* CPU: 8-bit processor similar to Z80 at 4.194304MHz
* RAM: 8kB internal
* ROM: 256kBit up to 8MBit cartridges are known (resp. 32kB up to 1024kB). Probably, there are 16kB cartridges as well.
* VRAM: 8kB internal
* Display: Reflective LCD 160 x 144 dots
* Colors: 4 shades of gray
* Screen Size: 2.6"
* Sprites: 40 sprites of either 8x8 or 8x16 [switchable]
* Sound: 4 channels each of which can be mapped either to the left or to the right or to both speakers
* Communications: Serial port. It can be used to connect 2, 4 or 16 units using the Game Link Cable (and the Four Player Link adapter). It is also used to connect the Game Boy Printer.
MESS supports both Game Boy original systems
* gameboy [Nintendo Game Boy]
* gbpocket [Nintendo Game Boy Pocket]
These drivers require a cart dump (in one of the following formats: .gb, .gmb, .cgb, .gbc, .sgb, .bin) in the "cartridge" (cart) device to run. You can launch emulation using, at command line
mess gbpocket -cart "C:\pathtogame\gamename.gb"
Using gameboy, you could actually start the system without a cart, but you would simply see a black rectangle scrolling down in place of the usual Nintendo logo (whose graphics is stored in the carts). Controls
Game Boy games are controlled through a 8-way Directional Pad (D-Pad), first introduced by Nintendo in its Game & Watch series of portable games and then used also in the NES controller, and 2 buttons named A and B. Additional buttons Start and Select are present on the console itself.
History and Trivia
Nintendo's Game Boy handheld was first released in 1989 in Japan and US, and in 1990 in Europe and Australia. The gaming device was designed by the long-time Nintendo employee Gunpei Yokoi. He was also the responsible of the Ultra Hand, an expanding arm toy created and produced by Nintendo in 1970, and the creator of the Game & Watch handhelds, which first introduced the revolutionary use of a directional pad to control games.
Yokoi designed the original Game Boy with clear ideas in mind: the system needed to be small, light, inexpensive and durable. And the final result succeeded in all these aspects. In particular, the Game Boy was small enough to be (almost) put in pockets. Also, the reflective b&w LCD screen, which could have been a weak point in comparison to backlit color screen of the Atari Lynx and the Sega Game Gear, turned out to be its advantage: its "poor" screen, indeed, allowed the Game Boy to work for ~30 hours (almost 5 times more than competitors) with only 4AA batteries.
Thanks to a very large library of games, Game Boy continued its success until 2000, when it was replaced by its successor: the Game Boy Color. The new console was actually released in 1998 in Japan, but for a couple of years many new games were still programmed to be compatible with the original hardware as well. Versions
The Game Boy console went through several design iterations, without significant changes to its computing power, since its release in 1989.
* Game Boy: The original Game Boy was released on April 21, 1989 in Japan and in August 1989 in the United States. Later in 1990 it was also released in Europe and Australia. It plays games from ROM-based media contained in small plastic detachable units called cartridges (sometimes abbreviated as carts or GamePaks). The killer game that pushed the Game Boy into the upper reaches of success was "Tetris". "Tetris" was widely popular, and on the handheld format could be played anywhere. It came packaged with the Game Boy, and broadened its audience: adults and kids alike were buying Game Boys in order to play "Tetris", which could be played also by two players at once (via the Game Link Cable connecting two units through the link port). It was the first cartridge-based system that supported more than four players at one time (via the link port). Using more Four Player Link adapter it is possible to link together up to 16 Game Boy units, even if such a feature was used by "Faceball 2000" only.
* Game Boy - Play It Loud!: In 1995, Nintendo released several Game Boy models with colored cases, advertising them in the Play it Loud! campaign. Specifications for this unit remain the same as the original Game Boy, including the monochromatic screen, and only a more powerful internal speaker was added. This new line of colored Game Boy models would set a precedent for later Nintendo handhelds, which all feature different colored units. "Play It Loud!" units were manufactured in red, yellow, green, black, blue, white and clear cases. There was also a red cased limited edition released in the United Kingdom dedicated to Manchester United, with the logos of the team on it.
* Game Boy Pocket: In July 1996 (Japanese release date, September 1996 for the US release), Nintendo released this new version which is smaller, lighter and requires only 2 AAA batteries to work (about 10 hours of game play). The Pocket has a smaller link port, which requires an adapter to link with the older Game Boy. The port design will remain the same in subsequent Game Boy models, until the Game Boy Micro. The screen was changed to a true black-and-white display, rather than the original greenish monochromatic display, and a small LED was added to show the batteries level. It was produced in many color variations (the older ones did not have the battery LED): gray, red, yellow, green, black, silver, gold, pink and light purple... Additionally, various limited editions were produced, dedicated to Hello Kitty, Tamagotchi etc.
* Game Boy Light: The Game Boy Light was only released in Japan in April 14, 1998. This Light version is about the same size as the Pocket and has a backlit screen for improved visibility. It uses 2 AA batteries, which give it approximately 20 hours with the light off and 12 with it on. Accessories
Various accessories were produce for the Game Boy.
* Pocket Camera / Game Boy Camera: This add-on was released by Nintendo in 1998 and it consists of a cart with a built in camera, which allow to save pictures and to edit them in some basic way. The camera can take greyscale 128 x 112 pixel pictures with a few simple effects, to store them in albums (and later reviewed singularly or as a slideshow) and to link them together. Also, a few built-in games are present: "Space Fever II" (a shoot'em up) and, through this, "Ball" (a juggling game similar to a Game & Watch), "DJ" (in which you can mix and create music) and "Run! Run! Run!" (a race against a mole and a bird). The camera can also be interfaced with the Pocket Printer / Game Boy Printer to produce hardcopies of the pictures.
* Pocket Printer / Game Boy Printer: This is a thermal printer released by Nintendo in 1998, to be used with Game Boy and Game Boy Color handhelds. It was thought to be used mainly in conjunction with Pocket Camera / Game Boy Camera, to print hardcopies of the pictures. A few games supported it as well: "Link's Awakening DX", "Super Mario Bros. Deluxe", "Pokémon Yellow", "Pokémon Gold", "Pokémon Silver", "Pokémon Crystal", "Perfect Dark", "Donkey Kong Country" and "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2" among the others.
* Game Genie, Action Replay, GameShark : cheat devices produced respectively by Galoob, Datel and Interact (GameShark is the US version of Datel's Action Replay).
(info based on Wikipedia, FAQs, etc.)
* Marat Fayzullin's Game Boy Pages -- http://fms.komkon.org/GameBoy/
* Steve's Game Boy Page -- http://www.semis.demon.co.uk/Gameboy/Gbmain.htm
* Game Boy Hardware in Japan -- http://maru-chang.com/hard/gb/english.htm
* Wikipedia page -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_Boy
* no$gmb (GB,GBC,SGB) -- http://nocash.emubase.de/gmb.htm
* Gambatte (GB, GBC) -- http://sourceforge.net/projects/gambatte
* BGB (GB,GBC,SGB) -- http://bgb.bircd.org/
* VisualBoyAdvance (GB,GBC,GBA) -- http://vba.ngemu.com/
* KiGB (GB,GBC,SGB) -- http://kigb.emuunlim.com/
* Mednafen (GB,GBC,GBA) -- http://mednafen.sourceforge.net/
* Hello GameBoy (GB,GBC) [no link]
* GEST (GB,GBC,SGB) -- http://koti.mbnet.fi/gest_emu/
* D-BOY -- http://www.emucamp.com/boukichi