Gaming has been a part of my life since I could remember, starting in a cozy corner of Houston, Texas. Our family’s entertainment centerpiece was the iconic NES, a marvel I could only explore when the living room was mine alone. But then came 1989, and all of a sudden gaming became a personal adventure with a gift that changed everything – my first Game Boy, complete with Tetris. I still remember that unboxing. Thanks, Mom!

Game Boy, Game Boy, Game Boy

Game Boy DMG

Who said there’s such a thing as too much Game Boy DMG?

The Game Boy wasn’t just a device; it was my gateway to other worlds. Accompanying me to my mom’s office, classic adventures like Mario Land 2 and Link’s Awakening were perfect and would otherwise be a long day. The Sega Game Gear made a brief appearance in my life, but its voracious appetite for batteries meant it was more tethered than portable. Nothing beats the Game Boys’ 30 hours plus battery life.

Then came the Pokemon era, painting my world in shades of grey – from the Game Boy Pocket through with my trusty Blastoise. The transition to the Game Boy Advance felt like a quantum leap, with SNES games in my pocket with the original horizontal model and Sapphire’s world to explore with the innovative front lid screen of the Game Boy Advance SP.

Game Boy Advance SP

What about some GBA SP?

I played some DS Pokemon during Gen 4 ability to play on the Wii. After that, I went without a game machine for a while. The release of Pokemon Go in 2016 reignited my passion for handheld gaming once again, leading me to pick up a New 3DS XL and a deep dive into its versatile gaming capabilities.

The Quest for Nostalgia

A few Nintendo 3DS models

A few Nintendo 3DS models

Despite the allure of modern devices like the Switch, I yearned for the authenticity of classic consoles. This longing led me to explore screen mods and custom builds, like the Freeplay Zero that would put at the time a Raspberry Pi Zero in a Game Boy Advance AGB model shell. However, they never fully recaptured the magic of the originals for me. I explored Game Boy modding after that experience.

The world of handheld modding evolved rapidly, with innovations like the FPGA hardware clone like the Analogue Pocket and console-izing the Game Boy Advance. Chinese consoles even went mainstream. My desire to restore my childhood collection happened right when we were all bored and stuck at home and certain rules I once lived by went out the door during that time. I had to purge a few times to make sure my collection didn’t get too out of hand.

I Choose You, Miyoo

Despite the nostalgia, practicality often guides my choices most of the time now. The Miyoo Mini has become my go-to, balancing cost, convenience, and the joy of gaming. Being able to save on an instance, and the Game Boy theme shell really sells it to me to grab it on the go. I keep my Game Boys mostly as shelf or drawer princesses now.

What’s your favorite memory with the Game Boy? What model Game Boy do you swear by or you think it’s the best? Join the conversation in Retro Handheld’s Discord!

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