Weird old Game Boy from Singapore

Discussion in 'Other Consoles & Oldies' started by Leach, Dec 18, 2015.

  1. Leach
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    Leach Advanced Member

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    Guys, please help me solve the mystery of this old Game Boy.

    Some back story (read first):

    I bought the thing for 10 Euros. It looks brand new, the unit anyway, but doesn't play any games. I tried a few cartridges that work on my other Game Boy, cleaned the pins, cleaned the cartridge slot, but still nothing. When I switch it on, the Nintendo logo drops down and the chime plays but then the screen goes blank! After a couple of tries I noticed how, when it goes blank, the green hue of the LCD slightly changes to a lighter tone. It's almost unnoticeable but looks as though the screen is turning off. The light indicator still works but the buttons do nothing and the game is obviously not running as there is no sound.

    Then, of course, I decided to take the thing apart and wow, it looks very different from a regular Game Boy. My first thought was that maybe it was a clone of some sort but the housing and the box look very legit. The parts inside the unit however, look... shoddy. When I took it apart, the cables connecting the speaker to the circuit board came off, so I had to resolder them (probably just as bad as they were in the first place). Anyway, I couldn't see anything wrong with the unit, and by see I literally mean that I did nothing more than take a very good look at the insides.

    The box says "FOR SALE AND USE IN SINGAPORE ONLY" but as far as I know the original Game Boy was not region locked. So I doubt that's the problem.

    Got any ideas what the issue might be or why the console looks so different inside? Were Nintendo just like "whatever" and decided to give permission to some factory in Singapore to build the units? I don't know how important the Singaporean video game market was for Nintendo.

    Check it out:

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. Muffins

    Muffins Banned

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    It's a ripoff, made in China to look like a Game Boy, but obviously is rather not.
     
  3. Leach
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    Leach Advanced Member

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    Are you sure about this? Please, once you click the thumbnail, click on the picture again to view it in its full resolution (I cannot upload it as an attachment, due to its size). Take a good look at the box. It looks very legitimate. The manual, although cheap-looking, is in perfect English as well. I've seen a lot of Chinese rip off consoles and if that's one of them... then damn! I bought the thing from a very old video game shop. The owner pulled this big box full of random old crap from the back of the store. I didn't find anything counterfeit inside and the store really is legit.
     
  4. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    It was not region locked but import/export laws surrounding Singapore and similar states, especially when it came to electronics and games, was odd in the 80's/90's. More for China but look up iQue if you want something that people have actually written about.

    The dodgy board could be many things. I see it is connected to the speakers so most likely, assuming it is not an outright clone, someone tried to do one of the audio amp projects and possibly stuffed it up. http://www.herbertweixelbaum.com/comparison.htm has some more on some things here.

    Anyway I do not know enough about the different hardware revisions, licensed versions*, and clone boards/ghost shift boards for the GB to say much here. I might have contemplated if it was a GBP stuffed into a GB shell but it does not look like that either. Date codes, if there are some there, would appear to be all over the place (99 in places, 89 and 92 in others so possibly salvaged components).

    *various companies have been known to send fairly new or even radically new revisions to countries they are trying to break into the market of.

    Thanks for the pictures and read though.
     
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  5. Muffins

    Muffins Banned

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    I'm absolutely, positively sure.

    It's a Chinese ripoff, made to fool the eye but of very poor quality.
     
  6. Leach
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    Leach Advanced Member

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    Hey, thanks a lot for the info! I can't be completely sure, but I'm fairly certain that it had never been opened up to that point. The cables connecting the speaker to the board came off when I oppened so I had to resolder them but that's pretty much it. It really is in pristine condition. In fact, I have never seen an original Game Boy in such a good shape (the pictures don't do it any justice). Furthermore, the screws had that "factory tightness" to them. Oh, perhaps this is where I should mention that the screws were regular Phillips screws. I don't know, I can't be sure if it was used for mods... it just looked not to have been tempered with, just a bit crappy from the factory. The guy from the store said he purchased it around 1991 - 1992 and was never able to sell or try it. I don't know if that's the case.

