While the Gameboy is a lot of fun to play and had a swag of great titles released for it over the years, there’s no denying that playing games on that three-fifths-of-fuck-all monochrome screen can stretch even the most ardent gamers patience. We’ve become a little spoilt with screen size for gaming, thanks to OMFG THE LARGENESS HAS BROKEN MY MIND INTO A THOUSAND LOOSELY RELATED PIECES size LCD and Plasmas TVs and monitors.
So if you still want to play Gameboy but want a less fun-sized experience, what’s the answer? Simple really; The Super Gameboy. This accessory add-on for the Super Nintendo and Super Famicom plugs into the cartridge port of your console, then allows you to play Gameboy cartridges on your SNES/SFC machine. I pulled out both the SNES and SFC versions to take a look and get a feel for what Gameboy gaming on the big(ger) screen is like.
Unfortunately I don’t have a boxed SNES Super Gameboy to look through, but we can pull open the SFC version and take a look at the contents.
As you can see, the SFC version of the Super Gameboy shares some box characteristics with SFC game titles, with the SFC logo across the top of the box. Apart from the adaptor itself, you get a manual, and other pictured paraphernalia. The box and contents I have are all in fantastic condition, thanks to what seems to be a Japanese predisposition to taking very good care of their gaming stuff. There appears to be very little difference between the SNES and SFC versions except for the logo differences in the picture. Both units work the same way, simulating a SNES cart at the bottom with the top providing a Gameboy connector for you to plug your Gameboy carts into.
So, just how useful is this thing? How much fun? Will it mow your lawn? To answer at least some of these questions, I had a dig around my Gameboy games for a couple of random titles to test. First up was Donkey Kong Land 2. I loaded it up onto the Gameboy first, to get a good mental snapshop of the experience the Super Gameboy had to top.
Next up, was giving the Super Gameboy a quick cotton-bud colonoscopy and get it plugged into the SNES for a quick game of Donkey Kong. With the Super Gameboy plugged in, the SNES takes on a bit of a Megadrive-with-32x feel.
The SNES will boot with the Super Gameboy in it but empty, and just present you with a screen warning that no cartridge is inserted.
I thought it was pretty nifty that the Adaptor loading screen – and any games you play through the adaptor – are framed by a digital representation of the Gameboy screen itself. Very neat, and a nice touch. Some games – like Donkey Kong Land 2 – also have a coloured border (in this case bananas) that replaces this during game play.
I also fired up Aerostar for a bit of scrolling shooter action
The verdict? Well, it depends on the game really. I didn’t think much of Aerostar on the ‘big screen’, but Donkey Kong Land 2 really came alive. Depending on the library of games you have for the Gameboy, I think the Super Gameboy could be a worthwhile investment, breathing new life into games you’ve once loved but may have been hesitant to pick up again because of the limitations of the original handheld. If you can recommend some good games to play via the Super Gameboy, drop me a comment!