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Let's talk the logistics a Gameboy Classic Edition

Nairume

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With all the discussion of a possible N64 Classic Edition in coming years, perhaps we should discuss the possibility of a Gameboy Classic edition. As it stands, an absurdly long lifespan that began in the late 80's and ended in the early 2000's and not only saw revisions, but a revision with its own separate library, means that a Gameboy Classic isn't quite the easy consideration as the NES, SNES, or even a hypothetical N64 Classic. There's a lot of different ways Nintendo could take this thing, both in the sense of what it would look like, what it is capable of doing, and in what games are included.

The Gameboys



The Iconic Brick Itself

Released in 1989, the legendary grey brick took the world by storm with Tetris as a pack in and a respectable first year of releases that included a number of solid original titles and even some decent console downports.


The original Gameboy Mini

1996 saw the release of the Gameboy Pocket, the first of several revisions to the venerable handheld. Featuring a crisper screen that cut down on the original model's ghosting issues and a drastically lower power requirement, the Pocket was a solid revision to the Gameboy that made it even more portable.



Let there be backlight

There's little to say here. This updated Gameboy Pocket with a backlight released exclusively in Japan in 1998.



The Final Form

Hitting roughly in time for the western explosion of Pokemon, this updated Gameboy, featuring beefier internals, hit stores in 1998. It, of course, added the long awaited feature of Color. Not only would it add limited colors to existing Gameboy games (and even included hidden color schemes for specific original Gameboy games) but it also saw the launch of an entirely separate line of Gameboy Color games. Some of these games could still be played on earlier gameboy models (as noted by retaining the classic gameboy cartridge shape) but others (which had their own cartridge shape) played exclusively on the Color.

The question here, of course, is which line would Nintendo hypothetically go with? The Original is obviously the most iconic, and its existing shell would easily be able to hold the innards that make up the existing NES and SNES Classics. The Pocket lives up to its name by being the most portable version of the system. Likewise, the Color and the Light both retain that increased portability over the original, but the Color also represents a point where a lot of people either got back into the Gameboy due to the partial generation reset and others got back into it because of its proximity to Pokemon. That said, going with those versions of the Gameboy might require more work designing the internals to fit even smaller shells.

The Internals

That all is just the shell. The actual parts to this thing present further questions. Obviously, the Gameboy being a self contained device means cutting down on some parts. There would be no need for separate controllers, cutting down on either the need to sell additional controlers (ala the NES Classic) or bundle multiple (ala the SNES Classic). Likewise, there'd be no need to include a TV out, eliminating a port and also the need to bundle an HDMI cable. The power jack could clearly just be replaced with the same USB port that already powers the existing Classic consoles, so that's no change.

That said, despite those considerations being removed, a GB Classic would require things that weren't needed in the console Classics. Does it include an internal rechargeable battery, taking up precious space and adding to the cost? Or do we see a return to AA/AAA batteries being used to power things. What kind of screens does it use? Do we return to the monochrome screens of the original GB, the Pocket, and the Light or do we get Color? Do they include a backlight? How do they handle multiplayer? Do they make a proprietary cable that handles it, find a way to use USB, or just leave it out entirely? Also, of course, how do they handle getting back to the emulation menu? The NES and SNES Classics both relied on the reset button, which the Gameboy lacks in all of its forms. A button combination could be considered, but that would then introduce the issue of having to figure out what a safe combination would be (as some GB games do tie certain things, including reseting and bringing up specific menus, to specific button combos). Likewise, a button could be added, but that would then obviously change the look of the system (which they seemed to want to avoid, given the lack of a menu button being added to the NES and SNES controllers).

These considerations will drastically change how much it costs to make these things and, ultimately, how much it would cost to the public. The original Gameboy launched at $90, while the Color launched at $70. Releasing something more expensive than either would be really unfortunate.

Of course, this also assumes that a GB Classic would be an actual portable. There is always a possibility that Nintendo does the inexplicable thing of making it another TV box in order to keep costs down.

