What’s good, fellow Game Boy brickers (DIY enthusiasts)? I, like you, have a weird fixation on ruining my devices with soldering irons and stripped screws. You and I both engage in this with the implied promise that the device we’re working on will come out much better than it was before.

And I, like you, after weeks of waiting for expensive hunks of plastic from China to come in, spending sometimes hours of time and gallons of blood sweat, and isopropyl alcohol, to ultimately look at the finished product and went, “Well. I don’t think that was worth the effort.” and ultimately left to sulk in your own hubris.

Game Boy Color AMOLED mod inner casing


For me, this was the Game Boy Color AMOLED mod. After scouring Reddit and advice on other screen mods for the console, I could tell you with certainty that it’s definitely not a “me” problem. If you’re thinking about doing this mod or simply prefer me crafting articles over attending therapy, you’ve come to the right place.

This is a dive into the shortcomings of this mod, and all GBC LCD mods by extension, why they happen, and how to fix them so that you can get something close to OEM and better. I am your unhinged guy Joe and this is Modding the Mod: GBC AMOLED

Totally Skippable Context

Game Boy Color OLED with Pocket and Advance SP

Game Boy Color OLED with Pocket and Advance SP

Recently, the YouTube community has been buzzing about this mod, praising it as one of the most accessible, effective, and cost-effective ways to enhance the Game Boy Color screen. For $60 you will get yourself a pre-laminated screen, a logic board, a couple of wires to solder, a pretty bad pre-cut shell, and very bad rubber membranes and buttons. Assembling this console is fairly easy and is beginner friendly, and only requires the ability to solder and the will to live. For a more in-depth set of instructions check out Andrews’s article on it here.

GBC OLED Screen Kit

Getting up and going seems effortless, and the screen, along with its functionality, is truly incredible.  Chances are you are reading this on a phone with an AMOLED display. So pull up some Game Boy Color screenshots online and that is basically what you’re going to see. I can say with certainty that the screen displays colors accurately and shows no visible signs of tearing, unlike older screen mods.

Jamie, pull up that screenshot on your AMOLED phone.

Fun fact: Did you know that pressing the directions on the D-pad while booting up an original Game Boy game on a GBC or GBA will change the two-tone colors? Honestly, I love the sepia you get from D-pad up.

Unexpected Extra Features

Color differences between AMOLED mod and OG GBC

Left: Glorious Sepia, Right: Errrgh… Green

The onscreen display has a touch screen where if you long press it brings up a menu to modify the alignment, set colors, or toggle interframe blending. Interframe blending adds ghosting back to games in order to use transparency effects properly. It also makes everything look smeary and ghosted enough to make you nostalgic for simpler times when no one cared about Game Boy screen mods.

But now that we do, all these new shells and buttons can cause problems of their own. Given that the quality control varies between 1×1 OEM quality and poorly drawing a Game Boy shell from memory with your eyes closed. They can be pretty bad, and the one the screen mod comes with is pretty bad.

The Shell is Pretty Bad

But, not unsavable. What do I mean? It looks okay, it fits everything okay, and when I go to play it -…Oh no. So yeah, the buttons and D-pad bottom out very easily. This is uncomfortable, unacceptable, and I’m calling my lawyer. He said, “Aren’t you too old for Game Boys?”. I fired him. Anyways, what’s happening here is a combination of things. However, it mostly has to do with the screw post length of the shell itself which prevents the motherboard from making enough contact with the buttons to seat them properly.

Atomic Purple GBC AMOLED mod case

Color lookin cute though.

Honestly, this is an easy fix, And you just need to file down the pegs a very small amount. By small, I mean not even a millimeter. Or honestly…You can just buy a different shell. More on that later.

Fitting the GBC AMOLED mod casing

Pretty much all of this group pegs by the D-pad and button holes.

This is for if you are using the shell that came with the screen. Otherwise, even after that arises another issue: The rubber membranes and buttons are even worse.

The Rubber Membranes and Buttons Are Terrible

When it comes to the Game Boy Color, everyone has their preferences regarding the buttons. Some people prefer OEM and use that as much as possible, others prefer to buy an entirely new set, and others will want to use a mixture of the two IE: OEM membranes + new buttons.

