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Best way to play B&W Gameboy games?

Best way to play B&W Gameboy games?  

68 members have voted

  1. 1. What do you think is the best way to play black and white Gameboy games?

    • Original beige brick / "Play It Loud" bricks
      10
    • Gameboy Pocket
      4
    • Gameboy Color
      7
    • Gameboy Advance (original horizontal version)
      2
    • Gameboy Advance SP
      17
    • SNES w/ Super Gameboy
      15
    • Gamecube w/ Gameboy Player
      11
    • ROMs through an Emulator
      0
    • Who cares? Black and white games suck!
      2


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I enjoy playing original GB games on my GBC and SGB. The GBC adds some flavor to the display of the game and has a longer battery life. The SGB works very well too because it allows me to play the games on a big screen sitting back a distance. I don't mind the enlargement because its resolution 160x144 compared to the Atari 2600 of 192x160 isn't that far off. It could be almost considered an overclocked 2600 with additional memory but less color and more sound.

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The SGB works very well too because it allows me to play the games on a big screen sitting back a distance.

 

Plus the SNES controller is great. Often I find I can get that little bit of extra precision I need by playing on the Super NES. Trying to finish Mega Man 3 for instance - I couldn't for the life of me complete the last stage on my GBA SP, but switching to the SGB made a minor, though crucial difference in the play control for me

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The SGB works very well too because it allows me to play the games on a big screen sitting back a distance.

 

Plus the SNES controller is great. Often I find I can get that little bit of extra precision I need by playing on the Super NES. Trying to finish Mega Man 3 for instance - I couldn't for the life of me complete the last stage on my GBA SP, but switching to the SGB made a minor, though crucial difference in the play control for me

And if you don't like the SNES pad, there's always this...

http://www.play-asia.com/paOS-13-71-7c-49-en-70-1cfi.html

 

Allegedly recreates the feel of a gray brick's bottom half almost exactly. Right down to the speaker slots on the corner.

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Wow, that's a pretty neat controller... next time I buy anything from Play-Asia, maybe I'll toss that into the mix too. It's too bad they didn't stick X/Y/L/R buttons on it though... you'd have to swap controllers every time you started/stopped playing SGB stuff :/

 

--Zero

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The SGB works very well too because it allows me to play the games on a big screen sitting back a distance.

 

Plus the SNES controller is great. Often I find I can get that little bit of extra precision I need by playing on the Super NES. Trying to finish Mega Man 3 for instance - I couldn't for the life of me complete the last stage on my GBA SP, but switching to the SGB made a minor, though crucial difference in the play control for me

And if you don't like the SNES pad, there's always this...

http://www.play-asia.com/paOS-13-71-7c-49-en-70-1cfi.html

 

Allegedly recreates the feel of a gray brick's bottom half almost exactly. Right down to the speaker slots on the corner.

 

That is AWESOME. I seem to remember those back whent he SGB came out here too, I don't remember if the old ones were official Nintendo, or offbrand though. I thought about one, but considering I love the SNES pad, I never did.

 

Would those work with a US SNES? It said for Super FAmicom, but I don't remember if that uses the same plug and controller chips to work or not. Might be cool to pick one up if so, as well as some actual SNES controllers, you can only clean them so many tiems befor they quit altogether.

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first off, i love some bw gb games, a lot of em really were awesome. and secondly, the super game boy for the snes all the way. heck I had that before I even owned any gb hardware. for me its the only thing that frees these great-playing games from the craptacularness of their screens. (even the ones that finally do get a good screen have no color control.) sgb all the way. n u can play with a nice snes joystick. I hate little pads. pads are for 'that time of the month'

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Would those work with a US SNES? It said for Super FAmicom, but I don't remember if that uses the same plug and controller chips to work or not.

They should work.

 

If I recall, European SNESes have some resistors added in that make them incompatible peripheral-wise. But they still use the same connector, pinout, and protocol. US and J are identical.

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I'm surprised that only one person has mentioned the Gameboy Light. Even though I don't have one myself, it's alwasy seemed like the Cadillac of B&W Gameboys and the ntural choice for anyone who wants the best experience of the B&W games.

 

For myself, though, I mostly use Goomba on my DS when I want to play original Gameboy games. It's real nice having the entire history of Nintendo's portables right there in one nice little white glossy package. My only complaint is that Goomba doesn't have an option for the original color palette of dark blue on light green. It has black on light green, but that's just not authentic enough! I want blue and green!

 

 

...word is bondage...

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My only complaint is that Goomba doesn't have an option for the original color palette of dark blue on light green. It has black on light green, but that's just not authentic enough! I want blue and green!

