better there.
The Vita was the situation in reverse, the OLED display was poorly calibrated and also had oversaturated colours compared with what developers were designing for on their monitors. While some games muted the colours intentionally to compensate (I think Falcom were one developer that did this, I remember the PS3 version being more saturated than the Vita versions, when comparing on like-for-like 100% sRGB Vita-2000 displays) most games were ports, or designed on sRGB monitors, so they’d appear incorrect on the OLED model.
The PSP-3000 and Go models were interesting in that you could set the system to the original colour gamut (~50% of sRGB) which made older PSP games appear with the correct colour saturation. It helps a lot with titles like the Rondo of Blood remake. Later PSP games were designed for the 3000 display and look fine, e.g. I remember the art in rhythm game iDOLM@STER Shiny Festa looking as intended, and Tactics Ogre: LUCT was all good as well.
The solution, of course, would be to have an OS which is colour-aware, changing automatically depending on the content shown. iOS does this, switching between sRGB and the newer DCI-P3 colour spaces automatically, but it’s wasted on games considering how little legacy software runs on newer devices.
I’m guessing the problem is even worse for GBC games - Link’s Awakening DX looks a lot more vivid on my 3DS than I remember it appearing on the GBC.
Yeah to my eye GBC games only look right on a GBC screen. It’s not just muted but also seems artificially brightened. You can even compare GBC to GBA and the same game on a GBA will just look dark in a way it doesn’t on GBC.
Yeah, I’m with you on that. There aren’t any colours I wouldn’t want out of the lineup either, but all the mint condition models that I’ve seen have quite pricey which is a shame. Will continue to keep an eye out.
Got my Game Boy Pocket. Came in an official Nintendo leather case which is pretty snazzy, and with Golf, Top Rank Tennis and Track and Field.
It’s been well looked after - not a single mark on the rear case and the game cartridges are also immaculate which is nice.
Thing is, for some reason there’s a superglue blob to the left of the screen and there’s some glue under the very top of the plastic screen cover. It would be perfect without those blemishes (though there were some light scuffs on the screen cover too), I’m not even sure why they are there, it’s definitely not a refurb case.
Was really surprised that the previous saves on the DK ‘94 cartridge I got were still intact. Opening the cartridge reveals a date stamp of 1995 on the battery!
I replaced my Link’s Awakening battery today as that has run dry, the new Maxell battery that I picked up looks identical to the ones from 25 years ago! Super cool.
Most GB stuff I find still works. Pokemon Gold & Silver, or other carts with RTC, tend to fail much sooner though.