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Introduction

The Nintendo Game Boy was originally released in 1989. While it wasn’t the first handheld game console to hit the market, it popularized the category and kickstarted the portable gaming industry.

This teardown is not a repair guide. To repair your Game Boy, use our service manual.

  1. The Nintendo Game Boy was initially released in Japan on April 21, 1989, followed by a launch in North America three months later on July 31, and in Europe over a year later. This would be the start of a handheld gaming revolution. Tech Specs:
    • The Nintendo Game Boy was initially released in Japan on April 21, 1989, followed by a launch in North America three months later on July 31, and in Europe over a year later. This would be the start of a handheld gaming revolution.

    • Tech Specs:

    • 4.19 MHz 8-bit processor

    • 8 KB of RAM

    • 2.6" 160x144 LCD display

  2. Denoted by model number DMG-01 (which stands for Dot Matrix Game), the Game Boy can be powered by either four AA batteries or an AC power adapter, the latter of which has unsurprisingly disappeared somewhere into the clutter abyss. Despite the one model number, the Game Boy came in a handful of different models over the years with subtle differences to the circuitry. If you're wondering, that 800 number does still call Nintendo's support line, just in case you ever need some help with your retro handheld.
    • Denoted by model number DMG-01 (which stands for Dot Matrix Game), the Game Boy can be powered by either four AA batteries or an AC power adapter, the latter of which has unsurprisingly disappeared somewhere into the clutter abyss.

    • Despite the one model number, the Game Boy came in a handful of different models over the years with subtle differences to the circuitry.

    • If you're wondering, that 800 number does still call Nintendo's support line, just in case you ever need some help with your retro handheld.

    • The case is held together by six tri-point Y1 screws. Even back in 1989, Nintendo thought traditional screws might be too easy for us tinkerers. Fortunately, our Mako Driver Kit comes with the necessary bit.

    • Nintendo was at least nice enough to include an indentation for our driver to nicely fit into within the battery compartment.

  3. We slowly separate the two halves of the outer shell to reveal a ribbon cable booby trap! Luckily, this ribbon cable is way more difficult to damage than those you'll find in newer devices. A firm grab and pull of the ribbon cable is all that stands between complete front and back separation. A firm grab and pull of the ribbon cable is all that stands between complete front and back separation.
    • We slowly separate the two halves of the outer shell to reveal a ribbon cable booby trap! Luckily, this ribbon cable is way more difficult to damage than those you'll find in newer devices.

    • A firm grab and pull of the ribbon cable is all that stands between complete front and back separation.

  4. Once we're inside, it's all standard Phillips #1 screws from here on out. The display's circuit board is held down with ten of them.
    • Once we're inside, it's all standard Phillips #1 screws from here on out. The display's circuit board is held down with ten of them.

    • Using an Opening Tool, we slowly start prying from the top, as the display and circuit board are ever-so-slightly glued to the case.

  5. The LCD display is attached to the circuit board with clips and couple of screws. Unfortunately, the display's cable is soldered to the board. The speaker's two wires are also soldered to the circuit board. The speaker's two wires are also soldered to the circuit board.
    • The LCD display is attached to the circuit board with clips and couple of screws. Unfortunately, the display's cable is soldered to the board.

    • The speaker's two wires are also soldered to the circuit board.

  6. The circuit boards inside the rear case are much easier to remove, with only four screws and no adhesive holding it down! The mainboard, power board, and jack board are connected together and come out all at once. As with the display and speaker wires, the headphone jack and other ports are all soldered to the boards.
    • The circuit boards inside the rear case are much easier to remove, with only four screws and no adhesive holding it down!

    • The mainboard, power board, and jack board are connected together and come out all at once.

    • As with the display and speaker wires, the headphone jack and other ports are all soldered to the boards.

  7. Enhance! Here's what's on the main board of our specific model:
    • Enhance! Here's what's on the main board of our specific model:

    • Sharp LR35902 4.19 Mhz CPU

    • LSI Logic LH5264N4T 8 KB VRAM

    • LSI Logic LH5264N4T 8 KB WRAM

    • Sharp IR3R40 amplifier

  8. We hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane!
    • We hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane!

    • Now if you'll excuse us, we're going to put this thing back together and enjoy some Super Mario Land 2.

One Comment

We truly have come a long way =) Thanks for the share.

Justin Adams - Reply

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