Game Boy Player
Game Boy Player under a GameCube
|Type||Video game console add-on|
|Generation||Sixth generation era|
|Input||Game Boy Advance games|
|Game Boy, Game Boy Color|
|Predecessor||Super Game Boy 2|
|Related articles||Nintendo Gamecube|
The Game Boy Player (ゲームボーイプレーヤー Gēmu Bōi Purēyā?) (DOL-017) is a device made by Nintendo for the Nintendo GameCube which enables Game Boy, Game Boy Color, or Game Boy Advance cartridges (although Super Game Boy enhancements are ignored) to be played on a television. It was the last Game Boy-based add-on to a Nintendo console. It connects via the high speed parallel port at the bottom of the GameCube and requires use of a boot disc to access the hardware. Unlike devices such as Datel's Advance Game Port, the Game Boy Player does not use software emulation, but instead uses physical hardware nearly identical to that of a Game Boy Advance.
Design and features
The Game Boy Player is available in Indigo, Black, Spice, or Platinum in Japan; Black in North America and Europe  and Black and Indigo in Australia. A special Game Boy Player for the Panasonic Q (SH-GB10-H) was released because the Q's legs are oriented differently from the original GameCube's. All Game Boy Players have screws on the bottom to secure it to the bottom of the GameCube and also have an eject button on the right side of the unit for removing Game Boy Advance games. Game Boy and Game Boy Color games stick out from the unit, as with the Game Boy Advance and Game Boy Advance SP, so they can easily be taken out when the system is off or "Change Cartridge" has been selected from the menu.
The Game Boy Player allows users to set a timer from one to sixty minutes. Unlike some Nintendo GameCube accessories, including the Advance Game Port, Game Boy Player is not compatible with the Wii directly. The Wii lacks the hi-speed port of the GameCube into which the Game Boy Player fits; in addition, the Game Boy Player matches the GameCube's footprint. The Wii has a substantially different footprint, making direct compatibility too complicated to be included.
The Game Boy Player allows for control either through a GameCube controller or a Game Boy Advance or Game Boy Advance SP hooked up with a GameCube-Game Boy Advance Cable. When using a Game Boy Advance, the buttons are identical, but due to the GameCube controller's different layout, there are two different mappings players can use. Also, at least one GameCube controller must be plugged in for access to the Game Boy Player's internal menu, which can be accessed by pressing the Z button.
All controllers, Game Boy Advances, and Game Boy Advance SPs connected to the GameCube are recognized as the same player. This allows a sort of co-op mode for games that do not normally have it (this was most likely not intended by Nintendo). Furthermore, allowing for multiple controllers recognized as the same player allows for simpler and more comfortable play of single system multiplayer Game Boy Advance games, such as those found in Mario Party Advance, in lieu of up to four players holding one Game Boy Advance unit.
In order to link other hardware, players are required to connect to the extension port on the Game Boy Player with the proper cable, which depends on whether the game was designed for Game Boy Advance or a Game Boy system released before the Game Boy Advance.
|GameCube Button||GBA Equivalent - Map One||GBA Equivalent - Map Two|
|Control Stick/Directional Pad||Directional Pad||Directional Pad|
|A/B Buttons||A/B Buttons||A/B Buttons|
|L/R Buttons||L/R Buttons||Select|
|X/Y Buttons||Select||L/R Buttons|
|Start Button||Start Button||Start Button|
|C Stick||Not Used||Directional Pad|
|Z Button||Open Menu||Open Menu|
Map One is closer to the Game Boy Advance's normal layout, while Map Two makes it easier to play with one hand and also allows some SNES rereleases to control more like they may have with the SNES controller, as they often had the Y button mapped to L and the X button mapped to R.
Second Party Controllers
Japanese hardware manufacturer Hori created for the Japanese market a special digital-only controller designed for use with the Game Boy Player. The design of the controller is similar to the design of the SNES controller, but with the GameCube's face button layout. In addition, there is a Select button on the controller mapped to the Y button internally.
The menu has six options to choose from:
- Frame: changes the colored border around the game "screen" to one of twenty different patterns. Super Game Boy borders are not supported.
- Size: changes the size that the GBA screen takes up on the TV (Normal is about 80% and appears sharper on some sets, while Full enlarges the image to the left and right edges of the TV)
- Controller: switches between the two controller mappings
- Screen: controls a motion blur effect to reduce potential flicker from programming tricks designed for a GBA screen. Can be set to "sharp" (no blurring), "normal" (some blurring), or "soft" (more blurring).
- Timer: set an alarm for one to sixty minutes.
- Change Cartridge: stops the game so cartridges can be swapped safely, without having to turn the GameCube off (it is best to save game data before doing so).
The Game Boy Player supports the following:
- Game Boy Game Paks: compatible with most Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance games. Game Boy games can be played using the same selectable color palettes as on the Game Boy Color. Games with compatibility issues are listed below.
- E-Reader: compatible with the E-Reader accessory, as well as all Mario Party-e, Super Mario Advance 4-e, Animal Crossing-e, Classic games, and Pokémon Battle-e cards.
- Nintendo GameCube Game Boy Advance Cable: By plugging it into a GameCube controller port, a GBA or GBA SP can be used as a substitute for a GameCube controller.
- Wireless Adapter: the GBP fully supports the use of a Wireless Adapter, and will work with all games compatible with the accessory.
