Playing your favorite Game Boy games on your living room screen in the ’90s just blew your mind!
Nintendo has always been known for its peripherals. In the ’80s and ’90s, Nintendo made peripherals for its consoles practically every few months. In 1993, a peripheral hit the market known as the Super Game Boy that allowed you to play your handheld games on your living room TV, just like the Nintendo Switch does.
The lead-up to this Nintendo peripheral is even more amazing. The team at Intelligent Systems, responsible for the legendary Game & Watch and Game Boy, developed many of the games that Nintendo’s acclaimed console received. Developing games, and testing them on a screen as small as the Game Boy’s, was a bit of a challenge.
An archaic device that started it all
The studio found a solution to this by creating the WideBoy, a gadget that at first glance looks like something out of an early 1990s science lab. The device allows you to plug in Game Boy cartridges, connect it to an NES, and play the games on your TV set.
This solution was so popular with the team members and Nintendo that they thought of bringing it to the public. However, they ran into a problem: the power of the NES. Intelligent Systems already had experience creating peripherals for Nintendo, such as the Zapper and the Super Scope, so the team offered Nintendo a project that looked very attractive.
Intelligent Systems’ attractive project was the Super Game Boy, an improved, smaller, and “powerful” version of the WideBoy for the SNES, the successor to the NES that had more processing power. Nintendo did not hesitate to say yes to the project. In 1993, the US market received the Super Game Boy.
Although it was connected to a Super Nintendo, it did not mean that the SNES emulated Game Boy games. In fact, everything was done directly by the Super Game Boy. Even so, the Super Game Boy demanded resources from the SNES to not only rescale the games but allow a small performance boost of the Game Boy games so that they would be comfortable to play on a TV with the SNES controllers.
Super Game Boy reproduced the four colors of the Game Boy palette and allowed us to select those four colors from a palette of 32. In addition, the games had a frame that we could choose from the nine included in the Super Game Boy.
It should be noted that this peripheral was compatible with Game Boy cartridges, the Game Boy Camera, and Game Boy Color cartridges (which played only in the color palette available on the original Game Boy).
Super Game Boy 2
Later, a revision of the peripheral was released, which changed not only externally but also internally. The Super Game Boy 2 offers a link cable connection. This is essential in order to exchange Pokemon with other cartridges as the Pokémon fever hit the video game market.
Despite the initial popularity of the first version of the peripheral in the US, this revision was available in the American market but only on demand, since the production of the peripheral was focused on the Japanese market.
Later on, the popularity of the Super Game Boy 2 in the Japanese market was so great that it was the reason for the release of the Game Boy Player on the Nintendo GameCube, a peripheral that allowed gamers to play Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance games on your television.
For those who lived through the Nintendo peripheral era of the 1990s, it is missed in today’s times that Nintendo allowed you to play games from their retro consoles on current consoles or those peripherals that greatly enhanced the gaming experience.