After Twenty Years I can Finally See!

Posted by JohnnyAutoFire (356 posts) -

So in my last blog entry I talked about how I had found an old beat up Game Boy at a used game store.  Since then i've been researching different ways of lighting the screen, since the Game Boy's screen is damn near impossible to see unless you're in perfect lighting.  After a little bit of searching, I came across a site called nonelectronics.com which specializes in Game Boy modifications and chip tune music.  They had all the documentation for how to backlight a Game Boy's screen, and they even had a kit to buy that had everything you would need to get the job done.  I've never really modded anything before.  I helped my buddy Kiemoe fix his Dreamcast once, but that was simply replacing a resistor that had gone bad.  I was a little hesitant, but I figured I would give it a shot.  The Game Boy was only $10, so it didn't really matter if I broke it.   After a couple of nasty burns from the soldering iron, I reconnected the ribbon cable and flipped the little grey switch (holding my breath the whole time). 
 

 IT'S ALIVE!!!
I really can't believe that it actually worked!  The mod took about an hour to complete (i was going at a fairly slow pace) and it was a pretty fun experience.  I felt like such a badass when it lit up for the first time, even though I was just following instructions.  The problem I keep having though is that dust keeps getting under the screen when I put the rear polarizer in (this little square film that is necessary for the screen to display a picture). 
 
 GRRR!

The dust really doesn't bother me that much, it's a Game Boy and it's not going to be perfect.  And as you can see by the picture above, I found a copy of Kirby's Dream Land!  I loooove this game so much.  I still don't understand why Kirby was white on the cartridge even though when you play the game on a Game Boy Color he shows up as pink.
Such an awesome game!
I understand that there are better and easier ways to play Game Boy games, but there's just something about the old school Game Boy that makes it really cool.  I've always enjoyed old Nintendo games, and the Game Boy library is one that i've ignored for too long.  It represents nearly a decade of fantastic portable video games, and nobody shows it any love anymore.  Anyways, i'm going to go play some more Kirby.  Happy retro gaming! 
 

#1 Posted by JohnnyAutoFire (356 posts) -

So in my last blog entry I talked about how I had found an old beat up Game Boy at a used game store.  Since then i've been researching different ways of lighting the screen, since the Game Boy's screen is damn near impossible to see unless you're in perfect lighting.  After a little bit of searching, I came across a site called nonelectronics.com which specializes in Game Boy modifications and chip tune music.  They had all the documentation for how to backlight a Game Boy's screen, and they even had a kit to buy that had everything you would need to get the job done.  I've never really modded anything before.  I helped my buddy Kiemoe fix his Dreamcast once, but that was simply replacing a resistor that had gone bad.  I was a little hesitant, but I figured I would give it a shot.  The Game Boy was only $10, so it didn't really matter if I broke it.   After a couple of nasty burns from the soldering iron, I reconnected the ribbon cable and flipped the little grey switch (holding my breath the whole time). 
 

 IT'S ALIVE!!!
I really can't believe that it actually worked!  The mod took about an hour to complete (i was going at a fairly slow pace) and it was a pretty fun experience.  I felt like such a badass when it lit up for the first time, even though I was just following instructions.  The problem I keep having though is that dust keeps getting under the screen when I put the rear polarizer in (this little square film that is necessary for the screen to display a picture). 
 
 GRRR!

The dust really doesn't bother me that much, it's a Game Boy and it's not going to be perfect.  And as you can see by the picture above, I found a copy of Kirby's Dream Land!  I loooove this game so much.  I still don't understand why Kirby was white on the cartridge even though when you play the game on a Game Boy Color he shows up as pink.
Such an awesome game!
I understand that there are better and easier ways to play Game Boy games, but there's just something about the old school Game Boy that makes it really cool.  I've always enjoyed old Nintendo games, and the Game Boy library is one that i've ignored for too long.  It represents nearly a decade of fantastic portable video games, and nobody shows it any love anymore.  Anyways, i'm going to go play some more Kirby.  Happy retro gaming! 
 

#2 Posted by LiquidPrince (16248 posts) -

Nice. Good job.

#3 Posted by ArbitraryWater (12254 posts) -

Hell yes. Modding outdated electronics FTW.

#4 Posted by sixghost (1679 posts) -

As old as the original gameboy is, I still find the design weirdly good.

#5 Posted by Virago (2487 posts) -

That....is actually cool.

#6 Posted by Stackboy (528 posts) -

Excellent work my friend. Great to see nerd projects come through.

#7 Posted by Lunar_Aura (2778 posts) -

Cool mod. I wouldn't do it to my own OG Gameboy due to the sentimental value, but I'd try it on a secondhand one. It looks like a Japanese GAMEBOY LIGHT. 
 
What batteries are you using and how is the battery life on it with the backlight on full blast? Also, play Zelda: Link's Awakening. Probably the best original gameboy title there is.
#8 Posted by JohnnyAutoFire (356 posts) -
@LunarAura: It still uses the standard 4 AA batteries.  So far the battery still lasts a pretty long time, I've probably used it for six hours now and it's still chugging along.  Basically the LEDs that are lighting up the screen are wired to the same point where the original "Battery" LED would go (you'll notice that the "Battery" light doesn't light up anymore in the last picture).  So when the batteries are low, the backlight will slowly get dimmer and dimmer just like the original light would.  So far I haven't had a problem with the screen brightness, the pictures are of the Game Boy after it had been used for quite a while and it's still pretty bright.
 
I've heard that Link's Awakening is one of the best Zelda games, and I'm definitely going to try to track it down.
#9 Posted by buzz_clik (7038 posts) -

Heh, nice work! My thumb agrees with your thumb.

Moderator
#10 Posted by EVO (3944 posts) -

I could never beat King Dedede.

#11 Posted by TwoOneFive (9459 posts) -

i thought this was about you getting your eyes fixed

#12 Posted by ISuperGamerI (1880 posts) -

That's sick man I should mod my Gameboy Colour since it's impossible to see in the light.

#13 Posted by JohnnyAutoFire (356 posts) -
@TwoOneFive: I think that's beyond my abilities. 
#14 Posted by wolf_blitzer85 (5302 posts) -

Dot matrix with stereo sound yo! Mine is unfortunately sitting in my closet like some ancient relic. That thing got so many hours put into, since we visited my grandparents like every weekend. It was normally a two hour drive, so I really didn't have a problem since I could sit and play gameboy the entire time.  Good job on the mod dude. Seeing that thing alive and well brought some great memories back.

#15 Posted by BeachThunder (12590 posts) -

This is awesome; I would love to try this too. I tried booting up my Gameboy before and I could hardly see anything. Since getting my DS Lite, every earlier Nintendo handheld is just too dark :(
 
Also, definitely play Link's Awakening!!!

#16 Posted by Coombs (3449 posts) -
#17 Posted by TheHT (11990 posts) -
@TwoOneFive said:
" i thought this was about you getting your eyes fixed "
yeah OP, i was expecting l33t mIrAclez. i guess this is close enough.
#18 Posted by Landon (4164 posts) -

Kinda looks like a Pip-Boy.

#19 Posted by defaulttag (890 posts) -

aww man. you're making me want one.

#20 Posted by JJWeatherman (14575 posts) -

I remember my old clear gameboy. Those things were huuuge.

#21 Posted by wefwefasdf (6729 posts) -

Nice job!

#22 Posted by JJOR64 (19096 posts) -

I miss my old green Game Boy.    :(

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