The instruction manual for the Game Boy Player specifically mentions that "A few original Game Boy Game Paks may have display or sound problems," and that "Motion sensor [...], rumble feature and infrared feature Game Paks will not work with the Game Boy Player." The following list concerns Game Boy Advance games and accessories that have compatibility issues, be they software or physical hardware, with the Game Boy Player:
- GBA Video: For copyright reasons, GBA Video cartridges are incompatible with the Game Boy Player. This measure was to prevent users from attaching the Game Boy Player to a VCR or DVD recorder and illegally copying the Game Boy Video material. The GBA Video carts detect the Game Boy Player and refuse to boot when running under it, giving an error message. Even if the carts were playable on the player (which they are through the use of flash carts and Action Replay), the resolution was greatly reduced for the GBA medium, causing pixelation and sound pops that a large screen with louder speakers would pick up.
- Action Replay/Gameshark: Most models of the Action Replay or Gameshark for the GBA or GBC are too wide to fit into the GBP's cartridge slot and often curl underneath the Game Boy Player system. One can overcome this problem by either modifying the device or simply through use of a ledge or propping up the system an inch. Despite these problems, most common Action Replay and Gameshark devices will work normally.
- Motion sensors: Kirby Tilt 'n' Tumble for Game Boy Color, and Yoshi's Universal Gravitation, WarioWare: Twisted!, and the Japan-only Koro Koro Puzzle Happy Panechu! for Game Boy Advance all use motion sensors. While they are all able to be displayed on-screen, they cannot be controlled properly due to the motion-sensing being designed with a Game Boy unit in mind and tilting the GameCube itself would be completely impractical. There are motion sensing patches for some of the ROM images of the Game Boy Advance games to allow for use on the Game Boy Player, but this method is not possible without a flash cart.
- Boktai cartridges: The game cartridges are shaped so that they do not fit into the Game Boy Player properly; they can not make electrical contact with the Game Boy Player. Since the games are equipped with light sensors, use on the Game Boy Player would be impractical, anyway.
- Game Boy Micro: A Game Boy Micro cannot be connected to the Game Boy Player via link cable. The equipment required for a link-up is a Game Boy Micro Link Cable and a Game Boy Micro Converter Connector, along with a Game Boy Micro and Game Boy Player. The Converter Connector is built in such a way that the protruding piece of plastic on top prevents it from being inserted into the Game Boy Player all the way. It is interesting to note that Nintendo explicitly mentions on their website the possibility of such a linkup: "[The Converter Connector] is required to link a Game Boy Micro to a Game Boy Advance system (including the Game Boy Player) for multiplayer action." However, by separating the two pieces of plastic on the end of the Converter Connector that connects to a Game Boy Advance, a linkup between a Game Boy Micro and Game Boy Player becomes possible. This, of course, voids any and all warranties on the Converter Connector.
- Games with Integrated Rumble for Game Boy Color: If inserted into the Game Boy Player, games like Pokémon Pinball will display the game properly and are completely playable, but there are two issues with these carts: First, the carts do not fit into the player as easily as most other carts do, and second, that the rumble feature is not accessible to the player when played on the Game Boy Player since the cart is intended to provide haptic feedback through the Game Pak itself, not a GameCube controller.
- Action Pad/Beat Pad - Sensitivity and time sync issues interfere with proper control of the 5 games in the DDR GB series.
- Pocket Music - The Game Boy Color version is incompatible with the Game Boy Player. Instead an error message is displayed saying that it is designed for use with the Game Boy Color only.
- Game Boy Camera - The Game Boy Camera does work on the Game Boy Player (looking at the album, stamping pictures, playing games, printing pictures, etc.), but the camera is at a fixed position, which makes it hard to take pictures.
The Game Boy Player added a rumble feature to certain Game Boy Advance games when played with a GameCube controller. Those games included:
- Drill Dozer
- Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga
- Pokémon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire
- Shikakui Atama wo Marukusuru Advance: Kokugo Sansu Rika Shakai
- Shikakui Atama wo Marukusuru Advance: Kanji Keisan
- Summon Night Craft Sword Monogatari: Hajimari no Ishi
- Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3
Reception was mainly positive - many review sites cited how Nintendo effectively increased the GameCube's library by hundreds of games with the Game Boy Player, something that was praised and even mocked as a cheap ploy by reviewers.
Advance Game Port
Datel's version of the Game Boy Player was released in 2003. This dongle connects to Memory Card Slot B and can be booted up with the included boot disc. Some models have code generators for built in cheat devices. The advantage is that no removal of plates on the bottom, nor tools, are needed to install it. Unlike the Game Boy Player, the Advance Game Port utilizes software emulation, causing numerous audio and video issues in many games.
Up until System Menu 3.0's release, and later the dawn of Wii homebrew, this was also the only way of running Game Boy Advance games on the Wii - as the Wii lacks the correct port, the Game Boy Player cannot be used. Before System Menu 3.0, the Wii allowed unofficial GameCube software, such as this and Action Replay. As the dongle plugs into the Memory Card Slot, it was fully compatible with the Wii. System Menu 3.0 prevented unofficial GameCube software from running, rendering this unusable. With the dawn of Wii homebrew, it is now possible to run the Game Boy lineup of games via an emulator.
- "IGN Game Boy Q&A". Retrieved 2007-03-06.
- "What Happened to Datel’s Advance Game Port". Retrieved 2007-07-24.
- "Nintendo.com - Game Boy Player Instruction Manual". Retrieved 2008-09-19.
- Nintendo - Customer Service Game Boy Advance - Game Boy Advance Video FAQ Retrieved 2011-11-05
- "PocketHeaven ROM Patches". Retrieved 2006-12-17.
- "IGN: Game Boy Player Preview". Retrieved 2008-09-19.
- "IGN.com Game Boy Player review". Retrieved 2008-09-19.
- "Firing Squad review of Game Boy Player". Retrieved 2008-09-19.