I’ll just go ahead and answer the question burning in everyone’s minds. Yes. You can play Game Boy games on it if you have a Super Game Boy.
The Hyperkin SupaBoy is what we all wished a time traveler from the future would have blessed us with back in 1991. I’ve had my SupaBoy for a little over two weeks and there’s almost nothing bad I can say about it. If you’re the kind of person that needs to spend every spare minute farming for the Sword of Kings (you know who you are) or you just want an excuse to dig out that old copy of Mega Man X then you’re going to love the SupaBoy.
The SupaBoy comes in the shape of an oversized SNES controller with a screen in the center and a cartridge slot in the back. Unlike the early 90s, the SupaBoy doesn’t require an army of AA batteries since it comes bundled with a lithium-ion battery. Also bundled with the handheld are an AC charger, composite A/V cables and a protective pouch, which I accidentally left out of the pictures below.
The few games I’ve played at length on the SupaBoy so far are Earthbound, Mega Man X and Turtles in Time. Controls on the SupaBoy itself feel good even if they are slightly stiffer than those on a normal SNES pad. The controller ports on the bottom of the unit make it easy to play with a friend either using the SupaBoy’s built-in LCD or a TV. I popped a dozen or so other cartridges into the SupaBoy to make sure they work and all of them played fine. I even did the super sporty SupaBoy equipped with a Super Game Boy equipped with Pokemon Red… because overkill is always entertaining.
There is nothing so wrong with the SupaBoy that it should discourage you from picking one up if it looks like something you’d enjoy owning. My only real issue with the SupaBoy is the persistent minor hum in the audio. During audio-heavy gameplay I forget it’s there, but as soon as the music cuts out or there’s a loading screen with no audio you can hear it again. The hum is present both in the built-in speakers and through the headphone jack.
SupaBoy makes playing SNES games easy again, especially if you’re like me and have your SNES packed up into a box which may or may not be in any given closet or out in the garage. Play it under your covers when you should be getting sleep for work or plug it into your 60″ 120hz TV with 4,000,000:1 contrast ratio which has a solitary composite connection on one of the sides which persists through the ages only so that you can plug in your SupaBoy and avoid another night spent playing the latest Madden or Call of Duty you rented from your local Redbox.
My last PC and I had a love/hate relationship during its last few abysmal months of life and, upon buying my Macbook Pro in the summer of ’07, I decided it was time to take the old girl out back and put a bullet in the heat of her single core Pentium 4 CPU. Actually, she is banished to the closet along with one of my other old machines.
I outfitted the Macbook Pro with a copy of WIndows Vista in order to run Steam to satisfy my gaming needs during the times of no PC. This worked out great until Blizzard unleashed StarCraft 2 upon the world. I, like any good fanboy, went down and bought the game on release day and went home to install it. The only problem was that my Macbook Pro had passed its prime and was no longer able to keep up with the curve… to Newegg!
Later that week a whole box of goodies came in – a Lian Li case and an array of components, a monitor, a keyboard, and a mouse. I snapped some pictures when I was putting it together, but out of excitement was frantically putting the machine together instead of taking pictures of every little step.
The outcome? Let’s just say I’ve finished StarCraft 2′s single-player campaign and I’m on Steam a lot more often than never. It’s good to have a PC up and running again and Windows 7 isn’t half bad either.
Every three years the CPS-III game cartridges have to get new backup batteries or else you risk the battery dying. What happens when the battery dies? The battery powering the hash table on the cartridge that unlocks the game dies and the hash is erased, making your game unplayable and turning a piece of arcade hardware into a big paperweight. It’s original purpose was to prevent piracy, but I don’t see how it helped to curb piracy myself. What you’re supposed to do is send your cartridge in to Capcom and they take it apart, replace the batter, and send it back to you. Well the game is pretty dated now and what are individual owners supposed to do? In my case my 3rd Strike cartridge was specially modified by a previous owner to make changing out the batteries a snap, literally.
Step 1: Pick up a new 1/2 AA battery. Radioshack carries them, even though the employees at the store weren’t aware of their existence.
Step 2: Power on the machine and allow it to finish booting up.
Step 3: Locate old backup battery on the CPS-III game cartridge.
Step 4: Remove the old backup battery with a small flathead screwdriver.
Step 5: Pop new battery into place, making sure you use the same +/- orientation as the last backup battery.
There you go, I’m good for another three years. Speaking of three years, I can’t believe it’s been three years since I picked this machine up and brought it back into working order. You can check all that action out from early 2007 right here. Thanks to the dedicated mod and arcade cab community. The original battery swap involved the same battery, but you had to solder positive and negative leads into place on the cartridge. I have no idea how common this snap-on battery modification is, but it squashes a lot of headaches for sure.
After moving in July and accidentally letting the Megalo 410 succumb to some collateral damage by leaving the monitor control board in place, I have the machine running again. The main monitor board on the bottom of the cabinet fell up into the cabinet while transporting it to the new apartment and broke off the potentiometers that control the vertical and horizontal size of the monitor. That’s all of the old news, now on to the new.
Last weekend a friend donated time to solder the new potentiometers to the monitor control board and with the new potentiometers in place I was ready to go home, unlock the machine, replace the board, and see if that had fixed the monitor issues. I wake up on Saturday to give the board a test, but can’t find the keys to the cabinet. I searched for hours everywhere in my apartment for the keys, but could not turn them up. The keys to the cabinet are always on my key ring in my pocket and I assume that the keys were dropped when either giving my car key to the dealer (back when my car broke down and was broken in to last month) or when putting the car key back on the ring after picking the car up from the dealer.
The locks on the Megalo 410 are simple cam-style locks so I picked up a couple of replacements at home depot and set to removing the old locks. I drilled out the bottom left lock since I can reach the other two locks on the cabinet from that central location and wouldn’t have to spend triple the time drilling through the locks one by one.
|Old Sega lock for game panel
||New latch lock installed
Now that the old locks were out it was time to get the new locks in place. To get the new cam locks to fit I had to use a Dremel equipped with the sanding tool to scale back a set of tabs in each lock hole which made the lock hole a little too small for the new locks to fit in. Once I shaved a little off of the tabs the new locks fit in and, while the cabinet was open, I replaced the main monitor board, rewired the controls for Player 1, and adjusted the screen. With Megalo completely working again I locked up the cabinet and left the keys in their respective locks. I don’t want to go through that ordeal again.
Fast forward from Saturday to Monday night. I picked up two white Hugo stools from Ikea for people to sit at while playing on the arcade machine. With the two stools at home to accompany the cab it was time to get rounds of Street Fighter III 3rd Strike in on it for the first time in three months.
|The Megalo 410 complete with stools
Special shouts out to Chad who hooked me up with a solder on the board and to Daniel from work who was the first person to lose to me on the now working cab. Not only have I fixed this most recent problem with the Megalo 410, but I did a ton of electronics work on it from January to March of 2006. You can relive the entire work process through pictures in my Candy Cab Restore set on Flickr.