Here is a nifty little device that I picked up recently, courtesy of "Shiggsy" at Shiggsy's Place. Apparently, he has quite a few dev units for almost all the Nintendo systems, so he's a lucky guy.

Anyway, as most people should know by now, the "Wide Boy" units are development systems (manufactured by a subsidiary of Nintendo, Intelligent Systems) used by licensees to test their GB, GBC, and GBA games on a TV screen or monitor, rather than the awful screen of said portable systems. Game magazines and retailers also used these WideBoys to display or promote games to the public.

And so with each iteration of the GameBoy hardware that comes out, a WideBoy unit is made. This one is in the middle of the GameBoy's life, since it runs GB and GBC games, but not GBA ones. That's fine with me, since I already have a "TV de Advance" for playing my GBA games on my TV, and this Wide-Boy64 has a few cool features of its own!

Let's check it out!

The WB64 is from Shiggsy, but the game in there is something special: a Nintendo GBC Proto cartridge!

There's not much to mention about the WB64's operation. Turn it on, and the screen below comes on and the game boots up. A quick groping of the N64's controller reveals that the digital pad is the directional control, the Start, B, and A buttons operate like their GB equivalents, and any of the C arrow keys function as the select button.

The controls that are unique to the WB64 are pretty cool. The R and Z buttons, when pressed together, cycle the GB's power to reset the game. But the best feature, when I pulled on the analogue control, was the WB64's zoom. Moving the analogue stick up and down blows up the GBC image from its regular size on-screen to an almost full-screen view, making games much easier to play and enjoy. The zooming can be seen in the pics below.

Z-> O-> O-> O-> gle!

The zooming on the WB64 is excellent, thanks to the hardware interpolation features of the N64. They enable the image to be scaled gradually without the graphics becoming blocky and the pixels becoming distorted. Well, I discovered that the L button on the N64 controller turned this hardware interpolation off and on, so one could blow up the image to full-screen with all of the blockiness intact, if one really wanted to. Below are pictures comparing interpolation on, on the left; and off, on the right.

And finally, below are some pics of the case and guts of the WB64, for those that like looking at bare circuit boards. Interesting stuff: the N64 CIC chip is socketed; there are 2 rows of pins in the middle of the board to attach a GBC for viewing games on its screen and the TV simultaneously; and the IRDA LEDs are visible and working on the right side of the front of the WB64.

That's all this time! This is a fun and actually useful rare thingy for me to play with.

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