RETRO REBOOT - How Cool Was The Super Gameboy?

The Gameboy was a cool handheld, and a testament to Nintendo's marketing. Imagine convincing gamers to veer away from the Atari Lynx and the Sega Game Gear, two handhelds that are significantly more impressive when it comes to specs than the Boy's spinach and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Pie shade of green screen. Well, that and Nintendo's contractual obligations for third party companies that deprived the other platforms of an expanded library, because behind the colorful Mario characters lies a cutthroat, ruthless conglomerate that aimed to dominate the world, but I digress. 

Before the Gameboy Color, The Super Gameboy was peripheral that worked pretty well (the novelty of it, anyway), and it breathed some great life into some of your GB library. The infrastructure of the Super Nintendo didn't allow it to properly emulate Gameboy software effectively, so the SGB has its own built-in CPU that runs the software as the SNES acts as a host input for display.

The original Gameboy display is 160x144 pixels within the Super Nintendo's 256x224 pixels, leaving a border area that most games will fill in with static displays. The Super Nintendo offers a color palette ranging from 32 hues for original games, dual mode Gameboy Color games, and the Gameboy Camera. There is a decent plethora of custom options to personalize your border (by pressing L+R) and many games come with stylish artistic borders that compliment many titles, as later GB entries were designed to take advantage of the compatibility. Games played on the SGB are overclocked, which leads to some mild sync issues with the music. It's off slightly, but just enough for you to pick up on it if trying a regular title on it. 

You'll feel inclined to insert any Gameboy in, almost for the novelty of seeing what it does to a lot of games. Later cartridges would take advantage of the expanded colors and special borders with signature animations, like screen savers would be displayed if a game was left idle enough. 

Compared to many of Sega's add-ons for the Genesis in order to lengthen the lifespan of the aging console, like the 32X and Sega CD, overpriced attachments that were far more limited than the following hardware that would succeed it, the Super Gameboy compliments the existing library at only a $59.99 US purchase (£49.99). Chances are, you already had the handheld. I think I may have known one other person who owned a Sega CD in my life. It doesn't augment any titles from a gameplay perspective, and it's too bad some games didn't receive co-op capabilities, like the previously reviewed Operation C. And because of the nature of the peripheral, other Gameboys can't be linked up. The audio isn't enriched too much more from their handheld counterparts, but some games like Donkey Kong Land will have audio queues from Donkey Kong Country. Limitations of the Super Gameboy were improved upon with the Super Gameboy 2, but it was released only in Japan.

If you were to pit the Super Gameboy to the more modern interpretation, the Gameboy Advance Player on the GameCube, Super Gameboy is technically better. In my humble opinion, the GBA Player should have been capable of enhancing the audio quality and resolution of the games it plays.

But more or less, you get the same level of detail relative to what the Super Gameboy did twenty years prior. Pound for pound, it's more impressive. Perhaps the GBA Player's ability to play original Gameboy titles on it, but it does not emulate the same customizable options. The Super Gameboy was very influential and serves as a testament to Nintendo's knack for thinking outside of the box to make video games and the development of them interesting. when looking at the road that lead to the currently successful Nintendo Switch, many elements that made their previous devices stand apart from each other, big and small, have come as one. The Super Gameboy sensationalized the idea of playing a handheld game, which was already a luxury, on your home television.

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