Game Boy Carry All by Nexoft / Asciiware

The Nexoft Gameboy Carry All was something I was seriously wanting to add to the portable storage article I wrote a while back, but I couldn’t manage to win one off ebay until recently. Although I’ve never seen one out in the wild I wouldn’t consider these storage cases to be rare, but they seem to be fairly hard to find! Always with an OCD for storing my video games and portable systems I had to own one, and here it is.


Mine says Nexoft, but I’ve seen them by Asciiware as well. From what I’ve seen online they are the exact same thing, just different company names. I’m assuming they were produced in the same factory and the names were printed on in different locations of that factory.


This case holds a Gameboy, up to 8 games, the Gameboy link cable, a pair of small earphones and possibly spare batteries, all within this compact unit. My only real annoyance comes not from the case itself but from Gameboy game cases. If you use game cases this will only hold a maximum of 4 games, but without cases you can store up to 8. Its not the carry all’s fault, but why would you only want to carry around (or store) 4 games?

4 games without cases or 2 with, why would you need cases within a case?

4 games without cases or 2 with, why would you need cases within a case?

A very useful feature is the way it holds the Gameboy inside with a stationary bit in one corner and a quick release tab at the top. This keeps the Gameboy nice and snug within its own side, so you don’t have to worry about loose cartridges falling out when you close the unit up, just close it with the game part down.


I’m not sure whether this is common or maybe this particular one wasn’t used very often, but it doesn’t close well at all. I really have to give it a fair bit of pressure to get it to close. Being as old as it is I’m slightly worried about the plastic being too brittle. But once it all aligns the unit is held closed with a very sturdy clip, which holds it closed tight and secure.


As I only use it for storage the Nexoft/ASCIIWare Carry All serves its purpose of storing and protecting my Gameboy and a handful of games and accessories. Its small, light and compact with a carry strap, which I’ll never use but I’ll leave on anyway. But as I stated before with the plastic being this old it seems slightly brittle, so I couldn’t use this as a travel carrying case.

Posted December 31st, 2013

Aftermarket Game Boy Color Housing


Looking at the image above you may find it difficult to tell which one is the authentic yellow Game Boy Color and which has an aftermarket replacement housing. The authentic yellow is on the right and the aftermarket is on the left, but once you look a little closer the differences start to become apparent. Until recently I didn’t have an official yellow GBC to compare the after market housing to, now that I do I will be comparing them side by side.

About two years ago I picked up my second lime green GBC with a rather nasty scratch on the screen cover (featured in Sam’s Scores Game Boy edition). I weighed my options of buying just a replacement screen cover or replacing the whole housing and having a color that I didn’t already have. Given the choices, I settled on a yellow replacement housing and waited just over a month for it to arrive.

From my many trips through thrift stores and flea markets I felt more and more confident with my purchase of a yellow housing, as it seems to be the hardest of the six colors released in North America to find. After a while I felt as if I could pass it off as an official yellow GBC, if anyone asked. Initially I couldn’t tell the difference between the aftermarket housing and the other Game Boy Colors I acquired, but over time I noticed that it felt slightly lighter and the housing seemed to be a bit more transparent.

Aftermarket on the left, clearly you can see more through it than you can the OEM on the right.

Aftermarket on the left, clearly you can see more through it than you can the OEM on the right.

Then I acquire an official yellow GBC, which was missing its battery cover, as well as having a whole chunk that required a little hot glue work, which didn’t turn out too well. I attempted to place the battery cover from the aftermarket shell into the OEM Game Boy Color, but it wouldn’t fit. I soon discovered there are small tabs on top of the tabs used to hold it in place that prevent it from going into any of my OEM GBC housings. That made me look deeper into what else was different between the two.

Hard to spot but look closely and you'll see a textured area in the center of the tab.

Hard to spot but look closely and you’ll see a textured area in the center of the tab.

At first glance they both seem fairly close, but if you look closer you’ll notice all of the embossed lettering around the console seem to be slightly thinner and less sharp than the OEM. All OEM Game Boy Colors have crisp and clean lettering, I assume from a solid casting process. Where I assume the aftermarket housings are made in haste from the cast of an official GBC and the finer detail is slightly lost in translation.


