For the past 6 months or so I’ve had a neat little peripheral sitting in a drawer that I wanted to use so bad, but due to the state of corrosion on the battery contacts I packed it away and never really bothered with it. The overall condition wasn’t bad so when I saw it at the outlet store I tossed it in my bag anyway; whats the harm in buying a vintage gaming peripheral even if it may never work again? That peripheral is the NUBY Game Light, a neat little device that slides on to your original DMG-001 and lights up the screen so you can play in the dark.
When I originally found it I popped it open to make sure there were no batteries left inside, if I’m paying by weight I’m not paying for old, corroded batteries too! The corrosion didn’t alarm me until I got home, to have a deeper look inside the unit itself to see exactly what was going on and to map out how to fix it. All of the contacts were covered in a thick blue and rust colored layer of corrosion, so I reluctantly just packed it away in favor of doing something easier.
I put the NUBY on one of my DMGs that doesn’t have a screen protector, hoping that the Game Light would keep anything that would do the screen harm far enough away. So every time I opened up that drawer to grab my working Game Boy, there it was, staring me in the face, almost begging for help. After a while of seeing it, and wondering what it did exactlty, I decided I would take on the challenge to clean the contacts, but how?
I did some research online as to what would remove corrosion from battery contacts, the most popular result was to use vinegar but I didn’t have any handy. After a quick rethink I went to the old standard way of cleaning and polishing small metal parts, STEEL WOOL! The steel wool polished up the contacts on the door quite well, which turned out to be brass, but the contacts deep inside the Game Light were a bit harder to reach.
The poor man’s ingenuity kicked in! I grabbed a pair of needle-nose pliers and grasped a small chunk of steel wool in the end. After giving all four of the inner contacts a good rubbing, or as good as I could get, they turned out ok.
After all the contacts were cleaned I checked inside to see which way the batteries went, when the sheer excess of the NUBY Game Light hit me. This thing takes four AA batteries, thats the exact same required to power the DMG-001! Four AA batteries to power 2 LEDs compared to the same to power everything needed to have a complete handheld gaming experience in your hands, it didn’t make sense. But these were the 90s, when technology wasn’t as sharp as it is now, so I will let it slide.
After popping in the thirsty beast’s battery requirements I slide it on to my Game Boy and flipped the switch, success! The LEDs are very bright and since they are in direct contact with the screen, as opposed to the LEDs in a magnifying unit that are so far away from the screen they barely do any good, the NUBY Game Light actually brightens up the screen pretty well. I was pleasantly surprised with the results to say the least.
With advances in modern technology, and the modification community, many people are using custom backlight/frontlight kits for their old DMG Game Boys. Admittedly I would love to have a backlit DMG, but I don’t want to modify any of my Game Boys, perhaps I’m too much of a purist in that sense. Over the years I’ve owned many of those hokey magnifier units that only slightly brighten the screen, but thats never been good enough. With the NUBY Game Light I can see much better, although its far from perfect, especially with its battery requirements, but it does a lot better than any alternative I’ve tried.
About the author
Samuel Floyd first fell into video gaming with the Atari 2600...in the mid-90s! Always late into the system wars, Samuel enjoys that as he acquires them when they're cheap and the hot titles of yesteryear are bountiful. Samuel loves RPGs, his favorite being Crystalis for the NES.