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Back in the day, when it was still new, I do remember borrowing it and playing some Game Boy games on it on my SNES. It was pretty cool, but I never had one myself, and if I bought a game on Game Boy, I wasn't going to be playing it on my SNES on my TV with the Super Game Boy -- I would play it... drumroll... on the actual Game Boy!

You know, because it was a Game Boy game? Designed for a Game Boy?

Yet there were quite some Game Boy games made after this SNES peripheral was released which supported "limited coloring" of the game when played on a Super Game Boy. For example, the Power Rangers game.

But why? Why did developers of Game Boy games sit there and spend tons of extra time and effort to painstakingly create "color codes" for those few customers who might have a Super Game Boy and buy new Game Boy games only to play them on their SNES? It seems to me that the market for that would be less than those who had a Mega Drive/Genesis with both the Mega CD and 32X!

It just doesn't add up to me from a business perspective. Could it be that Nintendo (for whatever reason) really wanted this peripheral to be a big thing and gave the developer some kind of benefit if they did go through this trouble? Maybe less license fees to release the Game Boy game or something? Did they really just Care so much back then in around the mid-1990s that they wanted to spice things up for the few people who experienced the game in this manner?

And once the Game Boy Colour came out (in 1998 -- quite late), sure, it basically had a "built-in Super Game Boy", but who would buy old Game Boy games with Super Game Boy/Game Boy Colour support when they had a Game Boy Colour? Obviously those would just be buying actual Game Boy Colour games for their new handheld!

So, no matter how I think about this, it doesn't seem to make any sense. Maybe the Super Game Boy was far more popular than the "obscure curiosity" I've always imagined it to be. Maybe people loved sitting there with their SNES playing primitively "enhanced" Game Boy games?

Note: I have nothing against the Game Boy, or even the Super Game Boy peripheral. I'm just wondering about this because the average consumer seldom has the same "taste" as myself.

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    What is your question? Seems a bit rhetorical. – Joachim Jan 14 at 10:23
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Yes, people bought and used the Super Game Boy.

  1. At the time, a couple of friends did not have a Game Boy. The only way for them to play Pokemon was on the SNES with the Super Game Boy.
  2. Playing on a bigger screen was nice, specially when friends came over. Some games even had special 2P mode with the Super Game Boy (Wario Blast comes to mind).
  3. No battery issues. Remember, standard GameBoy was 4 LR6.
  4. Not having to bring a SNES and a Game Boy to have access to all your games.
  5. Another point I had totally forgotten, original GB had no backlight. Game boy light (the first one with backlight), came out in 1998. If you wanted to play during evening / night, Super Game Boy was the best solution.

Heck, the Switch is actually based on that when you think about it. Being able to play a game handheld and switching to a big screen. That's the Switch. That's the Super Game Boy.

| improve this answer | |
  • @Orville As for the "why develop SNES-only functionality", it likely depends on the game, but answers can range from "to help sell more units" to developers having fun. – Batophobia Jan 15 at 16:54

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