Game Boy Pocket

Model Name MGB

Released in 1996, this model is a much smaller redesign of the original Game Boy. It uses two AAA batteries and has a slightly improved screen with a grey reflection film compared to the original Game Boy’s green. The Game Boy Pocket was released without a power LED, but was added in soon after launch. The Pocket can only play DMG games and cannot play Color-only games.

Last Content Revision: 2022-06-23

Table of Contents:

Mods

  • Backlight Mods - Winter 2021 Absolutely flustered by this backlight list? Why not check out this more comprehensive guide from /u/Admiral_Butter_Crust on all the different backlight kits. Only current or relevant backlight kits are listed below.
    • Cloud Game Store “AIO-XL” 2.6” IPS Kit OEM viewing window using a custom IPS LCD panel. Includes matching lens. This kit requires two minor shell cuts. Soldering for power is shown as optional, but is highly recommended. [Video Guide]. Kit sold at AliExpress and Retro Game Repair Shop.
      • A matching shell is available as well. The shell is designed to fit the original screen as well has being pre-molded to accept the CGS IPS kit. Sold at AliExpress and Retro Game Repair Shop. Note that this shell does not have the original Game Boy Pocket texture and is smooth and glossy.
    • One Chip OSD IPS Kit. 11% larger than OEM viewing window using the common Q5 LCD panel. Includes matching lens. This kit requires shell cutting but allows the image to be moved withing the viewing window. Soldering for power and control points is required. Kit has brightness control, color palettes, and pixel grid effect via a pair of touch sensors. [Video Guide] For a more hidden install, there are advanced solder Points for OSD controls. Kit is sold at AliExpress and Retro Game Repair Shop.
    • Funnyplaying IPS Kit 11% larger than OEM viewing window using the common Q5 LCD panel. Includes matching lens. This kit requires shell cutting and screen centering brackets are available. Soldering for power and touch sensor is required. Kit has brightness control using original contrast wheel; color palettes and pixel grid effect are available through optional touch sensor.[Video Guide]. Kit is sold at Funny Playing, Retro Modding, and Retro Game Repair Shop.
      • Funnyplaying currently makes a Game Boy Pocket shell designed for its own kit. However, as the One Chip kit uses the same Q5 panel, the shell can accomodate that kit as well. This makes for a drop-in installation into the new shell. For sale directly from Funnyplaying, Retro Game Repair Shop and, Retro Modding.
    • Bivert & Backlight is an older technique to backlight the original screen with a film replacement and a LED backlight panel. This method keeps the original look of the Pocket, but current replacement polarizers change the tint of the screen from the light grey to a light green. [Video Guide] Sold at RetroModding, Retro Game Repair Shop, Kitsch-Bent, and DeadpanRobot.
  • Audio Mods
  • Battery and Power Mods are not substitues for actually cleaning the power switch. However, the mods may be necessary in certain high-draw situations. Please refer to Common Problems if flickering and power-on issues are occuring, before deciding to modify.
    • GBPP. This is a complete DC-DC replacement with lithium battery charging support. This replacement only provides VDD5. The board is completely self assembled and requires QFN soldering. This is considered a high skill level modification and there is no support offered for this repo. [Video Guide]
    • Giltesa’s USB-C Charging Kit. A very tidy custom TP4056 charge board that replaces the DC jack with a custom USB-C port. A battery is not included, but Giltesa lists a recommendation. Moderate shell cuts are required to accomodate the USB-C port. With the complexity of installation, this is a moderate skill level modifiation [Video Guide]. Sold at Retro Game Repair Shop. Note that is is based on the TP4056 and this does not support play and charge. A jig to cut the opening for this mod has been designed by makho and can be downloaded from [Printables].

    • Helder’s Pocket Power Regulator. This may be installed in two ways depending on use case.
      • The regulator can be installed as directed, taking note to follow the instructions and disconnecting or cutting the VDD5 output of the original DC-DC. This keeps the VEE power rail in-place so it may continue to operate the original screen. This configuration is preferred for bivert-backlight installations or Funnyplaying IPS installations as the Funnyplaying kit uses the VEE circuit and contrast wheel as a brightness control signal.
      • In installations where the VEE circuit is not required, the original DC-DC should be removed completely when installing this regulator. This allows the Pocket to operate only on VDD5 and does not let the original DC-DC operate without a load and remains unregulated.
    • Pololu S7V7F5 is a very common small form factor SMPS voltage regulator. These add-on voltage regulators can be used to power LED backlights so they do not put additional load on the original Pocket DC-DC regulator. Sold at RetroModding and other various hobbyist electronics stores. This should not be installed in parallel on the original DC-DC board.
  • Other Mods
    • NatalieTheNerd LED backlit button kit. A neatly designed flex PCB with LEDs placed under each button to back light them in various colors. This adds load to the VDD5 rail, so please take note when installing with other modifications. [Video Guide]
    • Adding LED to non-LED. This mod requires drilling into the PCB of the Pocket to accomodate the 3mm LED. This mod simply ties the LED to the power switch with a current limiting resistor. [Image Guide]

Problems

Don’t forget that the common problems section also has additional information. Common issues such as no-audio or failure to power-on.

  • Game Boy Pocket Schematics and Board Scan.
  • Replacement Parts Sheet

  • Power Issues - Flash carts, backlight kits, amp kits cause the Pocket not to power on
    • Dirty or damaged switch. The most effective method to clean the power switch is to disassemble the switch and ensure everything is clean all the oxidation and buildup from the inside-out. Opening the switch is the most reliable and best long term solution. Other methods may still help, but should be considered a temporary fix. MGB power switches have a tricky latch when opening up the shield. [Video] Cleaning the power switch is the same method as AGB. [Video]
      • Typical behavior: Everdrive/EZFlash boot loops with low battery, some IPS kits show no image on startup or turns off before the system on low battery.
    • Low battery life after mods. This is common and especially with IPS kits. The capacity limit of two AAAs can’t be worked around. Energy density at this size is difficult to improve without taking on the risk of lithium ion batteries. Typical scenario: Alkaline ~2600mWh, NiMH ~1920mWh, AAA Lithium ~2000mWh, 102045 Lithium ~3300mWh. Perform these mods at your own risk.
    • Lost game saves. Occassionally game saves become corrupted or lost after playing on modified consoles. The original DC-DC converter on the console has notable voltage sag on startup and can possibly cause the system to draw power from the coin cell of the cartridge. A clean power switch and fully charged batteries should mitigate this issue. Further information from BennVenn.
  • Audio Issues - Refer to the common problems section page for additional information
    • Corrosion in the physical switch in the headphone jack is a common issue. Dead speakers can be replaced as there are OEM-fit aftermarket replacements. BennVenn explains that speakers that go bad are usually a sign that the capacitors should be changed.
    • Replacement capacitors can also be ordered in bulk. Specs are available in the Replacement Parts Sheet