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Hatsune Mike
Oct 9, 2013



I've recently bought and tried a bunch of Game Boy Color and co. backlight / IPS kits. Most have been disappointing, but there are a few gems.

HOT SUMMARY OF WHAT YOU SHOULD GET:
Game Boy: https://retrogamerepairshop.com/col...=32294901547082
Game Boy Pocket: https://retrogamerepairshop.com/col...=32103409221706
Game Boy Color: Nothing I would recommend.

Disclaimer: I'm going to use words like "turd" in these little reviews. I want to be clear that I respect the effort and engineering that went in to some of these kits. However, I am still exasperated at paying for rather expensive kits that leave a lot to be desired. This hyperbolic language is a reflection of that.

Game Boy Pocket
Game Boy Pocket is my favorite, in terms of overall aesthetic and design. I'm going to write about it first.

The ancient mods for the original Game Boy Pocket screens

I can't recommend these any more. Unlike GBC, Game Boy Pocket (MGB) and Game Boy Original (DMG) have great options. These were a pain to install, and I will not miss them. Nor the stupid word "bivert".

GBP RetroModding TFT kit: Unsure, Not looking great

This one uses a teeny tiny TFT screen seen in some of the GBC kits. The GB Pocket has a slightly larger LCD than the DMG, which has one that is barely larger than the GBC. So, to see this itty bitty screen installed in a pocket looks ridiculous.

I should mention a small positive, which is that it apparently requires no internal plastic slicing.

I don't have this one and I'm not wasting my dubloons on it, so I can not comment on its actual performance.

FunnyPlaying IPS kit: Fantastic

This kit is a ray of light in a mostly lovely storm.
* very high DPI LCD that fits rather nicely in the GB Pocket shell
* slightly larger (!) LCD; optional custom bezel fitted to this size is included
* no tearing! Either directly driven or double-buffered, locked to vsync. Excellent update
* Multiple palettes offered, and a charming (but optional) LCD grid simulation.
* The contrast knob works, and is used to control backlight intensity.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDiH-Ckao7M

This one was such a nice surprise. I have had a pile of Game Boy Pockets I bought back in my old modding days, and have held on to hoping to one day replace their broken screens. this is a very nice option.

Game Boy DMG

The ancient mods for the original Game Boy screens

See above in the Pocket section. We had a good run, but we have properly moved past this. Not recommended any more.

FunnyPlaying IPS kit: Probably Fantastic

I don't have this kit, but it uses the same module as the GB Pocket along with a replacement front PCB. I expect the performance is the same as the Pocket's, which is a great thing.

Handheld Legend RIPS kit: Pending

Principally similar to the FunnyPlaying IPS kit. However, the driver is different, and the LCD is the portrait one used in the GBC and GBA mods. I'm weary, fearing tearing and that sort of thing. If I get to use one, I will update.

Game Boy Color

GBA SP-transplanted frontlight: Mediocre
Low contrast, poor color spectrum. However, the LCD itself behaves properly, without tearing or other oddball stuff. Not recommended these days, I guess.

New frontlight kits: Turd
The few of these I've seen were obviously cheaper and lower quality than the old SP one. Big grainy dot pattern all over instead of precisely spaced lines. Can't recommend, even with LOCA.

GBC McWill kit: Turd

This is the first one I got and the one that still is the worst. Would literally rather use the original LCD.
* Kit that replaces original LCD with a new LCD and driver board.
* LCD has resolution that allows for 2:1 scaling in both dimensions.

Why is it a turd?
* The LCD has tearing! It doesn't run quite at the original refresh rate, but instead of triple buffering to do framerate conversion it jut updates mid-screen.
* The LCD panel has poo poo viewing angles and you can't get a good black level out of it staring at it perfectly head-on.
* No / wrong gamma adjustment means dark details are lost or misrepresented
* LCD itself is physically a bit too small. There is a big obvious border surrounding the LCD. Some people have aftermarket replacement lenses that make the border area even bigger, which is clownish and dumb.

I took a video of it tearing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=im4nyDud2fM

BennVenn kit: Pending

I haven't had a chance to see one of these in person. It uses the same LCD panel as the prior kit, so it will carry the same negatives. However, maybe it updates the screen in a better way with regard to tearing.

GBC Midwest Embedded kit: Slightly Less Turd

This one has almost all of the same talk points as the previous, and uses the same physical LCD panel. However, the thing that sets it apart is that it doesn't have tearing.
* Supports some odd timings or whatever that some odd games do, which apparently most displays do not.
* Uses triple buffering so that there isn't tearing

Why is it still turdish?
* The refresh rate is quite a ways off from the Game Boy Color's original, so that framerate conversion now means there's a stuttering effect. I emailed about this, and while I was glad to get a comprehensive response that indicated a clear understanding of what I was talking about, the conclusion is that they were not willing to run the LCD outside of the timings specified on its datasheet.