I always thought it was dark green on light green, personally.

...

It was actually a really nasty display, all things considered.

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For myself, though, I mostly use Goomba on my DS when I want to play original Gameboy games. It's real nice having the entire history of Nintendo's portables right there in one nice little white glossy package.

 

I've had some problems here and there with some games via Goomba. Have you tried playing Donkey Kong on it? And if so, does it show the item totals on the bottom when you finish a screen? For some reason.. mine is blank.

 

That being said the other thing about Goomba that bugs me is at least on a GBA you could stretch and shrink an original GB game screen with the L/R buttons. Can't do that on the emulator

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the last game system i bought was the purple gameboy color when it came out i think in 98

 

i thought it was weird how it turned solar striker into a negative when playing

 

i had the origional green and yellow screen origional but every week after i bought it one verticle line would up and die i lost some 8 on one side one in the middle and a couple on the right till i sent it to a authorized nintendo service center they repaired it by giving me a new one i thne bought my lynx from "the good guys" weird thing when i opened the box it had a euro adapter and a pink french regester card the good guys though i was trying to pull a fast one with them (where the hell am i gonna find a acadapter with them round plugs and that warrany card they relented and opened another to give me an adapter that works in america)

 

alkalines have improved but i think it has more to do with the efficiency of the chips and electronics of today

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One cool thing about SGB is that some GB games support multiplayer when played on it. Some of these games are Wario Blast (Bomberman GB in Japan. 4 player support with adapter!), Bomberman GB (known as Bomberman GB2 in Japan. Also 4 players), Samurai Shodown, Killer Instinct (though kind of pointless playing it on SGB since the SNES port is superior), and Puyo Puyo Tsuu (Japan only. Worth getting, but I don't see much point in playing it on SGB since Puyo Puyo Tsuu Remix is on SNES with 4 player support, which the GB b/w one doesn't have). Space Invaders has one of the best uses of the SGB. It actually has a SNES version of Space Invaders inside, as well as excellent color pallettes for the GB Space Invaders.

Edited by BrianC

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So how's the screen on the Light? It is the green and fuzz that the Classic has, or is it sharp like the Game Boy Pocket?

I'm seriously considering a Pocket for Burai Fighter. It's clean and crisp, and the game works with it, but if the Light is crisp like the Pocket is, I may hold out for a Light instead.

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It was a tough call for me, as I love the GB and love the fact that there were so many good playable fun games, even on the good ol B&W system. I prefer to play the B&W games on the Cube with component for added resolution. The close second would be an SP with superior screen. That will be my next retro system. Dam that thing rocked for being nearly completely backwards compatable with the advantage of the DS screen.

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So how's the screen on the Light? It is the green and fuzz that the Classic has, or is it sharp like the Game Boy Pocket?

I'm seriously considering a Pocket for Burai Fighter. It's clean and crisp, and the game works with it, but if the Light is crisp like the Pocket is, I may hold out for a Light instead.

As I understand things(this is not 1st-hand account), the Light uses the GBPocket screen, with a glowing green panel for light. Like an Indiglo wristwatch.

 

I prefer to play the B&W games on the Cube with component for added resolution.

I have to nitpick: Component video gets you added clarity, NOT added resolution. Added resolution would be more pixels, whereas component gets the same pixels you have communicated more clearly to the TV.

 

And I fail to see how the GBPlayer is better for B&W games than the Super GameBoy, particularly given the GC gamepads flat-out suck for digital input.

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I prefer to play the B&W games on the Cube with component for added resolution.

I have to nitpick: Component video gets you added clarity, NOT added resolution. Added resolution would be more pixels, whereas component gets the same pixels you have communicated more clearly to the TV.

I have to nitpick your nitpick. Component cables + GameBoy Player = 480p progressive scan, twice the number of lines as the standard 480i.

 

Wikipedia says:

* Subjectively increased vertical resolution.

The perceived vertical resolution of an interlaced image is usually equivalent to multiplying the active lines by about 0.6. This means that, when viewing progressive sourced material, a progressive display will show a more detailed image, when compared to a interlaced one, even if both have exactly the same display resolution.

 

Yes, it technically runs in the same resolution, but it does it with style and it *looks* like there's more resolution because there is no line-skipping. If you can't trust your own eyes, what can you trust?

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I prefer to play the B&W games on the Cube with component for added resolution.

I have to nitpick: Component video gets you added clarity, NOT added resolution. Added resolution would be more pixels, whereas component gets the same pixels you have communicated more clearly to the TV.

I have to nitpick your nitpick. Component cables + GameBoy Player = 480p progressive scan, twice the number of lines as the standard 480i.

