Written by Paul Monopoli

Super Gameboy 1 & 2


The Super Gameboy (or SGB) was Nintendo’s first attempt at getting Gameboy games to home console players. Later attempts include a “rumoured but never released” N64 Gameboy player (of which a couple of 3rd party devices were released) & the Gamecube’s Gameboy Player. The Super Gameboy was released in 1994 & opened the market for more Gameboy sales & consequently more money for Nintendo. The big selling point for this device is you could play your Gameboy games in colour. Let’s have a look at the unit. In this article we’ll cover the PAL & US NTSC Super Gameboys as well as the Japanese only Super Gameboy 2.

First we have 3 Super Nintendo/Famicom systems:

From left to right there’s the Super Famicom, the ugly as hell US SNES & the PAL SNES. For the purposes of this article we have 3 Super Gameboys:

The top 2 are the US NTSC & PAL Super Gameboys while the bottom one is the Super Gameboy 2. Let’s have a closer look at these:

Ahh Choplifter 2, nice game. I bought that off a kid at school for $20 back in the early 90s from memory. Bargain. Anyway, to be blunt this SGB is just as ugly as the SNES it’s sitting in. How about the PAL system?

The Simpsons Escape from Camp Deadly. A Christmas present, & a game I am proud to say I clocked. How about the Super Gameboy 2 in the Super Famicom?

I used Pokemon TCG as I couldn’t find any of my other Pokemon games, & there’s a reason I chose a multiplayer game. Let’s have a look at the right side of the Super Gameboy 2 & find out why:

Yes it is a Gameboy expansion port. You know what that means right? You can hook up devices like this:

Well… why you’d want to hook up a worm light I don’t know. If you want to you can though… nice feature yes? Hey, some people get scared of the dark you know!! OK OK, let’s take this a little more seriously. REALLY the port was designed for something more along the lines of this:

Yes, you can hook up a Gameboy/Gameboy colour or another Super Gameboy 2 for multiplayer mayhem. Pokemon TCG all ‘round, though give me a Tetris tournament any day. Imagine it, 2 Super Famicoms, 2 Super Gameboy 2s, 2 TVs, 2 copies of Gameboy Tetris & 1 link cable. You can have multiplayer Tetris & not only that, you can have a multiplayer game of what is considered to be the best version of Tetris ever on TV screens.

Other SNES & Gameboy peripherals can be used as well including the SNES mouse. The Super Gameboy interface is controlled by the controller in port 2 of the SNES. Additionally to this you can actually use the SNES mouse for easier control over choosing your borders & colours.

You might also want to use the Gameboy camera. Maybe you want to take a dodgy looking picture of yourself. If so then you might be wanting to do something like this:

Or maybe you want to print something, the Gameboy has a printer as well:

This Gameboy printer is the Japanese Pikachu Yellow Gameboy printer incase anyone was wondering why it isn’t beige. Hey, I know. The Super Gameboy 2 can be used as a Super Nintendo Gameboy Camera Studio!!

If you decide to set yours up like this & use that name all credit goes to me. Thanks in advance. Finally in Japan the Super Gameboy had a special controller designed by Hori called the Super Gameboy Commander:

As I don’t actually have one of these I’ve used this image from ncsx.com who sell the controller. They are out of stock at the moment & I don’t know if that will change in the future, but here’s a plug for them if they do. It’s a bit of a pointless idea, have a controller that looks like a Gameboy controller… maybe you think it is a good idea? Let us know.

Now let’s look at a game in the system. I’ve chosen “The Great Battle”. This is a Japanese series that includes Ultraman, Kamen Rider, SD Gundam & Roar.

As mentioned before the Super Gameboy has an interface which can be managed by either the SNES controller in port 2 or a SNES mouse. The games wouldn’t play full screen but in a window in the centre of the screen. Why not full screen you might ask? Well even in the small screen the picture was blocky enough. Remember, the Gameboy was only designed to display a certain amount of pixels on the screen, & the bigger you make those pixels the blockier the end result will be.

What about the outside? Well the Super Gameboy had borders that could be displayed on the outside. The default border looked like the edge of the Gameboy screen, but other borders could be used. Several games including Donkey Kong & the Pokemon series had their own borders. The Super Gameboy 2 has 8 borders that are different to the first model.

As well as special borders, some Gameboy games were enhanced when played in a Super Gameboy, similar to how some games are enhanced when played in a Gameboy Colour. The Super Gameboy already has special colour palettes selected for games released before the device, but games such as Space Invaders actually became full blown SNES games when plugged into the unit. Tetris DX will display a different border when plugged into a Super Gameboy 2.

Get the point? No that wasn’t funny at all, was it?

If you’re a collector then the Super Gameboy is definitely a nice device to have. If you don’t care about portability but want to play some good Gameboy games, then get one of these & you can use the SNES to act as both systems. As for the Super Gameboy 2, well it’s not that expensive but make sure you’re going to use the extra features before you consider buying one, otherwise it may be a waste of money. Remember, if you want to use it with a camera & printer that setup is called the “Super Nintendo Gameboy Camera Studio”, trademark me!!

Discuss in the forum.

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