Game Boy Player | Gaming Historian

Game Boy Player | Gaming Historian


Last year, I made a video all about one of my favorite Super Nintendo accessories:
The Super Game Boy.
I covered just about everything.
The color palettes, the Super Game Boy enhanced game paks,
custom borders. You name it.
Now It’s time to move on to the
sequel: The Game Boy Player.
Released in 2003 as a GameCube accessory,
the Game Boy Player is the logical
evolution of the Super Game Boy
It can play Game Boy, Game Boy Color
and Game Boy Advance games.
In fact with a few modifications,
it’s the best way to play Game Boy games on your television.
So let’s learn everything there is to know about this accessory, but first,
let’s take a look at a few devices
that set the stage for the Game Boy Player.
After the Super Game Boy and before the Game Boy Player,
Nintendo had a few accessories that could play Game Boy games on the TV.
The first was the Nintendo 64 Transfer Pak.
This came bundled with Pokemon Stadium,
and allowed you to transfer your Pokemon
from the Game Boy to Pokemon Stadium for battles.
In the game there was a GB Tower mode,
which allows you to play Pokemon Red, Blue or Yellow on the television, via emulation.
However, the video quality wasn’t great
and these were the only games you could play,
so it was a pretty limited accessory.
A better accessory was the Wide-Boy 64.
Developed by Nintendo subsidiary, Intelligent Systems, the Wide-Boy 64
worked very much like the Super Game Boy.
You plugged your game into the Wide-Boy 64 cartridge slot
and plugged the Wide-Boy 64 into the Nintendo 64.
You could use a Nintendo 64 controller to
control the game,
or hook a Game Boy directly to the Wide-Boy via a cable.
The Wide-Boy 64 came in two versions.
CGB and AGB.
The Wide-Boy 64 CGB could play Game Boy and Game Boy Color games.
The Wide-Boy AGB could play Game Boy Advance games, in addition to Game Boy and Game Boy Color.
However, this device was not available to the public.
It was reserved for developers to test out their games on a television,
or to capture screenshots for the Media
Consumers wouldn’t get a true successor to the Super Game Boy until 2003,
with the Game Boy Player.
While Japan got a variety of colors,
North America and Europe only got the jet black version.
It retailed for [US]$49.99.
The package contained the accessory
itself, as well as a start-up disc.
To hook up the Game Boy Player
you simply attached it to the base of the GameCube
via the high-speed port on the bottom.
Flathead screws can be tightened to keep everything in place.
On the front of the Game Boy Player is the external extension connector.
Specifically for things like a link cable, or the wireless adapter.
Below that is the cartridge slot.
On the right side is an ejector.
This is really nice since the games load somewhat awkwardly on the bottom.
They almost shoot out of the system when you eject them.
To use the Game Boy Player you need to insert the startup disk.
This disc tells the GameCube to interface with the Game Boy Player,
and contains software for playing your games.
However, unlike the Super Game Boy which was full of features, the Game Boy Player is severely lacking.
Let’s go over a few of them.
The first is frames, you can choose from 20 different designs to surround the screen.
The second is screen size,
which lets you play games at a normal display, or a bit more zoomed in.
Third is controller, which lets you customize the functions of the X, Y buttons, L&R buttons, and the C-stick.
Fourth is the screen filter. There are three options:
Normal, soft and sharp.
Sharp makes the pixels a bit sharper.
While Soft,
well..
softens the image.
However, the difference is very minimal.
I could barely tell the difference in most games I played.
The fifth option and the most puzzling one is the timer.
What is it? Well, it’s literally a timer.
Got a pizza in the oven?
Want to only play for five more minutes?
Set the timer and the interface will let you know when your time is up.
The final feature is Change Game Paks.
You can select this if you want to play a different game without powering everything off.
And that’s it.
Like I said the software features aren’t much to write home about,
but the Game Boy Player does play Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance games,
giving you access to an enormous library of titles.
There is authentic hardware inside this accessory,
so it plays just about everything thrown at it.
The original Game Boy games boot up with a four color palette.
You can customize the palette just like on a Game Boy Color or Game Boy Advance
by pressing a button combination on startup.
When it comes to Super Game Boy enhanced games,
the enhancements are gone.
The glorious colors and custom borders are missing,
as they specifically utilize Super Game Boy hardware.
Game Boy Color games show their full colors.
As do Game Boy Advance games.
The device is also region-free, allowing you to play games from anywhere in the world
However, the startup disk is not region free.
Even some of the oddball games work on the Game Boy Player.
Remember those gravitational games like
Yoshi Topsy Turvy,
technically it does work.
It’s just very awkward to play.
A few Game Boy Advance titles were able to interact with the Game Boy Player.
Pokemon Pinball: Ruby and Sapphire,
added a rumble feature that was sent to the GameCube controller
One type of cartridge that doesn’t work is the Game Boy Advance video cartridge.
According to Nintendo, this was to prevent illegal copying of the video.
As far as controlling the games, you have a few options
you can use a GameCube controller
or even a Game Boy Advance via a
GameCube GBA cable.
My personal favorite however, is the Hori GameCube controller.
Just like with the Super Game Boy,
Hori designed a controller specifically
for the Game Boy Player
It’s got a nice D-Pad and feels like a
Super Nintendo controller
So what’s not to love about the Game Boy Player,
the biggest problem is the video quality.
The startup disk outputs games in either a 480i or a 480p resolution.
And neither are ideal for Game Boy games,
especially on modern televisions.
Luckily the Homebrew Community has stepped in,
and created a custom interface software to make everything look much better in a 240p resolution.
For more technical details,
I highly recommend My Life in
Gaming’s Game Boy episodes.
After watching it, you’ll know how to get the best video quality
Upon release, the Game Boy Player was well-received.
The GameCube was trailing behind Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s Playstation 2 in terms of sales.
But the Game Boy Advance was selling extremely well.
Being able to access the Game Boy Advance’s library on the GameCube,
was a welcomed feature.
Nintendo even bundled the accessory with the system.
Today, with the help of homebrew software
It’s the best way to play your
Game Boy games on a television.
The accessory itself is pretty common and inexpensive
The startup disk however, is a different story
and usually sells for way more.
Luckily, the homebrew method makes the startup disk unnecessary.
Since the release of the Game Boy Player, we haven’t seen a device similar to it.
With Nintendo now using their Virtual Console service to download older titles,
it is highly unlikely we will ever see one again.
But if you thought we were done talking about Game Boy on your television,
think again.
In a future episode, I’ll be going over some third-party devices
and see how they stack up.
Spoiler Alert! Not very well.
That’s all for this episode of the Gaming Historian.
Thanks for watching.
Funding for Gaming Historian is provided in part by supporters on Patreon.
Thank you.
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100 thoughts on “Game Boy Player | Gaming Historian”