The GBPlayer supports progressive scan?

It's technically an increased refresh rate at the same resolution(60 frames a second vs 30), but... meh.

Given interlacing artifacts, it's a bit more advantage than just "clarity."

 

Of course, we're still talking about a source of 160*144 being projected into a 240*160 window and then upsampled from there.

Go Super Gameboy, get raw unaltered pixels, and marvel at the SNES' 256*224 progressive-scan abuse of your poor confused television

 

 

Anyways, I've just seen the argument that better cables "boost the resolution" far too often lately.

Doesn't seem like component is even a major boost over s-video from what I've seen(though my comparisons have been limited). Not until you go on to 480p and then HD resolutions.

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Yes, the Game Boy Player supports progessive scan.

 

As for the Game Cube controller sucking for those games, just buy a Hori digital controller.

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If JB's source about the GB Light was correct, then I am chaging my recommendation.

Some titles need the color, like Super RC Pro Am. It makes things much more clear on the track. Others work great on the Pocket I just got, but the Light would be superior to that.

 

For the best performance, I recommend the Color, followed by a Light for compatibility. I'd still keep the brick around, too, for the four player games. Super RC Pro Am is a complete blast when you've got three or four players. It makes everything worthwhile for the poor boy who gets stuck using the brick (it's needed for port 1 of the adaptor).

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For myself, though, I mostly use Goomba on my DS when I want to play original Gameboy games.

I've been using Gnuboy2X to play Mono/Color games on my GP2X lately, and it works quite nicely... there's an option to scale the screen, but it ends up looking like crap, so I just put up with the postage-stamp sized screen :/ I also ordered a GBA flash card just recently, so I'll have to try out Goomba when I get it.

 

Of course, we're still talking about a source of 160*144 being projected into a 240*160 window and then upsampled from there.

Also, what is the refresh rate of the Gameboy's screen? If the screen updates at 30 times per second or less, then progressive scan is kind of pointless. I really wish they had included an option in the GB Player to zoom the screen to something that would work nicely for classic GB games. All in all, I think the GB Player is kind of a disappointment, even for GBA games.

 

--Zero

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Of course, we're still talking about a source of 160*144 being projected into a 240*160 window and then upsampled from there.

Also, what is the refresh rate of the Gameboy's screen? If the screen updates at 30 times per second or less, then progressive scan is kind of pointless. I really wish they had included an option in the GB Player to zoom the screen to something that would work nicely for classic GB games. All in all, I think the GB Player is kind of a disappointment, even for GBA games.

 

--Zero

I have NO idea what the refresh rate is. I could probably find it, but I'd have to wade through technical docs...

Aww hell, I've done it for less interesting info...

 

http://www.devrs.com/gb/files/faqs.html#Interlace

"Why do pictures in the background or window often appear distorted if you scroll them up or down 1 pixel each V-Blank ?

 

This is because all versions of GB (i.e. GB,GBC,GBP,SGB,...) have interlaced screens and are redrawn 30 times a second. (i.e. All odd lines are drawn in one screen refresh, all even lines are drawn in the next screen refresh.) As a result, if you scroll a picture up or down 1 pixel each V-Blank you are seeing every other line twice during scrolling. (Info of GBC interlace from Pan of Anthrox.)

 

The GB screen isn't a true interlaced screen. It appears that every line is redrawn with every screen redraw but every other line is just much dimmer."

 

 

If I read right, it's 60Hz interlaced, with the original brick being a rather unique special case.

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I won't (can't, not really qualified) get into a fight over technical details, but I feel that 480p is subjectively nicer-looking than 480i on the GameBoy Player as well as other Cube games that support progressive scan, which includes most of the Nintendo-published titles. You need the hard-to-find component cables to view this display mode. The cables definitely make a difference in this case. As for people overhyping the difference between s-video and composite cables? I think people should decide for themselves, but I feel that (in ascending quality)

 

- RF - clearly the worst, but it's not terrible except for needing converters on everything and the monoaural sound

- Composite - definitely better than RF when possible and is "good enough" for most people (Jaguar and SNES look particularly nicer this way IMHO). Default because it works with almost everything.

- S-Video - I don't believe the hype. I don't perceive a big jump from composite, personally. It's like SVHS -- better than the old standard, but irrelevant now. I wouldn't break my back to get an svideo adapter for a machine like 3DO or Saturn, which are from the era that relied on this

- Component (RGB) - enables HDTV resolutions, absolutely a must for XBOX and 360 games, nice on Cube games, poorly supported on PS2. Should be a default for a while, in conjunction with composite.

