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Gaming History You Should Know – The Game Boy Color Cellular Adapter August 25, 2019

Posted by Maniac in Gaming History You Should Know, Uncategorized.
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It’s no secret more advanced features regularly made their way into Nintendo hardware in its home country of Japan, be it rewritable floppy disk support for the NES or Satellite game streaming for the Super Nintendo. Today, on Gaming History You Should Know, we want to focus on one specific peripheral that BADLY needed to come to the US, cellular online multiplayer gaming. In the very early 2000s, prices for portable telephones and cellular services were becoming affordable to the mainstream and moved the devices from an expensive niche for rich businessmen to a tool that everyone NEEDED to stay in constant communication wherever they were.

That said, other than make calls, provide simple numerical calculations, and sending very limited text messaging, there wasn’t much you could do with a cell phone at that time. The best a basic cell phone could do was play the Snake game to amuse its owner for a brief time. In a world where the Game Boy had existed for a decade and Pokémon was already perched to become the biggest gaming phenomena of all time, while PC gamers could already play online multiplayer from their computers and laptops, these limitations were inexcusable.

I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, Pokémon was the best portable game of all time. Every main game from that franchise made use of the best features of the Game Boy handheld, and Game Freak would continue to evolve their games to take the best advantage they could out of each new hardware generation. However, at its initial games’ launch in the early 90s, the game’s multiplayer features could only be done through local play, and it required one player to own a Link Cable. How much better would these games be if I could play them online? With online support in Pokémon I could not only play against anyone at any time, it would allow for game updates or even free goodies straight from Nintendo without ever having to step foot in a retail store!

Since the time of the Nintendo DS launch, we’ve have all of these features as a standard in every Pokémon game and that tradition continues to this day. But would it surprise you to know that these features were available in Pokémon games as far back as Pokémon Crystal for the Game Boy Color? You might not have known about it because truth be told, it was a feature that was only offered in Japan. Enter the Mobile Game Boy Adapter!

The Mobile GB Adapter was a Game Boy Color peripheral that allowed its user to connect their cellular phone to the Game Boy Color’s I’ve been waiting a long time for someone to produce a detailed breakdown of this peripheral so I could feature it on this website. Enter Retro Ali, who has a fantastic YouTube channel full of great retro Nintendo gaming videos. She did a fantastic look at this peripheral, what games supported it and how.

As far as I know, the Pokémon Crystal Celebi challenge that made use of this adapter was never brought to the US Game Boy Color version. That said, I heard it was ported to the Virtual Console version of Pokémon Crystal when it was finally re-released on the Nintendo 3DS. It’s still a shame the US never received this ability.

Pokémon Crystal is out now for the Game Boy Color and Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console.

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