Breathing new life into old hardware, The Original Game boy gets a backlight.

backlight

1989, I was 3 but the Game Boy was just born.

I vividly remember growing up around the Nintendo Game Boy as a child. Older cousins had this cool device which had Mario, Zelda and Final Fantasy games on it on the go. There was only one problem it was ridiculously hard to see unless you played around good lights. It had no backlight. In 2017 if a device came out with no way to see it, well it wouldn’t be much of a device. I ran across this Original Game Boy in a local Pawn Shop for a decent price, few scratches here and there also came with a game. Unable to summon the will to pass it up I purchased it.

Quickly I made my way home just so I could turn it on and play.

Come to find out, my eyes are nowhere what they use to be. Realizing that my eyesight has taken a huge hit.

Staring at 1080p monitors and 144hz HD screens all day gaming in super HD. Then jumping to a tiny screen with a green canvas.

Being so used to a backlight these days that it’s just standard in every device we have now. Smartphones, Laptops, Tablets.. etc.

It was hard to adjust, but the awesomeness of having real hardware was still there, the buttons felt great, the sound was loud enough and it was still fun as heck to play.

Super Mario Land 2

I went to my local/favorite retro game store, Wizards

Wizards is an awesome place where people come together to play Magic the gathering and other various board/dice/card games. but they also deal in retro games which

But they also deal in retro games which is the even bigger draw to me.

Luckily they had a copy of one of my favorite games on the system. Super Mario Land 2, I was super excited to finally be able to own this game and play it on my upgraded Gameboy.

The blue backlight shined amazing, and I was able to play this game at night.

backlight

Completing the mod

The backlight mod wasn’t difficult for me to complete. Although I’ve had many years of working on several electronics and soldering. I would rate it as an easy-medium level of difficulty.

backlight

Lots of small parts, just bundle them together each layer you take off.

A good rule of thumb is ALWAYS to test your mod before you put everything back together.

Worth every minute and penny!

After completing the backlight mod

I really set into playing Super Mario Land. Unfortunately, it was extremely easy well until the LAST WORLD. I don’t know what happens but the difficulty goes up a ton! Literally trying to beat the last stage almost every night before bed. I would progress further and further. Till my 4yr old son decided he wanted to turn Mario into a bomb and erase all my progress.

I haven’t played it since….

Where to get the backlight mod?

I ordered mine off of eBay, which I realized from a very cool site called https://handheldlegend.com/

They have all sorts of cool stuff. The next piece I’m ordering is the bivert and glass screen. This will make the pixels look sharper and well the glass is just much better than that plastic screen.

Retrogaming

I don’t know what it is, I know I can play all retro games on my computer but it’s not the same. There is something magically about hold the real hardware and playing the games on it. Emulators are still not 100% accurate but they are awfully close. This is why I have almost all the consoles I want already now I just need the games. It really sucks that retro gaming is so expensive in 2017, that is why there are alternatives such as the everdives.

What’s next?

I’ve been dying to do a GameBoyZero project. I’ve been ordering parts but it looks like everything is back ordered that I need to complete it as of right now. While I have already been printing brackets and ordering parts that I can order. The project will take quite a while, I believe it will be worth it to have an awesome portable emulation station. Especially one that looks like an original Gameboy!

For now, I’m going to order me a nice everdrive and enjoy my backlight mod and play some original GameBoy games in 2017 style.

 

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Creator of Kentuckynerd.com and possibly the nerdiest person in the state of Kentucky.
About KYNerd 78 Articles
Creator of Kentuckynerd.com and possibly the nerdiest person in the state of Kentucky.