The wild world of Game Boy accessories

There has never been a device with the amount of accessories that the Game Boy had. As the first conventional portable gaming console, the Game Boy had the kind of user base to support a vast hardware ecosystem, and it came at just the right time for to need that kind of accessories to offer a complete experience. It was a perfect hardware storm that resulted in some of the most varied add-ons ever created for a console. Looking back, there have been approximately two categories in which Game Boy accessories fit: the practical and the bizarre.

The practical side is less interesting in hindsight. After all, things like connectable lights, connection cables, rechargeable battery packs, AC adapters and screen magnifiers have a certain meaning for a device that lacked these modern conveniences.

While it's easy to look back and make fun of the Game Boy (and its various successors) for its dependence on additional devices, back then, it made sense. Nintendo was already pushing the technological limit to the limit with the Game Boy, and there simply was no room for these other features. Turn on the backlight of the Game Boy, and you will become a battery-sucking pig like the Game Gear. The technology at that time was not exactly mature either: the lightweight accessories for the Game Boy were basically the lights of the books that gleamed on the screen, and a rechargeable battery that I once had ended up being so horrible that it was almost worth using batteries in. its place.

Many of these strange devices are no longer available simply because technology has evolved beyond this. We do not need lights when our screens are backlit, for example. Wi-Fi has replaced the link cables (though not without deviating to an incredibly weird local wireless adapter for the Game Boy Advance), and the existence of a system-wide operating system with adjustable accessibility configurations and larger screens has Deleted the screen magnifiers. Technology that improves over time is a good thing, and would not change the Wi-Fi or a built-in backlight for the days of yesteryear.

But we do lose something when we get away from these accessories. My Game Boy was unmistakably of mine, with a wavy purple light and a mismatched battery cover for the rechargeable battery that stuck out oddly from the back. This sense of individuality and personalization is largely lost in the current world of homogeneous devices. The Game Boy accessories had a kind of magic that allowed them to transform the device they were using in a physical way, such as when looking in the dark for a light to continue playing after going to sleep or in the back seat of a car in a long road trip or put together an epic race Mario Kart in the camp by joining four Game Boy Advances.

There is still the other side of Game Boy accessories, such as the infamous camera and the low resolution Game Boy printer. , the Nintendo e-Reader and the GameCube / Game Boy Advance adapter. These projects did not seek to mend Game Boy's failures; They sought to expand the Game Boy experience in new and creative ways.

They were not always successful. (In hindsight, it was not the best experience for the user to have to scan five separate fragile paper cards to play Excitebike). But they challenged the way we think about our devices and gave them new uses and functions that the original hardware could only dream of. Why not turn your Game Boy into a camera, a controller for your home console, or whatever it was supposed to be the e-Reader?

In a very similar way to how he has lived the legacy of Game Boy and his dream of portable games. The Nintendo Switch, the legacy of accessories that offer new levels of creativity and play, still exists in current Nintendo products, such as Labo's cardboard creations or the customizable colors of the Switch Rabbit. With a renewed focus on portable and modular hardware with the Switch, who knows where Nintendo things will be in the next 30 years?

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