Follow TV Tropes


Useful Notes / Game Boy Player

Go To
A Jet Black Game Boy Player (bottom)
The successor to the Super Game Boy add-on, the Game Boy Player was a peripheral for the Nintendo GameCube that enabled the system to play Game Boy Advance, Game Boy Color and original Game Boy games. It is an adapter that plugs into the GameCube's Hi-Speed Port on the bottom, making the system a near-perfect cube. Unlike the Super Game Boy, the Game Boy Player could be a permanent attachment since it no longer occupies the space where regular games are loaded. Like the Super Game Boy, the Game Boy Player was basically a Game Boy Advance inside a case, meaning it was fully compatible with most games from the Game Boy line.

Unfortunately, the Game Boy Player wasn't as feature-packed as its predecessor, but it still had the following features:

  • The borders returned, though games no longer have custom borders so you're stuck with the 20 pre-made ones. You could also opt to make the game screen bigger to almost completely hide the border.
  • Certain games supported the GameCube controller's rumble feature.
  • With a GameCube-to-Game Boy Advance link cable, you can plug your regular GBA or GBA SP into the GameCube and use it to control your games. The only trade-off is that you can't use the rumble feature, but so few GBA games added rumble support that this disadvantage is mitigated.
  • The Game Boy Player features custom filters to make the games look either sharper or softer (though the difference is only noticeable on a CRT).
  • Advertisement:
  • A timer feature is added.
  • An extension port is added to ensure compatibility with any Link Cable (thus enabling multiplayer) and the Nintendo e-Reader.

As mentioned before, the Game Boy Player lacked features that the Super Game Boy had. You could no longer draw on the screen, game-specific borders were gone, you could no longer create custom palettes for original Game Boy games, and controller multiplayer was also gone. In addition, games with Super Game Boy-specific features will only work as regular Game Boy games, meaning the extra sounds, two-controller mode, custom palettes, and custom borders will not work on the Game Boy Player. While the Game Boy Player's clock speed also was 1:1 with a standard GBA, thus cutting out the oddity of Game Boy games running abnormally fast on a Super Game Boy, it also handled visuals more poorly thanks to it being built for a 480i display instead of 240p along with a softening filter applied to them, resulting in games looking blurrier on a Game Boy Player, and suffering from greater input lag. While the Game Boy Player did support Progressive Scan, this did little to improve the picture quality since you still had to put up with the blurring, and even Nintendo themselves admitted as much.note  The game display was also noticeably dark too, mainly to get the visuals more in-line with the non-backlit model 1 GBA, but the emergence of games later in the GBA's life that took advantage of the SP's frontlight meant that they'd look unusually dark on your TV (though some later GBA games like Mario vs. Donkey Kong had special display settings to optimize the picture specifically for the Game Boy Player).


The Game Boy Player retailed for $40. In Japan, it was sold in the GameCube's full range of colors. In America, the only color available was Jet Black, ironic since the GameCube's trademark color was Indigo. So if you didn't have a Jet Black GameCube, the device would stick out like a sore thumb. Since it's no longer a cartridge like the Super Game Boy, the Game Boy Player required a special startup disc to tell the GameCube to boot into the Game Boy Player. These discs were originally included with the device, but are becoming increasingly rare and expensive. The Game Boy Player is not compatible with the Panasonic Q due to the difference in form factors, but a special version was released just for that system.

The Game Boy Player also had compatibility issues with certain games listed below.

Unfortunately, this add-on would be the last of its kind, as due to the nature of the GBA's successor, the Nintendo DS, DS support on the GameCube's successor, the Nintendo Wii, would be impractical. While the Wii U with its touchpad could support a theoretical Nintendo 3DS attachment, Nintendo never released one, possibly due to the fact that they would have to eschew the 3DS's main selling point, 3D support.note  The Nintendo Switch meanwhile would serve as both a handheld and a home console simultaneously, thus rendering the whole point of add-ons of the Game Boy Player's nature redundant.

The Game Boy Player lives on in the hearts of GameCube and GBA fans, with the homebrew scene creating a Spiritual Successor in the form of the GB Interface, a replacement for the Game Boy Player startup disc that more faithfully translates the GBA experience to TV monitors, including the ability to play games in 240p and with a display that more accurately reflects the look of later backlit GBA models.

Sony would go on to do something similar to the Game Boy Player with the PlayStation TV, a device that could play PlayStation Vita games on a television screen with a DualShock 3 or 4, but unlike the Super Game Boy or the Game Boy Player, the PlayStation TV was its own standalone unit. The Vita's homebrew scene too later made a successor in the VitaDock, a Raspberry Pi build that apes the Switch's dock to allow the Vita to serve as both a handheld and a home console simultaneously.

Functionality Oddities:

All games released for the Game Boy line were fully compatible with the Game Boy Player except:

  • Game Boy Advance Video: Due to concerns of VHS-copying (though with the limited resolution of the Game Boy Advance and the low framerate and poor sound quality of the actual videos, why bother?), Game Boy Advance Video cartridges will simply boot to a "Not Compatible with Game Boy Player" screen and lock up.
  • Cheat devices: They would not fit properly into the Game Boy Player.
  • Motion sensor games: Games with motion sensors built in cannot be played properly on the Game Boy Player. They can be played as normal, but it would be impractical to since you would have to tilt your entire GameCube; in some cases, like Kirby Tilt 'n' Tumble, you'd have to tilt the console around backwards simply because the direction the cartridge plugs into the Game Boy Player is horizontally inverted compared to the Game Boy Color or model 1 GBA.
  • Boktai: The Sun Is in Your Hand: The game's reliance on the cartridge's light sensor ensures that the game cannot be played as intended on a Game Boy Player.
  • Game Boy Camera: The camera function cannot be used properly, unless you want to pick up your entire GameCube just so you can take a selfie.
  • Game Boy Color rumble games: These games have vibration motors built into the cartridge and will simply shake the entire GameCube unless the batteries were removed. Then the games can be played as normal, but rumble still won't work.
  • Pocket Music and Chee-Chai Alien: These games will flat-out refuse to work on the Game Boy Player. This is because these games are Game Boy Color games that are not compatible with the Game Boy Advance due to the way they are programmed, and since the Game Boy Player is essentially a Game Boy Advance, these games won't work here either.

The following Game Boy Advance games featured rumble support for the Game Boy Player: