Image: Nintendo Life

Casual readers are allowed to see the manufacturer’s name in the GB operator’s box. This is a neat little device that allows you to play Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance carts on your PC. Producer of high quality retro play consoles such as Analogue NT (SNES) and the next Analogue Pocket (Game Boy).

The cheeky-named Epilogue clearly wants the analog to match the same brand of known uncompromising quality, and has adopted the slogan “no compromise” in its operator series. The Romanian company’s first effort is a strong entry into the field of retrogaming, but it is a very different product from the one manufactured by analog and may be of limited appeal.

The GB operator will not work without connecting to a PC … To work, you need a downloadable .exe running on your computer.

First, it eliminates the idea that this is a mini Game Boy emulation system that connects to a TV like the Retron SQ. To get started, the GB operator will not work unless it is connected to a PC. To work in any way, you need to use a downloadable .exe running on your computer.

The device acts as an intermediary. The interface between the cart collection and the proven GB emulation is provided by a custom emulation wrapper on your PC. Again, without the included desktop app and the right amount of processing power from your PC, GB Operator is just a flashy looking cart stand. Nothing happens when I connect to the TV via USB.

That may be disappointing for some retro enthusiasts, but Epilogue definitely makes up for the limitation with a convenient and comfortable user experience, not to mention some of the features that make it possible. increase necessary To the selected group of Game Boy fans.

When you open the box, you will find the unit itself. This is an attractive little see-through plastic housing mounted on a high quality strip of non-slip rubber. A simple and stylish pedestal that moves the cart in and out of the stone like a mighty sword, and is in awe of its action. These carts are worthy of respect and the GB operator will provide them.

The accompanying instruction manual instructs you to download the “Operator Software” from. Epilogue website, Windows, Mac, or Linux options are available. Once extracted and installed, the software will search for and automatically detect the GB operator connected to your PC via the included USB-C-USB-A cable (using the Switch Pro controller cable). A distractingly bright LED inside the unit indicates that it is powered on (Epilogue will address this small stimulus with an update), and it’s time to insert the cartridge of your choice. Almost instantly, the software recognized the Metroid Zero Mission as a legitimate European cart and displayed the proper box art and slogans that seemed to be pulling from the server.

When you load the cartridge, the app offers “Play” and “Data” options and a third “Photos” tab reserved for the Game Boy camera. This will be explained later. The Play page, as expected, is where you launch the game. Rebinding the gamepad and keyboard controls here required the option to duplicate the input with multiple buttons, but it worked smoothly enough on the 8bitdo FC30 Pro. The app also has grayed out options for emulator and device settings that will be unlocked in a future update. Press Launch to download the ROM to the emulator and launch the game.

Emulation is processed via open source mGBA By default, you will be able to use your favorite emulator in the future. Super Game Boy’s enhanced games were flagged, added colors and played, and everything worked beautifully in the tested games. However, it quickly became apparent that this beta software lacked basic functionality. Extensions will be introduced, but at the time of writing (using v0.7 and v.0.7.1), they are limited to playing in windowed mode, for example. Currently, there are no options to save state, pause, rewind, or fast forward. There are no alternative color palettes to choose from or circular visual filters.

Everything worked beautifully in the games I tested, but it quickly became apparent that this beta software lacked very basic functionality. Extensions are coming …

Epilogue continues to work on the software Roadmap to address some of the above issues..This includes full-screen and shader support, as well as in-app volume controls and game resets, and other changes brought about by user feedback, some of these features. September / October update.. The beta base here can be generously described as “barebones”, but it’s a solid start.

Pressing ESC will end the game (if you delete the cart while playing, you will immediately return to the launch menu and you will lose any unsaved progress) and you can choose to save or discard your progress in the cart. increase. This is where the device comes in. Not only can you save the progress to the playing cart (you can also get it again with the actual GB hardware), you can also copy the saved data from the cart and back it up to your PC. Write it back and continue from where you left off.

[データ]Go to the tabs where you can rip a complete copy of the data stored in your cart to your PC as a .gb or .gba file, or write the data to a rewritable cartridge. This opens up a world of homebrew and fan patches. / translations. For example, take a legitimate copy of Mother 3, download the ROM with English fan translation, patch it, and load it into a rewritable cartridge of the appropriate size for playing through the GB operator or the Game Boy Advance itself. can.

You can also download / upload only the saved data (.sav) and back it up to your heart’s content. We soon backed up the original Mario golfer and Pokemon Yellow Menagerie and our stubborn first generation pokey man — Metapoo,’Lecky Mouse, Stinky, et al — Now preserved for posterity. This feature is especially useful when you want to replace the battery in your precious cartridge without risking the loss of valuable stored data. All you have to do is transfer it to your PC, switch the battery in your spare time, and put it back in when you’re done. Sorting.

Fake cart makers have begun to use more sophisticated techniques over the years and it can be difficult to find fraudulent reproductions in their collections, but GB operators flag unofficial games as such. Can stand. The app will perform a “consistency check” and will continue if this check fails.

Connect the Game Boy camera and[すべて保存]Click and it’s done. Last year’s precious photos are saved in a small 128×112 pixel .png format.

However, one of the reasons this writer pre-ordered in the first play is that you can quickly and easily transfer your Game Boy camera photos from your device.When you connect the Game Boy camera, the third[写真]Tabs will be available (interestingly, you can’t “play” the camera on your PC). Go there[すべて保存]Click to select a folder and it’s done. The best Blue Steels and Magnum you can collect for last year’s precious photos, or photos that accompany your hardware review, are stored in a small 128×112 pixel .png format.

Alternatively, the Game Boy camera battery may not be dead. Unfortunately, all 30 blank spaces in this writer’s camera were statically filled. Yes, pour one for a random selfie forever lost high school photo with schoolmates and family and that angry cat we once saw home from school increase.

So yes, the main reason we bought it was to transfer the GB camera photos to the PC quickly and easily, without the GB operator’s fault, but in reality it wasn’t possible. Other than that, the cart battery was very lucky and could save everything else from digital oblivion. You win some and you lose some.

Overall, the GB Operator is a great little kit with lots of potential, but a very special type of device for users. For example, anyone running a PC on a TV or having a comfortable game monitor setup using an existing GB (A) library. The option to take out your precious GB cart, play it on the big screen, save your progress, and continue where you left off on the official hardware gives the device a nearly switch-like appeal to the right person. This lighter is almost perfect. In that niche category.

GB Operator is a high quality product. It’s small, stylish, and relatively inexpensive to add to your gaming environment, making it easy to play carts and saves on the big screen.

If you reach this in anticipation of a “mini-console” experience with additional features for playing physical catalogs, you may be disappointed with the limitations and lack of current functionality. The GB Operator is a high quality product that is small, stylish and relatively inexpensive to add to your gaming environment, making it easy to play carts and saves on the big screen. However, there is a risk of falling between the two stalls. Plug and Play accessibility is too dependent on existing physics libraries to appeal to casual players, but it’s too restrictive for enthusiastic retro enthusiasts looking for the ultimate way to play GB games on the big screen.

As the app moves to version 1.0, improvements have been made to address the biggest complaints of GB operators. The user-friendly way that allows you to save backups makes it a very useful device for Game Boy enthusiasts who have a strong love for real articles. (Or someone who replaces the cart battery). Even with GB games coming to Nintendo Switch Online, there’s still room for such devices, even with some limited appeal, as there are inevitably so many titles that won’t see the light of day on Switch.

You will be intrigued by what Epilogue is preparing for the Operator series in the future. In the meantime, we look forward to updates on these features.

GB operators are available for $ 49.99 and shipping. Epilogue website..