  1. Really, though, the WiiU's Virtual Console ports of GBA games are amazing. I've play a lot of classics for really cheap, and they look great and the ability to map the buttons on your controller is super nice for finding the best way to play each game. I hope they integrate some of each of the "players" for future re-releases.

  2. Dude my online friend has one and the adapters are expensive and discs too. I went to eBay instead of Amazon and I found the lowest prices at 4$-25$. I really don't trust any of them

  3. It seems odd that the Game Boy Player had actual GBA hardware in it. Given the power of the GameCube, wouldn't it have been both simpler and cheaper for the boot disc to contain a software emulator program? They could've handled all the possible hardware quirks in a virtualized environment, as well as post-processing (upscaling, etc.) with tons of CPU time to spare.

  4. LITERALLY no one played ANTYHING on the Gameboy. Apart form Tetris. It was a f*cking TERRIBLE system, absolutely TERRIBLE. Like most older systems, the NES and Famicon, DIRT. The Master System… DIRT.The Mega Drive was a good bit better, but only because there were some very good games on it like Streets of Rage 2, Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe, Road Rash, The original Fifa International Soccer games, Golden Axe 1, one or 2 of the Sonic games and some phantasy stars, but that was it. The SNES also was decent because of the games. It f*cking PISSES me right off how everyone bullsh*ts pretending they LOVED The NES, and that they played the HELL out of it when growing up, because 95% of the time they were lying, because they games were mostly short, and completely and UTTERLY sh*t. Im really pissed off with this retro movement thats been happening recently, ;last couple of years, where everyone is pretending they're spending time going back to play their "Favorite" nes games. There were ZERO good games on it, apart from Metroid and Mario.

    The reason i know 95% of them are full of sh*t, including yourself, is because you're all referring to how you fondly played these machines to death including the gamegear etc, but most of the guys saying it are only in their early to mid 20's now. The machine that was most popoular when you were young was the PLaystation 1 and the n64, so why are they all lying?

    And if i hear ONE more idiot lying and pretending he finished the ORIGINAL Zelda on the nes, and that it's "The best Zelda because it is non linear, all of the other zelda games are linear" I'm gonna nuke your country. One popular channel says Linear and then the entire f*cking world has a video on how "Unlinear" zelda 1 was ffs. Rating it better than Ocarina and Majora's mask because they're "Linear".

    There's barely a youtube channel here that talks about anything that doesn't 100% verbatim just steal sh*t of everyone else.
    And by the way, no one gives a F*CK about the gameboy addon. The gameboy advance is barely playable apart from maybe fire emblem and 1 r 2 games, so to say the gameboy color with no backlight and the original Gameboy games are still being played on them is lies.

