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Hyundai's Mini Comboy (Korean release of the DMG Game Boy)


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Member · Posted
Posted (edited)

I have seen a few topics regarding the Korean Game Boy release rebranded in Korea as Hyundai's Mini Comboy (미니컴보이) but I found very little information regarding some of these details below and usually scattered all around the place. I'd ideally like to collect all the information you guys have or know about and put it in this post. Below is the little bit I myself gathered.

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source: Gamer LaFan's blog

1. What is it?

The Mini Comboy (or Hyundai Mini Comboy) was a Korean release of the Game Boy by Hyundai Electronic Industrial Co (now SK Hynix, the world’s 2nd largest chipmaker). For decades prior to the release, Korea has imposed various forms of embargo on the import of Japanese goods (still an ongoing issue). This news article, although from 1994, talks about a ban on import or distribution of Japanese-subbed games. Since Nintendo had no way to distribute these games in Korea, they did it through Hyundai (after the N64 release, Nintendo ditched Hyundai and partnered with Daewon instead - no consoles were ever locally branded after this). I assume that Nintendo agreed to this because the console market in Korea at the time was booming, but that may also be the reason why the Mini Comboy wasn't that big of a hit - there were too many other consoles and knock-offs. The fact that the first PC Rooms (PC방) opened in the early 90s is definitely also one of the reasons.

 

2. Releases, variations

The DMG-01 with the silkscreen printed 미니컴보이 on the front is the 1st Korean release, where as the second had nothing printed on it. These variations can be also differentiated by their boxes (image).

  •  1st release with a box code DMG-S-GATR-(KOR) [1990 - 1993?]
    • Made in Japan
    • The first release apparently cost 119000 Korean Won at launch (approx. USD 119) - source

image.png.5b1a93a7868f98176a71670827546e95.pngimage.png.9af5c88c6613ba94472b0b437215297f.png

- Serial run for the silkscreen variation: G11 - G21 (?)  - album

- The G11758589 I have at hand was manufactured in Oct 1990.

- The earlier serial numbers on the back usually start with G11, G12 or G13 and the latest I found is a G21 on cata-wiki. These serials were not specifically numbered for the Mini Comboy: G01 is the first release in Japan and when it got to G11 they started releasing the Korean variations. I assume the G11 is the earliest, or at least one of the earliest Mini Comboy's serials. 

- Here is a picture of a 1st release MiniComboy speaker

  • 2nd release DMG-S-GB-KOR or Japan DMG-S-GB(KOR)-1 (source) [1993 - ?]
    • Up to around G38 serials 'Made in Japan', after that 'Made in China'

image.png.32767e6dc8e418a92d137eceac04ac0e.pngimage.png.45d9156fd35bcbae7391810e47b28c90.png

G3xxxxxxx, GMxxxxxxx, GHxxxxxxx (?). The G3 serials were made between 1993 - 1995, after which they switched to H and then the M serial, which were made until late 90s. I.e. the above pictured GM58xxxxxx was most likely made in 1998 or early 1999.

Some of the 2nd releases Mini Comboys also had a black stamped ‘Made in China’ above the sticker (example)

How many were released: The magazine Game world (게임월드) in 1994 published multiple sale numbers (source) regarding the sale of the Super Comboy (SNES) and Comboy (NES) but not the Mini Comboy. Does anyone have any other numbers from any year regarding the Mini Comboy specifically?

Colours: [??]

 

 

 

3. Games

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There is physical evidence of the following games released for the Mini Comboy:

There may be more, as I saw mentioned a few times on the internet, but I believe there’s no trace of them actually existing in physical form.

 

4.  Promotion

5. Trivia, random facts

  • This is apparently the only known CIB of the Korean Gameboy Pocket (not a Comboy, but thought this was interesting)
  • This article from 1993 mentions that Hyundai Electronic Industrial Co. violated the local free competition laws by imposing its own sanctions on stores who sell Nintendo consoles under the recommended retail price. It mentions that Hyundai was already found to act anti-competitively five times.
  • The Gameboy Color was not rebranded as Comboy, but had two Korean game variations: Pokémon Gold and Pokémon Silver, and one Korea-exclusive GBC game: Bomberman Selection (The compilation is similar to Bomberman Collection, but includes only two titles instead of three and doesn't offer compatibility with the Super Game Boy - source)
  • Here's a person selling decals of the Mini Comboy logo (site cannot be accessed without Naver account)
  • Interesting clear Mini Comboy case
  • [...]

 

Some extra sources:

 

Edited by goonhoon
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Member · Posted
1 hour ago, sp1nz said:

Well here's my Korean GB 2nd release (pretty sure it's missing some paperwork):

image.jpeg.7abfa6e7795421d755b5801b550ea7f8.jpeg

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image.jpeg.76b8fe1d89ec3878e035b9743589365b.jpeg

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Got a CIB Alleyway, Golf and QIX too but haven't taken a picture of them.

Thanks for sharing! Love to see these holo stickers. I have been trying to find a nice CIB copy of the 1st release but had no luck so far sadly.

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