In the case of this mod, the membranes that the kit comes with are just simply not deep enough to have anything that feels close to the actuation of a real Game Boy Color, and the smaller peg on the D-pad does not help. This is bad not only when it causes the buttons to bottom out, but also hinders the ability to play most games. It’s truly the worst. I called my lawyer back but he blocked me.

You CAN just use the original membranes and rubber membranes. But, there are also solutions that give you the extra dopamine rush that comes with buying something. More on that when I talk about Funnyplaying IPS V5 pre-cut shells.

Perfecting the GBC AMOLED

“The stage is set, we stand between an already +$100 investment and a good, working Game Boy Color. I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of modders fails when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship. But it is not this day! An hour of power shorts and shattered plastic, when the age of mods comes crashing down, but it is not this day! This day, we mod (or swipe our credit cards)! By all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you stand, Modders of the Web!

For Frodo.”

– Aragorn, probably.

Alright, let’s get right to it, here are some ways you can counteract this shell and button bupkis and have a near-perfect/OEM experience.

Method 1: Keeping the Original Shell

I paid for this mod twice because of journalistic integrity, and because the screen adheres to the shell. So you, like me, wanted to just buy the dumb kit and build it, but then you realized that you really just paid an extra $5 in a disappointment surcharge. As stated above, just file some of the screw pegs and use the OEM buttons and rubber membranes. Boom. Done.

Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX on Game Boy Color AMOLED

This picture still gives me a dopamine rush.

The end product has a nice, atomic purple shell and plays pretty good. Diagonals can be iffy, but a good 95% of the GBC library plays like a dream, and you’ll probably be happy. But I’m not happy. So I bought the mod again.

Method 2: The Hispeedido Shell

While this shell is fitted for the mod, it’s not unique. It’s actually a copy of the Funnyplaying shell for the Q5-type screen (the most current IPS mod) and that’s it. You can literally buy a tried and true GBC shell AND better buttons and membranes. Funnyplaying membranes are actually better than OEM by having more slack and contact with the logic board, so diagonals are MUCH easier to hit. Honestly, this method is perfect to me and is a no-brainer in my recommendation. 


Will power: 0

Credit cards: 1

Final Thoughts

Game Boy Color AMOLED next to OG GBC

Where we started and now we’re here, feat. The BennVenn AGS-101 modded Game Boy. It looks a lot worse in person than it does in pictures. We literally had to mutilate all of the screw posts and tape the damn thing shut for it to function.

I’ve been doing these screen mods for a…long time (GBC with AGS-101 here) and honestly no two builds are the same and vary depending on how clean your OEM parts are, how well you build it, your soldering technique, and how your Game Boy is feeling that day.

Trips and Ticks

Here are some tips I’ve picked up throughout the years:

  1. Don’t over-tighten the screws: You might be tempted to make your Game Boy as tight as possible to avoid button rattle. But believe it or not, you are better off actually leaving your screws a little loose. The D-Pad is significantly more responsive if you tighten your screws the bare minimum, and can make or break diagonals. I suggest tightening the screws until you get resistance, Then loosen it about 180 degrees. I would just do this for all of your screws but mostly the Phillips head ones on the board.
  2. Stay OEM as much as you can: Funnyplaying and eXtremeRate products are great, but none of them quite have the Nintendo feel to them. The more components that are original, The more likely it is to perform like the original. Modifying your shell can suck, but it might be worth it if you are a masochist.
  3. Don’t be afraid of soldering: The Game Boy Color is literally a baby’s first electronics mod and serves as a great learning method for super mature and adult techniques like melting metal. Make sure to have Kapton tape and flux fluid on hand.
  4. You aren’t missing out if you already have a modded Game Boy Advance: a function pretty much the same, except for a slightly smaller viewing window. Honestly, the buttons feel better to me anyway.


  5. The best Game Boy you can own is the one you already have: Don’t get to caught up on these mods, if you already have a modded Game Boy, a new shinier OLED one won’t fill the void in your life. Enjoy what you have, or sell it on our Discord!

Bonus Video: Hell

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