- VGA - nice if you can get it. Makes the Dreamcast look like an XBOX. Supposedly a nice $10 way to hook up a PS3 to a monitor without HDMI.

- HDMI - no experience, but I suspect it's nice if you are paying that kind of money anyway ...

 

480p on the Cube GBP is not the most "pure" way to view the image from a low-res gameboy game, but who cares? Better is better. Why drive nearsighted when you can have glasses? I like SuperEagle filtering on my snes9x and other emulators better than the original jaggies, and your opinion may differ.

 

This site implies that the refresh rate of the GBA is 60hz, much like a conventional LCD display. I think the monochrome and color models are indeed interlaced.

Most GBA programs are structured around the timing of the CPU and graphics hardware. The LCD has a refresh rate of about 59.73 hz, with each refresh consisting of a vertical draw period (when the GBA is drawing the screen) followed by a vertical blank period (when nothing is being drawn). The vertical draw and vertical blank periods are further subdivided into horizontal draw and blank periods. Programs typically use the VBlank and possibly the HBlank periods to update VRAM or graphics hardware registers in order to avoid unwanted visual artifacts, leaving the VDraw and HDraw periods to perform any software processing that will not effect the display. Common methods of syncing to VBlank include polling REG_DISPSTAT or REG_VCOUNT, calling the VBlankIntrWait BIOS function, or setting up an interrupt.

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I won't (can't, not really qualified) get into a fight over technical details, but I feel that 480p is subjectively nicer-looking than 480i on the GameBoy Player as well as other Cube games that support progressive scan, which includes most of the Nintendo-published titles. You need the hard-to-find component cables to view this display mode. The cables definitely make a difference in this case.

My 'Cube doesn't have the digital video port, so I'd need a whole new system(or possibly just the security bit and pinout). :(

 

As for people overhyping the difference between s-video and composite cables? I think people should decide for themselves, but I feel that (in ascending quality)

 

- RF - clearly the worst, but it's not terrible except for needing converters on everything and the monoaural sound

- Composite - definitely better than RF when possible and is "good enough" for most people (Jaguar and SNES look particularly nicer this way IMHO). Default because it works with almost everything.

- S-Video - I don't believe the hype. I don't perceive a big jump from composite, personally. It's like SVHS -- better than the old standard, but irrelevant now. I wouldn't break my back to get an svideo adapter for a machine like 3DO or Saturn, which are from the era that relied on this

- Component (RGB) - enables HDTV resolutions, absolutely a must for XBOX and 360 games, nice on Cube games, poorly supported on PS2. Should be a default for a while, in conjunction with composite.

- VGA - nice if you can get it. Makes the Dreamcast look like an XBOX. Supposedly a nice $10 way to hook up a PS3 to a monitor without HDMI.

- HDMI - no experience, but I suspect it's nice if you are paying that kind of money anyway ...

 

My experience, plus a bit of technical knowledge, is...

 

RF modulation:

Ass. Don't use it.

Perception probably colored by living in a "noisy" area, as RF modulation is the most sensitive to interference as well as the lowest quality to start with.

 

 

Composite:

Tolerable. It's the only thing available for many systems, and the best way to view a Playstation 1 due to a chronic dependence on dithering. I prefer to take my SNES up to...

 

 

S-video:

This is where things start getting good. First time I fired up something on s-video(Dreamcast, done on a whim because I found the cable dirt-cheap), I was stunned at the difference. It made it look like a whole new system. Proceeded to grab PS1(oops) and SNES/GameCube(yay!) s-video cables on the basis of the DC trial. I no longer use composite if there's an option, except in special cases(See: PS1).

Ironically, it makes some games look worse because composite's "blur" hides dithering and aliasing really well.

 

Technically, the increased clarity is because the color and brightness signals are sent on seperate lines, so there's no interference between them as well as less processing required for the TV to recover the image. This CAN interfere with classic gaming, in a select set of circumstances.

The separate signals WILL prevent artifact coloring(used on some games for some computer platforms, as well as a 7800 game or 2) from working, since there's no longer any chroma/luma crosstalk to generate the artifacts, so you just get monochrome vertical line patterns. So it's a good idea to keep composite output available for those platforms(though a 7800 needs modding to get past RF modulation).

 

Interestingly, s-video is also the native format of Atari's 8-bit game machines and computers, as the video chipsets "think" in terms of chroma and luma, not RGB. But this isn't really important, except in that it makes it impossible to mod these machines for RGB output.

 

 

If the system doesn't support progressive scan or higher resolutions, there's not a huge difference between component and s-video that I can see, and as near as I can tell s-video is ignored more because it was introduced before the home theater boom than because of any real quality issue.

