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You can bring your old Game Boy up to modern standards

Samuel McConnell

We’re spoiled these days. We live in an era of super-bright, super-sharp LCD screens. The newest iPhones have a couple hundred thousand pixels per square inch. But the original Game Boy? About thirty times fewer. Not only that, but the display was only four colors - Black, a dark green, a slightly less dark green, and a light green. And don’t forget that you’d need to be sitting outside or under a lamp to even be able to see the screen.

Somehow, when I was a kid, I managed. I remember playing Pokemon for a few seconds at a time in between streetlamps during after-dark car rides. But I don’t have that kind of patience anymore. So, I was happy to learn that there are several available replacement screens that you can get for your Game Boy, or other classic handhelds, to bring them up to modern standards.

Generally, these mods use screens that were initially designed for cell phones, with a converter board to make them compatible with the old hardware. These kinds of mods come at varying levels of difficulty, from easy, drop-in replacements, all the way to having to solder ribbon cables to chips. Most of them are fairly easy, though, and only require a few screwdrivers and a little bit of soldering.

I recently converted my old Game Boy Color to have a backlit display. I had to replace the system’s plastic shell, and solder a few points from the new display to the Game Boy’s motherboard, but with only about half an hour of work, I had a mostly-original Game Boy color with a brand new, beautiful screen that is about 20% larger than the original. It works great, and has really gotten me playing the system again after so many years.

Samuel McConnell is a games enthusiast who has been playing games in one form or another since 1991. He was born in northern Maine but quickly transplanted to Wichita.