This week, we’re taking a look at possibly one of the most unusual peripherals available for the Game Boy.
One of the most interesting aspects of Nintendo’s original Game Boy was the vast quantity of plastic you could strap onto it. There were useful essentials like screen lights and Game Genis, alongside other products that were not quite so useful, such as those that added joysticks and larger buttons. Throughout the Game Boy’s life and leading up to the Game Boy Pocket, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance, there was big business in developing and selling all sorts of tat.
I have quite a few oddities in my collection, and today I’ll be showing you one of the strangest – The Game Boy FM Radio, better known as the Boom Box Boy. I honestly have no idea how it ended up in my collection, as I never bought it. I think a retailer may have bundled it in with another order.
This device comes in many different packages, from many different peripheral manufacturers, but the device itself is usually the same – A transparent lump of plastic that snaps onto either a Game Boy Pocket or Game Boy Color system, by plugging into the EXT port on the system, while jamming itself into one of the screw holes on the rear of the system. The only problem is, that it also completely blocks access to the volume control on your system, so you’ll have to turn it down before you attach the radio.
The Boom Box Boy is simple to use, in theory. You switch your Game Boy on, and it delivers power to the radio – Just plug in some headphones, either the ones included or your own and enjoy some tunes while you play your handheld.
However, it’s not simple as that, because using the Boom Box Boy is both easy and unfathomably difficult to use in practice. The unit has just two buttons – One to scan through the FM wavelength, and another to reset back to the beginning. Every time you hit the scan button, it plays the next radio station along the way – But with no way of knowing what frequency the radio is currently tuned to, the whole exercise is an excruciating one as you hope that a) You can actually pick up the signal for the radio station you want to listen to, and b) That you can even find it. The final kick in the teeth is the fact that it doesn’t save the frequency when you power the unit off, either – So you have to scan channels all the way back from the beginning.
And if and when you find your desired radio station of choice, you have a three-way switch to select different volumes, and all of them are far too loud.
So basically, the Boom Box Boy pretty much fails as a product. At the time this peripheral was released, everyone at least had a half-decent portable music player, most likely a CD player or even a digital music player. I can’t figure out the point of this piece of plastic, I mean who makes an FM radio that doesn’t tell you what frequency you’ve selected. Of all the things you could buy for your Game Boy Pocket or Game Boy Color system, this is probably one of the worst.