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Is the original Gameboy worth owning to play?


BriGuy82
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So for some reason I'm getting the itch to buy an original gameboy. It's one of the only things I traded in when I was an early teen and I regret it. I don't know anything about all the different mods and what not. I really would like to get an original one and just play it as is. But is it gonna strain my eyes and give me a migraine or what? I watched a few YouTube reviews and that screen looked pretty damn green and blurry. I'm on the fence here and I'd like to get some opinions. 

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I know it varies from person to person, but the original GB was very difficult for me to get back into. I really liked the system growing up, but it's a lot harder for me to get interested in as an adult. I'm not sure if it's the lack of lighting, simplicity of the games, just a different personal perspective, or some combination of these, but the GB really doesn't do anything for me. And I was obsessed with it as a kid. However, I was able to get more into some of the bigger games (Zelda, Pokemon, DK Land) by using the Super Gameboy instead for what it's worth.

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Member · Posted

There's something to be said about playing games on the OG hardware it was intended for.  That said, the main pitfalls for the Game Boy is that green screen isn't "highly reflective" which means you need to have more than just light but a well-lit area to play in.  The good news is the contrast knob helps a lot.  Another issue is that the pixels don't cut immediately on/off.  This means that a fully-black pixel, that goes to fully-white (or the equivalent) has a few nanoseconds where it fades to the to the new shade.  This means that game sprites appear to have "trails, as the move back and forth on the screen, and it's quite noticeable.

Early games were designed aware of these problems, and adjusted accordingly.  However, when they Game Boy Pocket came out, those to issues were vastly approved upon.  The OG Game Boy had games coming out, and playable, across three systems.  The original, the pocket and the Game Boy Color.  Since new games spanned these three systems, IMHO, you're playing it on "original hardware" if you play on any of those.

I love my original, grey Game Boys and I like playing on them.  However, usually, when I do play a GB game, convenience takes over and I end up playing on a GBC. Plus, using a GBC opens up your world to GB and GBC carts, so why not, unless you're really, really hardcore about playing a game on it's intended device. Even then, I think you could argue that games like Wario Land 2 was intended for a GB Pocket and never the original GB.  It came out in 1998, IIRC, and I doubt even the PILs were probably discontinued at least 2-3 years before that.

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19 minutes ago, Dr.robbie said:

I know it varies from person to person, but the original GB was very difficult for me to get back into. I really liked the system growing up, but it's a lot harder for me to get interested in as an adult. I'm not sure if it's the lack of lighting, simplicity of the games, just a different personal perspective, or some combination of these, but the GB really doesn't do anything for me. And I was obsessed with it as a kid. However, I was able to get more into some of the bigger games (Zelda, Pokemon, DK Land) by using the Super Gameboy instead for what it's worth.

Yeah, that's exactly what I'm talking about. I know there are great games and other ways to play them... But I just don't know if the hardware itself is gonna be worth getting to play on. I think it might be nostalgic to see and experience some games for a few minutes at a time... But I mean can you really sit there and stare at that screen for more than a couple minutes? I know I did as a kid, but I'm doubting I can as an adult. 

Edited by BriGuy82
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I'd say it is, as long as you've got a decent light. Or, if you don't want to look at a small screen and adjust the Contrast, just play original Game Boy games using a Super Game Boy or Game Boy Player. If you go the Super Game Boy route, I recommend using a Super Game Boy 2 (even though it means importing) because it plays games at the correct speed unlike the first one (which also results in slightly higher-pitched Audio). Otherwise, just use a Game Boy Player.

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Editorials Team · Posted

I'm a big GB fan, I have a big GB hardware collection, and even I use a back-lit GBA SP as my daily driver. It's fun to play on an un-modded OG DMG sometimes, but not for long periods unless you're going for hipster cred on the bus. You won't get migraines, it's just hard to see and you have to rotate it around to find a good lighting angle. If you want the classic look, at least get a backlight mod.