The Games
As noted before, the Gameboy Color introduced an entirely separate line of Gameboy Color exclusives, ballooning up the list of possible games and also introducing an issue where early GB titles start looking even more inferior to later GB Color games. Seeing as how they can easily field a selection of 20-30 games either way, do they ultimately limit the game list to just original black & white Gameboy games, or do we see games from all across the gameboy's long lifespan?

At the least, first party games seem pretty easy to sort out, here. Most of Nintendo's iconic/important GB games were released for the original Gameboy and also all represent a good assortment of their franchises. There are also few good Gameboy Color first party titles that could/should make it in, but nothing that would be too damning if they were not present.

Third parties have a similar situation. With just original Gameboy games in consideration, Square, Konami, and Capcom, the three third parties that were present on both the NES and SNES Classics, all have viable original GB titles that represent the franchises they all put on those consoles. Technos and Tecmo, two publishers that were present on the NES Classic but not the SNES Classic, have viable options for the GB. Namco, the remaining third party present for one but not the other, would more likely need Gameboy Color games as an option in order to not resort to just reusing the same arcade games that were present on the NES.

Of course, we also have two giant elephants in the room, both of which were critical to the original and revived success of the Gameboy: Tetris and Pokemon. Tetris is perhaps the most obvious out right now. Nintendo still no longer sells the Gameboy version of Tetris on the eShop. Tetris and Tetris Attack were both missing from the NES and SNES Classics, hinting that the license is still off the table at the moment. It's really unfortunate, because more than any game missing from the NES and SNES Classics, Tetris being absent from a GB Classic would mean a major part of the GB's history is missing.

Pokemon represents a more complicated issue. While Nintendo clearly owns enough of Pokemon to be in no risk of ever losing the franchise, the Pokemon Company being a separate entity that is capable of independently deciding how Pokemon is handled does make the inclusion of Pokemon games a little more complicated than "It's a Nintendo franchise, of course it'll be there." Furthermore, it also introduces the question of which games due to how they were released. The spinoffs represent an easy way in, as they were all stand-alone games, but clearly it'd be the main games that people would want out of these things. Even looking over the question of whether or not Gen 1 or Gen 2 would be included (Gen 1 is the correct answer), you now have the question of how to handle the multiple versions of the games. There's no way Nintendo or TPC would just put all three/four versions of each generation on the system. So do they pick just one game to represent the entire generation (Yellow for Gen 1 and Crystal for Gen 2?) or perhaps do they turn it into a gacha deal where the system comes with a random Pokemon game? Do they keep the multiplayer stuff intact in that case, or are players expected to play through the games without being able to actually 100% them?

____________________________________________________________________


With all that said, what do you all expect out of a Gameboy Classic?

Personally, my guess would be a Gameboy Classic that covers just Original Gameboy games and uses an Original Gameboy shell (perhaps even using the original molds) with a backlit screen that can be toggled between replicating the original GB or GB Pocket's visual styles.

Balloon Kid
Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge or Castlevania Legends or Kid Dracula
Donkey Kong '94
Final Fantasy Adventure (giving a double representation for both Final Fantasy and Mana)
Gargoyle's Quest
Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters
Kirby's Block Ball
Kirby's Dreamland
Kirby's Dreamland 2
Kirby Pinball Land
Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
Mario's Picross
Mega Man 4 or 5
Metroid 2
Operation C
Super Mario Land
Super Mario Land 2
Wario Land
Wario Land 2
Wario Land 3

Special surprise: fully localized The Frog for Whom the Bell Tolls
 

Intel_89

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Should be at least as decent as the GB Boy Colour, hopefully they'll stick to a single colour though otherwise I'm screwed.
 

Nairume

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Jan 19, 2010
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I think you're missing Pokemon Red/Blue and Tetris on that list.
I covered the potential issues with both of those. Unless things change between now and whenever this thing would come out, Tetris is likely off the table for now. Pokemon also represents a weird logistical issue that they might not be willing to make.
 

Canucked

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Apr 1, 2014
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First of all, I'm in.

Second of all, give it to me however, I just want it.

Also, Megaman 5, not 4.

