Why the Gameboy isn't as great as you remember

Ah, nothing will trigger nostalgia as much as the Gameboy. Don't get me started on collecting those pocket monsters or playing Tetris.

If you are feeling "a certain type of way" when it comes to the Gameboy, I have some bad news for you: It's not as great as you remember.

Nostlagia is a tricky thing

Gameboy Pocket with Tetris

Photo by Ravi Palwe / Unsplash

While we may have fond memories of playing with the grey brick, fact is, our brain added quite a few "artistic liberties" to our memories.

How so? Well, I was walking down a flea market with the kids when I picked up a Gameboy for them. I booted it up and was taken aback on how horrendous the screen is.

It's completely washed out, and hard to see unless you have a great light source like the sun to help you out. We have frozen memories of playing with the Gameboy and it was for all intents and purposes fine back then.

But after all of these years, our eyes have been accustomed to new screen technology and when we dive into our memory bank, we tend to think that the Gameboy screen was better than it was.

Yup, we added our modern tastes back to the old device and think it was pretty great. It's not. Nostalgia is a tricky thing. The good news is that many of the Gameboy games still hold up fine to this day. But the hardware itself isn't great.

Making the Gameboy great again

What's great about being alive today is that all of these nerdy and geeky boys and girls are now adults and making the Gameboy great again. While the Gameboy as-is isn't that great, once you slap in some modern conveniences like the IPS screens, it brings back memories never lived.

There's the same effect that happens when a game gets re-released in HD. Looking back, Final Fantasy 8 is heavily pixelated but with the re-releases you can now play the game as you remember it.

The Gameboy isn't as great as you remember it. Many things aren't. But short of a handheld gaming device to emulate it, the best way to play it is with an upgraded screen.

The rest, surprisingly holds up pretty well.