Super Game Boy

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The Super Game Boy adapter.

The Super Game Boy is an adapter for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System which allows Game Boy and Game Boy Color games to run on the device. It was developed by Nintendo and first sold in June 1994. The adapter contained all the hardware of a Game Boy inside it and passed the audio and visual signals to the SNES while accepted input from the SNES and processed it as though it was input from a Game Boy. The extra processing ability of the SNES allowed the Game Boy games to be played with limited color, improved sound, arcade-like bezels around the screen, and second player input, though not all games took advantage of all these features.

To utilize the color features of the Super Game Boy, the Game Boy games themselves had to include additional programming for adding color and bezels. These would be ignored when played in an original Game Boy, but utilized in a Super Game Boy. In order to make sure that Game Boy games developed before Nintendo conceived of the Super Game Boy, like Super Mario Land, still looked good, Nintendo created a table of ROM checksums of their games and stored them directly in the Super Game Boy. When a game was loaded, the Super Game Boy would create a checksum of the inserted cartridge's ROM, and, if it found it in its table, it would use predefined palettes. Some games, like Metroid II: Return of Samus, were in development when the Super Game Boy was still in its planning stages, so the developers added the additional information into the game assuming the Super Game Boy would eventually be able to take advantage of it.

Every Game Boy and Game Boy Color game could be played on the Super Game Boy, but several hundred took advantage of the additional features. In order to add some support for incompatible games, Nintendo included a variety of generic palettes and bezels to chose from, as well as the ability to customize your own palette. There was even the ability to create your own bezel with a primitive drawing program that could use the SNES Mouse.

Shortly after the Super Game Boy was released, Nintendo Power released a special issue focusing solely on the Super Game Boy. They also sold a special edition SNES called the Super NES Super Game Boy Set which included an SNES, Super Game Boy, Super Mario All-Stars, and the Super Game Boy Nintendo Power issue.

In Japan, a Super Game Boy 2 was released which fixed the speed to the original Game Boy (the original Super Game Boy ran slightly faster than the original hardware), added link cable support, and came with new bezels. Some games have additional features which are only used on a Super Game Boy 2.

Personal

Around 1999, my high school girlfriend showed me her Super Game Boy. Until that point, I had known of the adapter, but never used it. I liked that it allowed the user to play on a larger screen and use a controller, but I saw the color as being very limited, and, at the time, still viewed the Game Boy as an inferior platform, so we only played a couple games and then never used it again. When emulators started adding support for Super Game Boy, I became a bit more interested in it, but, I still tend to be a gaming purist, and prefer to play the games in their original grayscale.

I own a Super Game Boy.

Media

The Super Game Boy was released in several different regions, each in different boxes.

Links

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