Also, donkey long land was interesting. I'd want that too:
 

Zalman

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I think Game Boy Classic would include Game Boy Color as Nintendo sees them as one generation. Form factor wise they are also very similar, so it makes total sense to include both. I could even see them release it in multiple colors. Backlight for the screen as well as a charger are both necessary, of course.

When it comes to the games, here are some ideas:

Donkey Kong '94
Dragon Warrior 3
Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters
Kirby's Dream Land 1 and 2
Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening + Oracle of Seasons/Ages
Mega Man V
Metal Gear: Ghost Babel
Pokémon Yellow
Pokémon Crystal
Pokémon Pinball
Super Mario Bros. Deluxe
Super Mario Land 1 and 2
Tetris
Wario Land 1, 2 and 3

(I made this list a while ago.)
 

sotojuan

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Jul 10, 2017
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IMO they should combine it with GBA.

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Pokemon might be weird but I can see it happening. I guess I'd rather play Yellow on the 3SD with Pokebank support.
 

hikarutilmitt

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GBC form factor
USB-C for charging AND as a crossover cable for multiplayer
backlight color LCD
power and "reset" button up top

Gimme that and, say, Shantae, Castlevania II, the Mario/DK games, Zelda and whatever else.

I'd buy it.
 

CrashPrime

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Nintendo wouldn't be able to get the price down enough to justify its existance. The reason 3DS/2DS can exist is because they sell software.

A one off needs a higher margin, the very best you could hope for would be a GB Boy Colour 2.0 with the wrong aspect but better buttons.

The Pi Zero proves there are certainly single board PC's that can fit in a case. The screen technology just isn't being made to accommodate this.

Game Boy SP AGS-101 + Everdrive is your option for something like this. Don't count on Nintendo for this even in the remote future. About $150.

If you are baller, then Game Boy Color shell (replacement because you need to mod it up), doner console, and the AGS-101 BennVenn adapter. $300 all in on that setup tho.
 

LegendofLex

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Aug 21, 2013
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My ideal Game Boy Classic:

- Includes GB and GBC games
- Has a full-color backlit screen
- Has a rechargeable battery
- Has HDMI output and functions like a Super Game Boy when connected to TV
- Has one hookup for Nintendo Classic Controllers to facilitate TV play
- Includes Bluetooth functionality to facilitate Link Cable multiplayer; works with 3DS VC versions of Pokemon games
- Includes Tetris DX
- Includes Pokemon Red/Blue and Gold/Silver (pick which version when launching; can only preserve one save file per system)

If this isn't tenable, ditch Tetris + Pokemon + wireless play and do an all-in-one with GBA games.
 

Dr. Zoidberg

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Far more likely than an N64 mini, IMO. Include a bunch of games, a backlit screen, and good battery life and this would sell pretty well. Tetris or bust, though. It needs to be front and center on all marketing.
 

Zophar

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Form factor comparable to the GBA SP without the clamshell. That's what I'd expect.
 

astrogamer

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IMO they should combine it with GBA.

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Pokemon might be weird but I can see it happening. I guess I'd rather play Yellow on the 3SD with Pokebank support.
That's like saying they should have released a system that supports the NES, SNES and N64. A lot of games just get missed in that situation
 

Tiktaalik

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If Nintendo wanted to go all in on the nostalgia they could go with the GB Pocket form factor and make it black and white, but it makes sense to lump the GB and GB Color together, so that GB Color games can be included, and so the GB Color type of form factor makes the most sense.

For playability sake I think the product has got to be backlit with GBA SP+ quality backlighting, even though none of the GameBoys ever had such a backlit screen.

Pokemon has got to be included in this product and a major part of the gameplay of Pokemon is trading, so a link cable has got to be included in the product.

I'd be much more excited about a new Gameboy with a high quality backlit screen than I was for the NES and SNES Classic (and I was pretty excited about those).

The underplayed hidden gem Mole Mania is a must include game.
 

NoKisum

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If they can essentially make the GB Classic a backlit Game Boy Color with rechargeable batteries, wireless connectivity, and HDMI output, I'm all in. I'm not gonna mention too many games since I don't want to turn this into a list war, but at least the Pokémon games, Tetris DX (with its original music restored), Zelda Oracles, and Dragon Quest ports should be on there by default.
 

