Game Boy Micro and Nintendo DS added backlit displays, yet still reflected sunlight!

Stumbled across this post over at shmups forum while looking for info on GBA screens (another thread on that later…).

The gist of it though is something I only had an inkling about in the past: the original Nintendo DS and Game Boy Micro use transreflective display technology in order to allow for outdoor viewing.

They were both transparent (to let the backlight through) and reflective (to reflect sunlight outdoors), maximising their usability both outdoors and indoors during an age of low peak brightness via backlit displays.

And that explains a lot! I remember having no trouble playing through the whole of Boktai 2 in summer 2006 on my Game Boy Micro, under strong sunlight. yet I can barely make out what’s on my Analogue Pocket screen in similar conditions due to the backlight being too dim.

Almost makes me want to revisit the original DS, a system I haven’t touched since I upgraded to DS Lite in 2008.