    — Posts automatically merged - Please don't double post! —

    You are ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY sure? Wow, how so? :D
    And very poor quality? I don't think so. I've seen enough ripoff consoles and this ain't one. Besides, look at the box. What poor Chinese dudes from the 80s would go the extra miles to craft this box with all the copyright information and stuff? Furthermore, how did they get their hands on a PERFECT mold of the Game Boy body? Let's not forget that everything is in perfect English and obviously professionally translated.
     
    Last edited by Leach, Dec 18, 2015
  7. Muffins

    Muffins Banned

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    Quite simply because Nintendo doesn't hand-solder their products.

    And no, it's a simple matter to get ahold of a Game Boy mold. Ripoff products in China and the surrounding regions are commonplace.
     
  8. Leach
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    Leach Advanced Member

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    I'm still not convinced those points are hand-soldered. Could be just shoddy machine work. Anyway, the packaging is still too legit. In fact I compared it to a box a friend of mine owns and they are completely identical, apart from the "SINGAPORE ONLY" sign on mine. The print is top quality, the cardboard is the same and there's all the copyright blurbs all over the thing (including the owner's manual, which also features a freaking guarantee card on the last page). Also, I just noticed this:

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Muffins

    Muffins Banned

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    No, that crap is hand soldered- NO WAY in hell it's machine made. The font and spacing on the box is wrong.

    Look, I know this might be hard for you to understand, but you bought a fake.

    Deal with it.

    I'm not wasting any more time on you.
     
  10. Leach
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    Leach Advanced Member

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    Dude, its 2015 and I have a working old Game Boy that I never use anyway. I'm much more interested in the story behind this than how to fix it (if possible at all). I got nothing to deal with, lol. I don't care if I bought a fake, though I seriously doubt it, for 10 euros. I'm not going to use it anyway :D And chill, I don't give a damn about your time and how you intend to use it.
     
  11. Drud1995

    Drud1995 GBAtemp Regular

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    It still is quite a curiosity. I'm wondering if it would actually do something if you reflowed the solder on the various contacts. Some of the connections on the ripoff probably have broken connections or cold solder joints, so reflowing could quite possibly get you a working gameboy out of this if you are interested in trying. Also try testing the capacitors with a multimeter to make sure they are ok. Good luck!
     
    Last edited by Drud1995, Dec 19, 2015
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  12. Karuta

    Karuta

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    The horrible grammar and spelling and really strange wording on the box would make me think it's fake.
     
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  13. TeamScriptKiddies

    TeamScriptKiddies Licensed Nintendo (indie) Game Developer

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    The jumper wires are a dead giveaway that this is a clone. Nintendo wouldn't release something like that to the consumer market. I could see them doing that with an early prototype, but what's with the box? It looks like its for the consumer market NOT an internal prototype.

    It looks like a really well done clone, honestly, like someone else already suggested, try reflowing the jumper connections and test the thing out with a multimeter, you might be able to get it running again. It'd make a neat item to add to your collection :)

     
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  14. Leach
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    Leach Advanced Member

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    Here's a high quality scan of the box: http://postimg.org/image/flvgfpvah/full/
    Now here's a scan of the back of the same box from France: http://img.gamefaqs.net/box/6/6/4/307664_back.jpg
    Here's another one from the USA: http://www.retroprotection.com/images/Game Boy Console Box Pink 004.jpg
    And another one from who knows where: http://www.gamesstationretro.com/images/GB SMALL 1 3.jpg

    There are som variations from region to region - in the location of text, text itself, blurbs, games on the back of the box, screenshots on its sides.

