Do Gameboy Games Still Work?

The good old Gameboy. A handheld gaming device that is considered to be the first mainstream portable gaming device. It was first launched back on April 21, 1989. I know that was a long time ago. We have had a few different variations of the Gameboy, and one of the most common questions we get is whether or not Gameboy games still work.

Yes, Gameboy games do still work. The Gameboy Advance is backward compatible with all previous iterations, which means that you can play all of the old Gameboy games on it. The Gameboy Color is also backward compatible with all the original Gameboy games.

If your Gameboy games have stopped working, we will take a look at some possible reasons and solutions. We will also talk about different ways of playing Gameboy games, and finally, we will briefly look at Gameboy in general.

Do Gameboy games die?

Like all physical media, Gameboy cartridges do eventually suffer from wear and tear. You can minimize this and prolong the lifespan of the cartridge with proper care and maintenance. There is one problem that no amount of proper care can prevent, and this is, game saves.

The most common issue with Gameboy games

In modern consoles, all game saves are saved to a hard drive, either an internal or external one. The Gameboy didn’t have a hard drive. Instead, the game cartridges, before the Gameboy Advance, had a battery that was built into the cartridge. This battery has the ability to make small saves, kind of like a bios battery in a motherboard.

So, unlike modern consoles, Gameboy games saved games straight to the cartridge using a small battery that is built into the cartridge itself.

The battery that the cartridges use is either a CR2025 and/or a CR2032 battery. When the battery dies, you will lose your save state and also the ability to create new saves. This is the most common problem with Gameboy games. When you lose the ability to save, playing a game seems almost pointless as you have to constantly restart from the beginning.

How do you fix a Gameboy color game that won’t save?

If your game won’t save, it is most probably the battery inside the game cartridge. The same can be said for the original Gameboy games.

Replacing the battery of your Gameboy cartridge is fairly simple. First, you need to purchase the correct battery, either the CR2025 or CR2032. Just open the cartridge, take out the old battery, and insert the new one, put the cartridge back together and you are done.

Quick fact: The Gameboy advance was the first Gameboy to use cartridges that had a memory chip instead of a battery. It was a 64-kilobyte chip that was built into the cartridge. This offered a much greater lifespan than a battery.

Gameboy backward compatibility

Gameboy games are backward compatible but not forward compatible. This means that the Gameboy advance will play all games, including all previous generation games. The color will play all color and previous generation games but will not play Gameboy advance games.

Do fake Gameboy games work?

Yes, fake Gameboy games do work, but more often than not, they are bad quality. The components that are used are not the same standard that gets used in original games.

The problem with fake Gameboy games

Because they are bad quality and often poorly made, using a fake game could cause a lot of crashing. When you couple the crashing with bad or sometimes no save states, it just makes for a bad experience.

The lifespan of fake games is also something to consider. You might think that you are saving a few dollars when purchasing a fake but, you might end up buying the same game more than once when it all of a sudden stops working.

Different ways of playing Gameboy games

In this section, I am going to assume that you own the ROM for any of the games that you might potentially play via one of these methods.

With smartphone and PC emulators, we no longer have to worry about our physical media getting damaged. Using emulators on your phone means that everything is all done via the phone, this includes save states.

Playing Gameboy games on your android phone

Here is a quick guide on how to play your favorite games via your android phone.

  1. Download an emulator from the play store. Keep reading if you want to see my top picks.
  2. Go to a website called ROMs download or just search google for Gameboy ROM’s.
  3. Download your desired ROM.
  4. Once the ROM and emulator are both downloaded, open up the emulator.
  5. Most emulators do an automatic scan of your phone; if not, you can select “scan” and the emulator will find all the ROMs (games) on your phone.
  6. Play around with the settings until you are happy.
  7. Open the game you want to play.
  8. Enjoy yourself.

My top 3 Gameboy emulator for android picks are

  • My Boy-GBA Emulator (Paid)
  • John GBA lite (Free)
  • My OldBoy GBC emulator

Using emulators on IOS

In order to use emulators on your IOS device, you need to jailbreak your phone. I do not encourage people to do so at all. If, for some reason, you do have an IOS device that has been jailbroken, the process for playing emulated games on it, is the same as on Android devices.

Gameboy emulators for PC

Again, the process is the same on PC as it is for android.

  • Download an emulator from ROMs download.
  • You can also download the Roms from there
  • Download your desired ROM.
  • Once the ROM and emulator are both downloaded, Open up the emulator.
  • Most emulators do an automatic scan for games on your machine, if not, you can select “scan,” and the emulator will find all the ROMs (games) on your PC.
  • Play around with the settings until you are happy.
  • Open the game you want to play.
  • Enjoy yourself.

When doing this on your PC, I cannot stress enough how much you must consider your safety. The site that I have linked to is the safest that I know of as of writing this article.

A brief history of Gameboy

The first iteration of the legendary handheld gaming device was introduced in 1989 by the Japanese video game giant Nintendo.

Who invented Gameboy?

The Gameboy was created by Gunpei Yokoi. Gunpei had been with Nintendo long before the company had even jumped into the video game industry.

Quick fact: The name “Gameboy” is inspired by the Sony Walkman.

When was the Gameboy color released?

The successor to the original device was released on October 21, 1998. That is almost an entire decade between the two. The Gameboy color received much praise. It had the ability not only to play new types of games, but you could also play your original games on it.

When was the Gameboy advance released?

On March 21, 2001, Nintendo released the Gameboy Advance. This was their most powerful handheld yet. The device got two upgrades before eventually being outdone by the DS. The Gameboy Advance family is the second highest-selling handheld console. The Advance family has sold 81.51 million devices.

The Gameboy Advance SP ( special ) was introduced on February 14, 2003.

The end of an era

Nintendo released the DS handheld device on November 21, 2004. This was the introduction of a new generation. The DS family is the best selling handheld console. The DS family has sold a whopping 154 million devices.

Final thoughts

Gameboy games do still work. The most common problem that you will have is with the battery. A problem with the battery will result in losing the ability to create save states. Replacing the battery is simple as long as you have the correct battery.

With modern technology, playing your favorite retro games is easier than ever before.

David Sacks

I have worked in the IT industry since 2011 and have been an avid gamer my whole life. My first consoles were the sega genesis and the Nintendo SNES. I play both console and PC games, I love both. I decided to become combine my passion for gaming with my passion for writing.

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