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10 minutes ago, Splain said:

I'm a big GB fan, I have a big GB hardware collection, and even I use a back-lit GBA SP as my daily driver. It's fun to play on an un-modded OG DMG sometimes, but not for long periods unless you're going for hipster cred on the bus. You won't get migraines, it's just hard to see and you have to rotate it around to find a good lighting angle. If you want the classic look, at least get a backlight mod.

A big part of the draw for me is definitely the classic hardware. I don't think I would be interested in playing the GBA to be honest... it just doesn't have the nostalgia for me. 

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17 minutes ago, Splain said:

I'm a big GB fan, I have a big GB hardware collection, and even I use a back-lit GBA SP as my daily driver. It's fun to play on an un-modded OG DMG sometimes, but not for long periods unless you're going for hipster cred on the bus. You won't get migraines, it's just hard to see and you have to rotate it around to find a good lighting angle. If you want the classic look, at least get a backlight mod.

Do they have something like a GBA in the body of a classic gameboy? 

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The original system is absolutely still worth playing...but with a few caveats.  If you are going to play the old-school brick "DMG" gameboy you need to get it modded.  The backlight & bivert mod is an absolute must.  I would also recommend the rechargable usb battery mod as well, so you don't have to run through a bunch of AAs all the time.   The DMG does actually have a lot going for it, as the d-pad is still one of the best Nintendo ever made, and the size is much more accommodating those those tiny, shitty and worthless d-pads of the later models.  I don't care about playing GBC games or advance stuff so I have no need for the later hardware, and if I did, I'd just use the GB Player for the cube.

I still play GB Tetris all the time on my modded DMG and it is much better than the newer models (GBC, GBP, Advance, SP, etc).  Those systems are all cheap pieces of shit in comparison and hypertapping is basically impossible on any of them.

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Editorials Team · Posted
46 minutes ago, BriGuy82 said:

Do they have something like a GBA in the body of a classic gameboy? 

Not OEM. People have modded GBA SPs into the body of a classic GB, I even did it once. But it's a lot of work, so people who do it charge lots of $$$. Another thing people do is put Raspberry Pi builds into old GB shells. Those go for cheaper, I believe.

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Honestly, as much as I love my OG Game Boy, I'd say that while it's still enjoyable and worthwhile to play original games on an original system, I'd recommend going with a Game Boy Pocket (or Light, if you have or can get one) for the best "OG" experience.  The Game Boy Color isn't a bad system, but to me, it doesn't feel quite as good or comfortable in the hands as the pocket.  The same goes for the GBA as well as the SP, although the SP is probably the next best thing for playing original games in a hand-held format.  Past that, a Super Game Boy or even something like the Retron 5 is pretty great to play on, it just lacks some of the nostalgic feel that playing on original/period hardware provides.

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The modding scene is huge and you can get a backlit version of any Game Boy model, although a backlit Pocket is the hardest to find. Even the price of GBC backlights has decreased dramatically, and you can buy them usually between $100-$150 from a modder.

If you want to go completely original hardware, I like the Game Boy Pocket over the DMG/OG Game Boy. But you’ll be missing out on GBC games if you opt for one of the two earliest models.

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It isn't so much the monochrome screen as the ghosting effect and lack of shades that render the GB unplayable. As i see it the og game boy experience starts at GBC where you will still see the motions on the screen without it getting blurry and detail heavy games like DKL 1-3 you'll see where you are compared to the vegetation in the background, on og GB it's all a big mush. What the GBC offered in monochrome gameplay should've been where the GB generation started they fucked around way too long with the subpar turd versions GB, GBP, GBL.

Edited by cartman
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To the people complaining about the screen, just mod the damn systems. GBC IPS screens are plug and play now, no solder required if you don't mind fixed brightness settings. IPS screens for the GBA and plug and play as well and they're both under $50 shipped. Idk why anyone would complain about the screen and not spend the couple $$ to change em. Even DMG backlit mods are basically easier than the simplest *my first soldering* kit.

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