  5. I think in Australia we got a few different colours of the Game Boy Player. When I bought mine from EB in 2004 I think the shop assistant asked me what colour I wanted, I said I wanted purple as my GameCube is purple.

  6. Does the sound come from TV or GBA's speaker ? Can I choose the sound source ?
    ( If using the link cable and GBA.)

  7. One problem I’ve found with all of these devices is that they all have borders, even on PAL games. The thing is, with PAL, the 576p is quadruple the resolution of Gameboy games, and 288p is exactly double. On PAL systems, they could’ve offered a feature with no borders and a line-doubler instead. That would’ve been so cool!

  8. I loved my Game Boy Player! My GameCube was stolen in 2004, with GBP attached, but I rebought one a few years later, and I amazingly found a Game Boy Player for only TEN DOLLARS at a Pawn Shop shortly after! It was fate!

  9. So, a lot of people don't seem to know what the filter settings actually do; from what I can tell, it doesn't actually "soften" the image, all it really does is add a minimal amount of motion blur (normal adds just a smidge of it while soft adds more). I figured that out when plugging in my GBP that I just got for the first time, and noticing the image looked really weird; I figured out it was the filter setting. It's easiest to notice on a game where the screen moves a lot, such as a side-scroller.

  10. wish I could get this but it just isn't worth it to buy a gamecube, all the cords, the player, and the disc as they are all kinda expensive now id buy it if i had a gamecube though

  11. The night before I bought mine I had a dream that it was nothing but trouble to get one and I eventually gave up … low and behold, the next day it was nothing but trouble to get one, but I was determined, eventually settling for a black one to go with my purple gamecube.

  12. Thank God I found my game boy player for the game cube. My GBA sp screen is turning white in the corners. 🙁

  13. SNES controller using a Raphnet Adapter is superior to the hori gamepad IMO. Plus cheaper and less rare.

  14. How come you say Pokemon the right way, but less common way, but you say wario the wrong way, and the less common way?

  15. So does this help make original Gameboy games look better on a regular TV than on a Gameboy color screen?

  16. i bought my gamecube at a yard sale for $25 usd with three controllers and seven games, but today i just realized that my console also included the gameboy player. wow what a deal!

  17. So no 480p setting it uses what the Gamecube was last set to use? How about the Japan start-up disc (Xeno chipped region-free unit here), does that offer English

  18. As a father with kids I assume the timer was to set a certain play amount if you want to control how long they played. However I dont own this device so I'm not sure if thats the intent. Its just were my mind went right away with the idea of timed gameplay. As always, great stuff Mr. Historian 🙂

  19. no mention about the game boy player enhanced gba games????
    games like mario advance 4 switch to a different, nicer color palette when on game boy player since they don't have to compensate for the dark screen.
    it makes for a much more pleasant experience since the colors aren't so washed out anymore.
    see it for yourself on vba

    afaik there's no known list of all the titles that do that since nintendo didn't as much as hint that feature.

  20. I've been trying to find a us disc that isn't overpriced and I am not having much luck.

    My main question is why are Japanese copies so cheap in comparison?

  21. The Gameboy player was SICK. Playing gba fire emblem and the gbc remake of Dragon Warrior 3 on it was so cool!

  22. I honestly don't find any use of this, while it is really cool, I could just try emulating these games

  23. Can you guys please sub to my channel please I a.m. doing a 24 hour change for my friend the one that get more subs win thanks

  24. I have this on my GameCube. I also think that it would be cool if there were an accessory which let people play GameCube games on their Game Boys like "GameCube Boy" or something.

  25. It's worth noting that the reason why the GB Player is still the best way to play your GB library on a TV to this day is because it doesn't emulate much of its features. It's an actual chunk of stripped-down GBA hardware you're seeing here! The games play just as you'd expect them to without the kind of kinks emulation often introduces.

  26. found one of these players at goodwill a number of years ago and was super pumped to find it! was $10 i think but when i picked it up and saw no driver disk i was really bummed. spent about an hour combing the entire store in hopes i would find it. no luck. bought it anyways tho. then about 2 years ago i was at storage unit yard rummage sale and actually found the boot disk in its case and everything. got it for like 25 cents or something. so lucky!

  27. If you’re looking to clear some space at your home I’d be willing to take care of your GameCube with the gameboy player and disc. No worries I will be your guy!! 🙂

  28. Not having the Gameboy player be compatible with GBA video was a missed opportunity. It could’ve been Nintendo’s solution to the GameCube not having DVD support. They could’ve just had it show it in high quality instead of GBA quality when played on a gameboy player

  29. It would have been cool If you had mentioned the fact that with the gameboy player you could play superstar saga with 2 players

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