Schucky Ducky

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I could see Tetris not getting on there due to the licensing issues associated with it, but no way they don't get any Pokemon game on there. I think they will put both Red and Blue on there and players could choose to play either version. I wonder if they would bring back the link cable or if multiplayer would be done via a wireless connection.
 

bennywhatever

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Feb 15, 2014
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I think of all Nintendo consoles, this one needs a Classic the most since everyone's save batteries are dying.

OP's idea for a localized For Frog the Bell Tolls is amaaaaaaaaaazing.
Also, Megaman V >>>> all other GB Megaman games
 

Jamix012

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Jun 6, 2012
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It wouldn't entirely surprise me if this became another joint with Apple. Gameboy classic adapter, plugs onto your iPhone, makes it look like a gameboy and gives it 20-30 games.
 

MattKeil

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I think a GBA Classic makes more sense, but Nintendo may be keeping that in VC territory.
 

Mechanized

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A Gameboy classic the size of a modern smartphone and just as thin with a razor sharp display. OMG I want it so bad.
 

Seth Enosh

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Won’t a backlight kill battery life? The original game boy had great battery life off just AA. It also could be played outdoors without the sun washing everything out.

I think my ideal version of this would have TV out. A lot of the great gameboy games are already on VC but we’ve never got a way to play them on TV with the Super Gameboy enhancements officially.
 

broncobuster

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Apr 19, 2014
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Trying to find a balance between screen and overall device size will be tricky. I don't know how 2 inch screens are received in 2018. Either way, it should have some form of HDMI out. USB-C or mini/micro-hdmi.

Two recent tiny Game Boy inspired handhelds,

Bittboy (on the right)

Arduboy.
 

Mr-Joker

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Regarding the main series Pokémon games being including the GameBoy Classic needs to do the following;

-Include the option of trading and battling, meaning a link cable has to be either included or sold separately. Both will bump up cost for Nintendo and the consumer.

-To be compatible with Pokémon Bank so the Pokémon can be transferred over into the modern main series games.

So I wouldn't get your hopes up high as it's very likely that the Pokémon games will be omitted in the listing.
 

Megatron

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Feb 22, 2012
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I just hope they save GBA for a separate Classic device.


There will never be a gba classic. If you want those games its on this or nothing.

I'm not sure how well this would hold up. Honestly I think they should focus on gbc and gba games. Nobody wants to play the gameboy castlevania's and mega mans. Throw in the absolute must haves of the non color games like tetris, and skip the rest. Or maybe colorize them as the special surprise.

Speaking of the special surprise, I love how Nintendo did it once and now everyone expects it again on all future classic systems. Lol.
 

panama chief

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Gameboy pocket Color size
Colored in Original Gameboy non transparent grey
Uses GB SP final backlit screen.

45 games. All I really want is DK 94, Zelda, and both Kirby & Pokémon pinball games.
 
Apr 27, 2017
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Nobody blinked at $80 for SNES classic so I think $100 would be accepted, maybe even $120.

Hardware would basically be a gameboy color with a rechargeable battery, maybe backlight.

Tetris
Tetris Attack
Mario Land 1+2+3
Zelda LA Deluxe
Zelda Oracles
Metroid 2
Picross 2
Mole Mania
Pokemon Red and Blue
Final Fantasy adventure
final Fantasy Legend II & III
Donkey Kong
Kirbys Dream Land 1+2
Mario Golf

Thats what, 20 games? There were some decent ports too which could be thrown in. This would sell out. A GBA classic would be awesome too.
 

Nairume

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Nobody blinked at $80 for SNES classic so I think $100 would be accepted, maybe even $120.
The SNES launched at $200, so $80 for the SNES Classic was never really going to turn that many heads.

A GB Classic being more expensive than the original isn't a great look.
 

Megatron

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The SNES launched at $200, so $80 for the SNES Classic was never really going to turn that many heads.

A GB Classic being more expensive than the original isn't a great look.


