Thursday, April 16, 2015

Building a Better GameBoy

The Gay Gamer's Bryan Ochalla declared this the year of the GameBoy (for the second year in a row! Wait, you can do that?) and invited me to try Catrap, a puzzle game for the old white brick that he recently featured on his web site. Okay, I'll bite... after all, I could use a break from all those bleary eyed nights with Super Smash Bros. There's just one problem, though... how? All the systems I've got that can play classic GameBoy games are in Michigan, while I'm currently stuck on the other side of the country. Looks like I'll have to improvise.

I made a fascinating discovery while looking for a solution to my predicament. Turns out that the best GameBoy model of all isn't a GameBoy at all. It's not even made by Nintendo! It's a PSP-3000, running the latest version of the emulator RIN. RIN does a lot of things that just aren't possible with Virtual Console games on the 3DS... for instance, both the sprite layer and background layer can be assigned separate color palettes, giving you improved contrast and better looking games. GameBoy games on the 3DS give you a single save state... RIN offers up to ten. There's just a small handful of GameBoy games for the 3DS... RIN can run nearly the whole library, including homebrews and licensed titles which aren't likely to make a comeback on modern hardware. Itching to kick shell with Konami's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles trilogy? You've got the option here, but don't expect to see that kind of action on Nintendo's latest handheld.

Admittedly, RIN isn't flawless. Although you can customize the controls to your liking, the emulator has a tendency to forget your entries, forcing you to re-enter them each time you start a different game. You can choose your own background for the file browser, but the default is some barely dressed anime girl, and switching to something else is way more confusing than it ought to be. Finally, with so many titles to choose from, there's a risk you might play something you'll regret, like Primitive Princess, or uh... 90% of the GameBoy Color library. Nevertheless, once you've tried some games on RIN, you'll agree that there's no better GameBoy than the PSP. I know, that doesn't make any sense, but trust me on this one.

I'll review a handful of the GameBoy titles I played in a future post, so stay tuned!


  1. Hey, it's my blog, so I can do what I want :P Seriously, though, I only extended my "Year of the GameBoy" series because there were so many GB games I'd failed to mention as a part of it. I'm thinking of starting a similar series devoted to the PSP soon, and maybe another about the WonderSwan. They won't be called "Year of the PSP" or "Year of the WonderSwan," though, sorry :) Anyway, I'm glad to hear a hacked PSP is a good substitute for the OG GB. Now get off your butt and start playing Pitman!

  2. If you're interested at all in suggestions for good Game Boy Color games that aren't available on the 3DS Virtual Console, I recommend Survival Kids, Metal Gear: Ghost Babel (renamed Metal Gear Solid in the US 'cuz let's sell on Big Brother's name recognition!), and Dragon Warrior III. Metal Walker's more of a YMMV game, but there's no RPG with a battle system quite like it.