 

If the system DOES support progressive scan/HD, the situation changes radically.

 

 

Component:

Progressive and HD yay! Also has the 2 separate parts of the chroma signal sent independently, further reducing image degradation, though we're getting into diminishing returns here.

Pity it's s-video on steroids instead of true RGB, since my current primary game display(as well as my only "TV" capable of progressive scan or high-res) has composite, s-video, and RGB inputs, but not component.

 

This standard only exists because the movie companies wanted Macrovision on the DVD spec sheet so they could ignore it, and Macrovision won't hypothetically work on the already-existing...

 

 

RGB(VGA uses this, and SCART does sometimes):

This is technically superior to even component video... Except on the XBox, where it's been locked to 480i, making component your only option for progressive/HD. I hate you Microsoft.

Subjective comparisons are difficult, since most devices support RGB OR component, but not both.

 

Anyways, it sends the actual red, green, and blue signals that your TV or monitor will ultimately display, so the image is never encoded into chroma/luma, and never decoded back to RGB at the display. What you get is what you see.

Arguably not worth the effort unless you're a rabid videophile, since in the US it usually requires spending some time with a soldering iron to use it. Though it's the only non-mod option for taking a Genesis past composite(The Genny AV ports have RGB pins, but not chroma/luma).

There's no better way to pass a picture, except for...

 

 

Digital video(DVI and HDMI):

It's digital! Which means it's more or less immune to interference. What you get is what you see, and even more so since noise is irrelevant.

 

Since I don't have anything with DVI or HDMI imputs, I've got nothing more to say here. Except that the DVI-VGA adapters dangling off the back of my PC are incredibly useful devices.

 

 

 

S-video is my preferred connection, as it offers the greatest image quality/convenience ratio available on my equipment. I'm too lazy to do RGB mods.

Heck, I haven't even wired up my Genesis RGB cable, and that's just a plug and some wires.

I've got the plug. I paid good money for it. It's sitting about 2 feet from me. Has been for months.

 

I like SuperEagle filtering on my snes9x and other emulators better than the original jaggies, and your opinion may differ.

And your opinion is hereby rendered null and void because you like the Eagle filter. :P

 

Seriously, I tend to use a basic blur option(which more or less simulates a classic TV's poor image clarity) because I find most of the pattern recognition filters to be too nasty for words.

The HQ2x filter has seen actual use in the emulators that support it, though. I find it's routines intelligent enough to turn out a decent picture in many cases.

 

 

This site implies that the refresh rate of the GBA is 60hz, much like a conventional LCD display. I think the monochrome and color models are indeed interlaced.

It's REALLY strange to see the GB basically matches NTSC timings.

Implies Nintendo was planning GB->TV adapters from the beginning.

 

And the GB LCD is definitely interlaced. Even in the Advance and SP.

No clue on the DSes and Micro, though I assume the Micro is still interlaced.

Edited by JB

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The original Gameboy ran at 60fps probably so that developers used to coding for standard 60fps vblank systems would still feel at home, not because Nintendo ever planned a TV out adapter for it.

 

60fps isn't surprising. The fact that it supposedly uses some sort of interlaced display is, though. I mean, it's a dot matrix screen. Interlacing a dot matrix screen seems totally pointless...assuming it's even possible. Does anyone know more about what this means exactly. The Gameboy Color and Advance are definitley interlaced, though, this can be seen when you turn them off and only the last set of lines persists. The DS doesn't seem to do that, but that's probably a sign that Nintendo changed the power down function rather than being a sign that the DS screen output isn't interlaced.

 

 

...word is bondage...

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The original Gameboy ran at 60fps probably so that developers used to coding for standard 60fps vblank systems would still feel at home, not because Nintendo ever planned a TV out adapter for it.

Maybe.

I can see the utility to implementing a "scan", given game developers have found mid-frame effects to be so useful.

 

The fact that it supposedly uses some sort of interlaced display is, though. I mean, it's a dot matrix screen. Interlacing a dot matrix screen seems totally pointless...assuming it's even possible. Does anyone know more about what this means exactly. The Gameboy Color and Advance are definitley interlaced, though, this can be seen when you turn them off and only the last set of lines persists.

It's definitely possible. As you noted, the GBC/A do it quite visibly.

 

Aside from matching TV behaviors, my best guess behind the logic is that it was a way to gain some of the cost benefits of a passive-matrix screen without the image quality expense.

 

The DS doesn't seem to do that, but that's probably a sign that Nintendo changed the power down function rather than being a sign that the DS screen output isn't interlaced.

Quite likely, since the DS is their first system with an actual power-down sequence instead of "remove power and watch it starve to death."

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