Maybe I just got the raw end of the deal and purchased mine from the wrong place, or maybe all of them are this cheaply made. I can’t deny that these aftermarket housings are a great choice to replace a beaten or broken housing, but don’t forget to purchase a triwing screwdriver! Which brings up another issue, the housing I bought didn’t come with any screws or the infrared cover on the top, maybe I was just screwed (get it?) out of them, so I’m glad I had those parts from the old housing.

Alone, an aftermarket shell could easily be passed off as an official GBC, but when compared to the real thing the differences quickly become clear. These housings are available in all of the officially released GBC colors, except limited editions, giving Game Boy Color fans all kinds of options to mix and match shell color combinations. All the small differences set aside they do their job and bring new life to any GBC that just needs a new place to live.

Posted December 8th, 2013

Video Game Storage 4: Portable Organizers

I thought I was done with Video Game Storage Part 3, but I was wrong. Only recently did it occur to me that I completely overlooked one of my absolute favorite organizing sets: Portable! When I check a thrift store I often check the backpacks and purses or handbags, as the thrift store employees aren’t always too bright, to see if they’ve slipped in a small video game storage bag.

Even though I have no immediate use for them I still love to pick them up. I find it hard to pass up a good deal on one, even if I already have 10 of them. A while back I even did an article with some tips on how to clean them, which doesn’t always work, but usually makes them look a lot better than they did in the thrift store.

Sega Game Gear Carrying Case

This is one of my favorite carrying cases, this case holds the Sega Game Gear, rechargeable battery pack, the DC power adapter, the official screen magnifier and up to 12 games, and whatever else you can toss into the cracks. On the front and the back there are pockets to store paper work or whatever cables or doodads you want to toss in there. My main complaint with this bag is finding one with the insert still intact; I personally own 3 of these bags and only 1 had an insert that I could keep and use. You may remember that I did an article where I repurposed one of these bags to hold my Sega Saturn and its component parts. A very useful bag, just have a little imagination if the insert is trashed.


Nintendo Game Boy Shaped Carry Case

I found this sitting in a flea market for $1, and later that day two very generous guys let me take the matching Game Boy Color they had found while shopping at the outlet store. I’ve always wanted to collect the large, Game Boy shaped, hard plastic cases, but these are becoming harder and harder to find, in any condition! The layout inside this one is a removeable tray with room for some Game Boy/GBC games in two slots at the top, misc. room for batteries, cables or a few additional games in the middle and the Game Boy Color fits snuggly within a cradle above that. I wish I could find more of these, just to have them for each color Game Boy Color I own.


Nylon Game Boy Carry Bags with Plastic Insert

I find these almost everywhere I go and they come in 2 outward variations, although I can’t find the insert variation no matter how hard I try. One states that it is for the Nintendo Game Boy and uses the older logo, while the other says Game Boy Color, which makes it unmistakably for the Game Boy Color. The problem being that no matter what I can’t find one that fits the original DMG, even though I’ve seen a few (literally 2 or 3) online that prove they were manufactured. The inside of these are the exact same tray as the Game Boy shaped cases above, but these are simply black to match the padded nylon bag. The back of the bag has a zip up pocket for manuals or whatever else you want to slide in there, but the strap sewn to either side really gets on my nerves, as I don’t find it useful nor can it be removed. A couple of the ones I’ve found have chipped or cracked inserts, but they still remain sturdy, coupled with the excellently padded bag these are my favorite carry cases for the Game Boy Color.


Personally Modified Version of Above

As I mentioned in the last sentence above some of the inserts were chipped or cracked, so I took one of the worst off and modified it for my own needs. I originally attempted to make it fit a DMG Game Boy, which doesn’t fit well enough for me to feel comfortable zipping it shut. I later discovered that my Game Genie for Game Boy fits almost perfectly, or at least well enough to take up residence within. So now this case will hold my Game Boy Game Genie, the games and cables.


