Game Boy Player Review

Nebojsa Radakovic
Game Boy Player Info


  • N/A


  • N/A


  • Nintendo


  • N/A

Release Date

  • 12/31/1969
  • Out Now


  • Hardware


All grown up.

At some point in your life, you stop taking trips with your family and embark

on your own vacations to distant, exciting places in which to get drunk. Despite

this fact, however, your family will still look for ways to drag you along on

their vacations, and the resulting tension can be brutal.

I recently went to New York and D.C. with my folks – the lure of having them

pay for most of the expenses was just too tempting for my broke ass. We traveled

in an embarrassing tour bus that would dump us off in front of various landmarks.

Everyone on the bus would scramble to take photos and go to the bathroom, then

it was back on the bus for more sitting and waiting.

It might not have been any fun, but it was very educational. I learned a lot

about some important historical sites and memorials. I learned to appreciate

our nation’s heritage. And, of course, I learned to turn down all future family

vacation offers, broke or otherwise.

The Game Boy Player

Most of all, I learned exactly how valuable a Game Boy Advance can be. Sitting

in the tour bus, all I would do is Game Boy, Game Boy, Game Boy. Thank you Golden

and Advance Wars for saving my sanity.

But when I came home, the GBA went back on the shelf. When I have the choice

between a big console screen or a little handheld screen, I will more often

than not choose to super-size it. The GBA might be great for staving off family

vacation irritation, but can it compete with the allure of the big home consoles?

With the release of the new Game Boy Player, that’s a tough question

to answer. The Player is essentially a device that connects to the bottom

of your Gamecube, allowing you to play the entire library of Game Boy games

on your TV. It’s like the Second Coming of the Super Game Boy. With an S-video

connection and the right games, the Game Boy Player is a good accessory

that increases your console library by a bajillion for a decent price.

Installation is rather breezy. You simply remove the hi-speed port cover from

the bottom of the Gamecube, then ease the protruding connector of the Game

Boy Player
into the cutaway slot of the port. Using a penny, you then tighten

two screws and whammo, you’re good to go.

The resulting machine is no more than an inch taller than before. The Player

fits nicely with the Gamecube design, almost as if they had this idea from the

get go. The Player even remains on the bottom of the Gamecube during

normal use and does not need to be detached. Problematically, certain carrying

bags are designed for the exact dimensions of a Gamecube, so you might need

a new duffel (or lots of pennies).

To use the Player, you first need to start up the Gamecube using the

Game Boy Player Boot Up disk. This is merely triggers the Gamecube system to

accept the input from the Player, which includes all of the hardware

components of a Game Boy Advance – sans screen, of course.

Cartridges are inserted label side down. All Game Boy series games can be

played, whether they are from the original Game Boy, the Game Boy Color or Game

Boy Advance, though Kirby’s Tilt And Tumble will demand some extra work.

Even the eCard Reader works. A handy ejection switch on the side enables

the Player to easily expel a cartridge, which practically shoots out

like a bullet.

I tried the Game Boy Player with three different televisions: a Philips/Magnavox

27-inch, an RCA 27-inch and a Sony Wega 32-inch. In all three cases the Player

worked fine. However, the normal composite video lacks a bit of visual clarity

to properly transition between the low-res GBA to the big screen. It was only

when I tried an S-video cable (in this case, the one from Monster Cable)

that I started to appreciate the finer points of the Game Boy Player.

The S-video makes a big difference.

Of course, certain games translate better than others. I played quite a few

games using the Player, but the ones that truly shined were from the

Castlevania series. The detail just really comes to life with the full

screen treatment, and it’s simply much brighter and clearer. Other games that

really benefit from the Player include Metroid Fusion and the

Golden Sun games. On the other end of the spectrum, the Sonic

games never felt right; perhaps they depend too much on the LCD screen for that

last bit of “sonic blur.”

Gamecube & Player

The original screen resolution of the Game Boy Advance is 320 x 240. The Game

Boy Player
allows you to swap between this and a higher resolution. The

latter fills more of the screen, but even with S-video tends to look less pleasing,

as if the image has been stretched too far. Reportedly, future games will also

take advantage of the Game Boy Player to access higher resolutions

There are also three options for frame smoothing: Normal, Soft, and Sharp.

These options only make a difference with motion and animation output. Normal

and Soft tend to work best on most games, whereas Sharp seems to create almost

an artifact look to the intermittent frames.

They’ve also included twenty different kinds of visual frames. About half of

them are positively ridiculous, but the ones that replicate the polished shine

of a real Game Boy Advance look just fine. I don’t understand why they decided

to keep the “Press Z button for menu” at the top right. It’s just imprinted

on the frame, as if someone would forget about it so quickly.

The Z-trigger menu allows you to access other features, including hot swapping

your games. By selecting this option, you can freely eject a game without turning

off your Gamecube. This comes in handy when you have a big pile of GBA games

to play through.

The Gamecube to Game Boy Advance link also gets some mileage out of the Game

Boy Player
. Since the Gamecube combined with the Player is essentially

a big GBA, you can theoretically plug four Gamecubes with Players into

one Gamecube. After you find a way to put five TVs in a room, you can play Final

Fantasy Crystal Chronicles
! Of course, this would be both insane and stupid.

Plus, the game has been delayed, so tough luck.

More logically, you can use the Gamecube to GBA link to turn your GBA a Gamecube controller. It works very well and allows you to retain the original control feel of the GBA. The L and R buttons are simply more responsive than the analog L and R of the Gamecube controller. As another option, the Gamecube L and R buttons can be remapped to the X and Y face buttons, proving especially useful for fighting games. There’s also a Hori controller that duplicates the size and feel of the original SNES controller; the only difference is that the face buttons are shaped in the Gamecube configuration.

If you have a Gamecube and a large library of Game Boy games and are more

interested in playing them at home like a shut-in than on some giant tour bus,

the Game Boy Player is a cheaper solution at $50 than either the basic

GBA or the new GBA SP. I think the price could have been even more competitive

if they included a free game, but as it is, the Player is still a good

deal. While you won’t be able to take it with you on the next vacation you’ve

been forced into, you will be able to start your very own Game Boy Vacation

at home.


Increases the Gamecube library by about a billion
Awesome for the
Cheaper than both the GBA and GBA SP
Easy ejection and hot swapping
Maximize your enjoyment of your GBA library
To maximize the quality, you should have at least
Some games simply don't look good blown up