Who needs the Nintendo Switch when you can play Game Boy games on the big screen!
95% of Nintendo related chatter these days is gravitating towards the Nintendo Switch. Being able to take games out with you on a portable system and then take them back home and play on the television is an excellent evolution of what the Nintendo Wii U offered with its GamePad.
However, you’ve been able to do something very similar all along, with Nintendo’s very own Super Game Boy Super Nintendo Cartridge!
Released in 1994, this Super Nintendo peripheral was a nifty little device that let you play 8-bit GB titles on television, via a SNES console. Its design is simple – Plug your handheld game into the peripheral, slide the whole lot into your SNES cartridge slot, turn the power on and away you go. The device itself was basically the Game Boy hardware in a cartridge, so it wasn’t just simple software emulation, it was as authentic as it got – Apart from the fact that this accessory ran games ever so slightly faster than the original hardware.
But it was a great piece of kit, that also had a few other tricks up its sleeve. For a start, you can play games with palette other than the original console’s trademark green hues. You can choose from a number of pre-made palettes, or even make your own, while some older GB titles even had their own preset palettes that would be loaded instantly, such as Super Mario Land and Metroid II: Return of Samus.
A number of borders were also available that surrounded the virtual GB screen, with some specific games even containing their own specific borders, such as the Pokemon series, and of course, you could draw your own, and you could even use a SNES mouse if you have one.
If that wasn’t all, several Super Game Boy-enabled games had bonus options – Wario Blast allowed four players to play on the SGB with one cartridge via a multi-tap, while Street Fighter 2 enabled 2 players with just one copy of the game. Some games had better music and sound effects, while Space Invaders contained a proper 16-bit version of the game on its tiny cartridge.
There were a whole set of features that were mostly underused my many developers, which is a real shame. Imagine if more games featured 16-bit games on a tiny cart, or added entirely new features?
Super Game Boy 2
Things eventually got even better, because Japan got a second revision of the hardware. This second edition arrived in 1998 and is absolutely lovely to look at, with its transparent blue casing and LED power light. It added a link cable socket, perfect for playing multiplayer games or more specifically, allowing for trades and battles in Pokemon. It also added 8 new borders, including my personal favourite – One that mimics the transparent portables that were released later on, so you can see a pixel rendition of the system’s innards. It also fixed the speed issues that I mentioned earlier, making for an even more authentic experience.
But wait, that’s not all – Because, there is only one way to truly experience the Super Game Boy 2 and that’s to use Hori’s official SGB Commander gamepad. This special controller looks just like the portable console’s nether regions, containing an almost identical design, albeit with extra buttons. Not only does this pad make for a more enjoyable experience, but it also makes navigating menus that little easier, with specially labelled buttons for menu functions. It also places all the shoulder buttons to the face of the pad, which has its uses for other Super Nintendo games. This is truly one of the best ways to play 8-bit portable releases on your television, except maybe the Game Boy Player, which is another story for another time.
Thank you so much for taking the time to watch this video, and I hope you found it enlightening. As always, subscribes, comments and shares are always appreciated – I always reply to all comments, as well as Tweets to @PugHoofGaming. If you liked this video, there’s plenty more great content on my channel, so why not check out my other videos?
As always – until next time, keep gaming positive.