    They are the same, obviously, made with attention to detail. Notice how the games on the back vary due to the year/region of release. Look at my scan. Look at the quality of the print. The seals of quality (which are btw golden but it's hard to see from the scan), look at all the copyright blurbs. And now look at the games themselves. Donkey Kong Land is the most recent of them (1995), which means the unit was manufactured that year or the years after. Now consider this, and that's just a theory, but what if Nintendo launched the original GB in Singapore some years later than in Japan and the West? This could also explain the cheap but completely legit looking manual (scans tomorrow). Maybe they were unsure about the risky move, decided to cut corners, go for the cheap print. This could also potentially explain the different motherboard, although they must have surely had stockpiles of the original parts back in 1995. But what if Nintendo authorized some Singaporean company to build the GB internally for cheap? Of course, if Nintendo provided them with original molds for the body, then why is the copyright info on the back of the console missing? It is part of the mold.

    Anyway, it could also be a fake Game Boy in an original box, or possibly a counterfeit box of very high quality. But let’s be real here, it’s made of the same cardboard like all other boxes of the same type that you’ll see on the Internet. The same cardboard that falls apart the same way over time. Furthermore, when you are creating a counterfeit product, you are trying to fool people that can be fooled more easily. You don’t go the extra miles to recreate all the copyright blurbs and add a goddamn guarantee card at the end of the owner’s manual that you also made for your 1:1 ripoff, trying to fool parents into buying it for their kids for Christmas.
    Yup, and the box and manual are most definitely not fake. Take a look at a couple pages of the manual: http://postimg.org/image/rcuh0ubhh/full/ (will be scanning some on request, this are just pictures but still). The booklet is in traditional Chinese and perfect English back to back. Notice the warranty card. It could be a clone in a real package, but I bought it from a legit video game store, along with other games and a pristine GB Micro. They were all sitting in a box in the back of a store. This GB, says the owner, must have been there for around 20 years. Yup, reflowing might be a good idea. :)

    Edit: Google the barcode - https://www.google.com/search?q=tra...ceid=chrome&es_sm=122&ie=UTF-8#q=045496710033
     
    Last edited by Leach, Dec 19, 2015
  15. Karuta

    Karuta

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    Last edited by Karuta, Dec 19, 2015
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  16. TeamScriptKiddies

    TeamScriptKiddies Licensed Nintendo (indie) Game Developer

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    Planet Earth :P
    I still think its a clone, although the pcb itself was definitely manufactured properly in a plant somewhere NOT hand soldered, which is common with clones from that region. But the random jumper wires and hand soldering used for the other stuff is NOT something that Nintendo would've released to the masses as its too flimsy and likely to break with normal use, which would earn Nintendo a very bad rep. Evidently the cloners went the extra mile with a lot of it, although the box itself very well could be from an original gameboy and at one point or another that clone ended up in that box, which might explain the incredible accuracy of the box itself....
     
  17. Karuta

    Karuta

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    Box is definitely not from an original, see my above post.
     
  18. bowser

    bowser Mwa ha ha ha!

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    If there are no Nintendo logos on the boards, then it's definitely fake. Blue one has it, white one doesn't seem to.
     
  19. Muffins

    Muffins Banned

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    Not to mention the story about purchasing it in "1991-1992", as was claimed, would mean the Topic Creator's friend would have had to have been a time traveler...

    HMMMMMM....
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by Muffins, Dec 19, 2015
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  20. RodrigoDavy

    RodrigoDavy GBAtemp Maniac

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    One third option, it might be a product not officially produced but licensed by Nintendo.

    For example, Gradiente had a license to produce Atari consoles here in Brazil in the 80s. Later they stopped producing Atari consoles and went on to produce famiclones.

    Fun fact, Gradiente later got a deal in 1993 to produce official Nintendo products here, they produced from the original NES until the Gamecube, also including portables. Second fun fact, The factory Gradiente used to make those was considered the only Nintendo factory outside Japan at the time.

    — Posts automatically merged - Please don't double post! —

    Could also be a honest mistake... Don't tell me you never got a year wrong once in your life
     
    Last edited by RodrigoDavy, Dec 19, 2015
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