Here is a video that is almost as bad as these displays: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pcWJo2TS8E

Handheld Legend GBC IPS V2: Disappointing

Physically, the LCD on this one is worlds better than the prior ones. We can say goodbye to the lovely tiny screen. This one fits rather well. The gamma isn't a wreck, so things are pretty visible.

Unfortunately:
* Framerate conversion strikes again! There is a stutter and a wee bit of input lag on this one. It's a bit better than the MWE one, but not a lot.
* Options like brightness are configured by using this awkward touch button thingy. there is no guidance provided about where or how to install it.

A video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TD0WBs-6HTk

I can't recommend it unless your original LCD is damaged.

FunnyPlaying GBC IPS V2: Turd

It has tearing as it updates the image. Not impressed, and I'm exhausted from this happening with so many kits.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=890NMVr0Pcg#t=22s

Hatsune Mike fucked around with this message at 22:52 on Jul 17, 2020

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Hatsune Mike
Oct 9, 2013



I don't know if anybody has read this. I am getting the FunnyPlaying GBC kit after having a more or less positive experience with one that a friend had.

DanAdamKOF
Feb 11, 2007



Iím reading this. This is the kind of content I crave.

Seat Safety Switch
May 27, 2008

MY RELIGION IS THE SMALL BLOCK V8 AND COMMANDMENTS ONE THROUGH TEN ARE NEVER LIFT.



Pillbug

I have a pretty hosed up DMG that I tried to do a backlight mod on years ago and damaged the ribbon cable.

We spoke briefly about it last week in chat, it's too bad the $40 Aliexpress LCDs have a funky refresh rate. Once I figure out where the DMG in question has gotten off to, I will probably get the FunnyPlaying IPS kit.

Some Goon
Jan 6, 2013

A golden helix streaked skyward from the Helvault. A thunderous explosion shattered the silver monolith and Avacyn emerged, free from her prison at last.




Since the actual portability doesn't matter to me anymore, part of me wants to make a jumbo screen at the native resolution. 23,040 LEDs each maybe 0.2" for a 3' screen hight. But it sounds tricky and expensive and I have a bunch of half-finished projects to get through first, so I'll just put this out there in case someone is more knowledgeable and motivated than I.

Seat Safety Switch
May 27, 2008

MY RELIGION IS THE SMALL BLOCK V8 AND COMMANDMENTS ONE THROUGH TEN ARE NEVER LIFT.



Pillbug

Some Goon posted:

Since the actual portability doesn't matter to me anymore, part of me wants to make a jumbo screen at the native resolution. 23,040 LEDs each maybe 0.2" for a 3' screen hight. But it sounds tricky and expensive and I have a bunch of half-finished projects to get through first, so I'll just put this out there in case someone is more knowledgeable and motivated than I.

I wonder if you could remove the polarizers and do an overhead-projector thing like those TI-83 external monitors they used to have in high school math.

https://www.calculatorsource.com/ti-82vsh.html

Hatsune Mike
Oct 9, 2013



with an external scaler I do have a jumbo option in my apartment I should use. It is a 960 x 960 Samsung digital signage monitor, with DVI and VGA inputs. Good excuse to dink around with FPGAs during lockdown I guess

Shibawanko
Feb 13, 2013

someday he would have an anchor tattooed on his chest

i always thought the gameboy light was the coolest model, ive only ever seen one in real life once, i really like the fluorescent green screen color and the metallic design, it's like a fancy gameboy

Seat Safety Switch
May 27, 2008

MY RELIGION IS THE SMALL BLOCK V8 AND COMMANDMENTS ONE THROUGH TEN ARE NEVER LIFT.



Pillbug

Shibawanko posted:

i always thought the gameboy light was the coolest model, ive only ever seen one in real life once, i really like the fluorescent green screen color and the metallic design, it's like a fancy gameboy

It's pretty great but you can definitely hear the inverter whine the entire time. Prices now are so bonkers I'd rather just modify a regular Pocket.

The new screens are so much better for viewing angle, ghosting, and backlight evenness. Plus you get to modify something!

Shibawanko
Feb 13, 2013

someday he would have an anchor tattooed on his chest

Seat Safety Switch posted:

It's pretty great but you can definitely hear the inverter whine the entire time. Prices now are so bonkers I'd rather just modify a regular Pocket.

yeah but then someone pulls out the real thing and its like the business card scene from american psycho where you go all "that slightly undersized d-pad... that suble metallic casing"

SeANMcBAY
Jun 28, 2006

Look on the bright side.




Tempted to get one for my original GB but I think I'll see how the Analogue Pocket turns out first.

Hatsune Mike
Oct 9, 2013



I got the FunnyPlaying GBC IPS V2. I'm pretty disappointed, as it has all the issue the other kit has.

I'm pretty sick of buying crappy GBC kits.

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Death of Rats
Oct 2, 2005

SQUEAK

Thank you for making this thread - you convinced me to skip modding my precious childhood GBC and just pick up a GBA SP instead. Along with the best custom shell I have seen:



Wish I still had my original yellow GB though - I'd have loved to give that the new screen treatment. Unfortunately, it's lost to time.

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