It depends what they add, but I would hope they dont go over $80 for this. Personally I dont see myself wanting this, but we will see.
 

redcrayon

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Definitely Mega Man V. One of the best in the whole wider MM series and on the GB.

Link's Awakening and DK '94 would round out my top three, but I've also got soft spots for Gargoyle's Quest, Bionic Commando and Castlevania II: Belmont's revenge.
 

KojiKnight

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Why are people assuming a Game Boy classic would actually be a portable? I think it's just as likely, if not more so that they release a "Super Game Boy Classic". Much less logistical issues with parts and what not. Leave it to modders to take that shrunk down board and stick it into a gameboy body with a screen.
 

Rygar 8 Bit

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got gargoyles quest some castlevania some contra solid list the only thing i would add would be either pokemon red or blue and tetris
 

lestar

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-DMG Gameboy style with avegare smartphone size
-IPS screen with 1:1 aspect ratio and dot matrix simulation
-Classic green shades colors, black&white and GBC de-saturated and real colors modes
-Wireless and usb-link cable for local multiplayer
-HDMI port
-Super gameboy mode when play it in TV
-Hub to connect SNES Mini controllers to play in TV
-USB connector por batery charge
-Cart slot work with retail cartridges (very unlikely because nintendo)
 

Nairume

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Why are people assuming a Game Boy classic would actually be a portable? I think it's just as likely, if not more so that they release a "Super Game Boy Classic". Much less logistical issues with parts and what not. Leave it to modders to take that shrunk down board and stick it into a gameboy body with a screen.
That's a possibility I considered in the OP, too.

Personally, I think they wouldn't bother if they could only just do it as a TV box, but as we are seeing here, the logistics for an actual portable GB Classic would be significantly more complicated than the alternative.

Nintendo released Tetris GB on the 3DS VC just fine. I don't see any issues for that one.
They've since removed it from sale once Ubisoft signed a new license for the series. You can only download Tetris GB on a 3DS if you already bought it before it was delisted.
 

Megatron

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Why are people assuming a Game Boy classic would actually be a portable? I think it's just as likely, if not more so that they release a "Super Game Boy Classic". Much less logistical issues with parts and what not. Leave it to modders to take that shrunk down board and stick it into a gameboy body with a screen.


It has to be a portable. It completely kills the spirit of the thing if its not. But it will also hook up to a tv. Nintendo wants to oreserve the original experience as much as they can, as evidenced by the tiny japanese famicom controllers (made tiny so they could still fit in the unit.
 

frankie_baby

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How about they sell different colours of system to encourage people to buy more, each one shipping with a different colour version of pokemon
 

C.Mongler

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My ideal GB/C Classic situation:

-Combines GB and GBC library. IMO a lot of classic Gameboy titles lack a lot of depth and length that we don't see until late GB or GBC. Games like Mario Land(s), Kirby, and DK Land can be beat in a couple hours or even minutes if you're seasoned enough. That said I admittedly have nostalgia goggles more for GBC so I'm probably biased here.
-Modeled after the GB Pocket/GBC, or multiple models folks can choose from. I love the big boy, don't get me wrong, he's just not super portable when compared with later revisions.
-Portable, with a backlit LCD screen (duh). Having a dot matrix mode similar to the CRT filter of the SNES Classic would be a plus.
-Top of the unit would have a micro-USB port for charging/power, and an HDMI port for video out
-Bottom/side would have a single port to allow you to use any classic (Wii, NES, SNES) controller in big screen or portable mode.
-HDMI out would allow you to use frames similar to the Super Gameboy.
-Wireless link cable ability.
-MSRP of $100-$150, depending on if they stick with 30 games or up it to more.
 

lestar

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Feb 24, 2014
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Screen would be the biggest problem, especially considering that I doubt anyone makes screens in that aspect ratio any more.

It'd not have to be the exact aspect ratio, physically speaking. It would be a bigger screen with a frame cover to show only the desire aspect ratio, like the AGS101 GBC mod https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-J_VEFiYR_M, it uses a GBA AGS-101 backlit LCD that only display the GBC aspect ratio pixels



Nintendo has do it before with the 2DS, using a single big LCD