Most of us may remember the Super Gameboy released for the Gameboy back in the SNES days, an official gadget which allowed you to play your Gameboy
cartridges on a Super Nintendo console and to make things even better, some GB games could be played in color!.
Now what many of you might not know is that a similar device was released during the N64 lifetime. The device was called Wideboy64 and would allow both the
original Gameboy games as well as the new system, Gameboy Color, games to be played on a Nintendo64. Later when the Gameboy Advance was released the device
was upgraded to be able to play Gameboy Color as well as Gameboy Advance games, called Wideboy64 AGB.
Wideboy64 running "Blade"
Wideboy64 AGB running "Zooo"
The only catch to this cool device was that they weren't available for purchase for any store, and no Nintendo didn't give them away for free either. To be
able to qualify to be able to purchase a Wideboy64 from Nintendo you had to become a licensee and the Wideboy64 didn't come cheap either, the price was
as low as $1400 per device, cheap huh?.
Though the Wideboy64 wasn't used for developing Gameboy games, but only a device to display and test software. Working just like the Super Gameboy the Wideboy64
can't contain any data, but needs a cartridge of any sort being development "flash" cartridge or final product, to be able to run.
Wideboy64 AGB firmware menu
Now to run the Wideboy64 a Nintendo64 is obviously required and the N64 joypad would then be used to control the Gameboy game. An alternate version of the
Wideboy64 existed though, capable of attaching a special Gameboy Color/Advance with what looks like an IDE cable used for PC Harddrives and the Gameboy
device would then also run the game and function as a joypad.
Just like a normal Gameboy the Wideboy64 also include an expansion port and the original Wideboy also included an infared port, like the Gameboy Color,
this was removed from the revised AGB version, instead this version was, as mentioned, capable of also playing Gameboy Advance games.
To able to toggle between three screen filters, sharp - normal - soft, users of the Wideboy64 could press the L button, though this feature was moved to
the Z button for the AGB version.
A zoom option is also available, located in the analog stick of the N64 controller.
The Wideboys have upgradeable firmware, still freely available from the developer, Intelligent Systems, ftpsite. Though the only way to upgrade the firmware
was by buying yet another Intelligent Systems product, called "Gang Writer" which also was used to program official N64 development flash cartridges.
By attaching a second controller to the N64 the user is capable of enabling a small menu on-screen which will enable the change of colors, but also show
the firmware revision in the lower right corner. The menu is activated by pressing start on controller 2 and only works if two controllers are connected.
Both versions of the Wideboys for the N64 go for roughly $100 each these days, the price has bumped down a lot of the last few years as many more have
become available from bankrupt companies like Acclaim, though these gadgets still require a bit of searching so good luck :-)
When visiting the ECTS (Electronic Consumer Trade Show) in London back in 2000 I actually saw a Wideboy for the first time. The picture was taken at
SunSofts poorly decorated booth, quite sadly as they've already been one of my favourite companies. Anyway This gameboy game, forgot which one it was, was the
only game SunSoft had on display.