Padded Nylon Carry Bags

Made of the same material as the carrying cases above, these bags are padded nylon that come in a few variations as well. There is the Game Boy Color logo, old Game Boy logo and I have a yellow and purple Pikachu version, but there are many other versions as well. This time there is no hard plastic insert to dictate what goes inside, simply a pocket on the side that will allow for the DMG, Game Boy Pocket/Light or the Game Boy Color, making these bags much more versatile. There is another pocket at the top that will allow for a few game cartridges (4 in hard cases, maybe 6 loose), with another pocket on the back for manuals, cables, extra batteries, etc. I find these quite often, all but the Pokemon themed ones, and I find them very useful, although they don’t hold enough games.


Non-padded Nylon Carry Bags

These are bags that I own but I do not use, as they’re not padded. I know, I know! The Game Boy is rugged and can take a few falls, trust me I tested its tolerance many times when I was younger. The material these bags are made of is a little softer than that of the padded bags, without any padding. Maybe these are canvas (?), I’m not a fabric/material guy so I couldn’t tell you what this material is, honestly. I do know that I wanted to add them to my collection even if I don’t use them. They’re constructed the exact same as the padded nylon bags, but again these don’t have any padding in them.


Miscellaneous Nylon Carry Bags

The one on the left doesn’t really seem to offer much space for anything other than 6 or so Game Boy cartridges, but it may hold a Game Boy Color system, I haven’t checked. The one on the right does hold a Game Boy Color system and was something that I had seen online and wanted pretty badly, until I got my hands on one. The idea is to protect the GBC and allow the user to play it while it remains in the protective storage, this isn’t exactly ideal and quickly become apparent that its much easier to take the thing out of the case and just use the case for storage.


Game System Padded Carry Case

This is a generic case that is much like the nylon padded carry cases, except this one fits the original Game Boy and quite a few other accessories. While running mine through the washer the torque twisted the foam on the top, leaving it in a huge wet mass. As it dried I could somewhat get it back into place, but it will never be the exact same again. Regardless the hard plastic seems a little more brittle than the official nylon carry cases and the material and padding are substantially thinner as well. Admittedly I staged the open image below to show how things would fit in, if I weren’t using it to store my misfit Game Boy Advance accessories.


Game Boy Carry Case

I believe these to be the officially licensed versions of the above, albeit much worse. I picked up a pair of these throughout my hunting and used to store my Game Boy inside one, with a handful of batteries, games and some manuals. I started to notice that when I would pull it back out everything inside was covered in a black dust, even if the top was zipped shut. The inside liner was covered in a black fur that seemed to be coming loose and the other didn’t have the fur, so I switched everything over to that one, when I kept noticing the same problem! It didn’t take long to realize the foam from the top was pouring down onto the contents within (see last pic below). Needless to say I can’t use them, but they are Game Boy storage, so I guess I should at least give them an honorable mention.


Game Boy Fanny Pack (Bum bag to our friends across the pond)

One of my very first storage solutions was the black and neon pink fanny pack my mom bought me with my original Game Boy, all those years ago. I believe I also had it up until I sold the whole lot of Game Boy stuff. Even though its fashionable side has long since been shot dead I really wish I still had my original or could find another in decent condition.

Play it Loud Packaging Case

Right up until I sold my black Play it Loud Game Boy, years ago, I remember keeping the clear plastic case that it came in right from the factory. I thought it was genius as it allowed for tons of extra batteries, plenty of cartridge and cable storage and the system was intended to fit in from the start! I wish I had kept that Game Boy, hell I even wish I could just find another one of those cases somewhere.

Posted December 7th, 2013

Retro Rechargeables

Like many vintage gaming fans, my first portable system was the Nintendo Game Boy. What I didn’t realize at the time was just how power hungry the little thing was, like a portable video game dictator. As the frequency of “Mom (or Dad), I need batteries for my Game Boy!” reached a fevered pitch, my mother bought me a rechargeable battery pack, which took forever to charge and only last as long as it took for me to get to a level boss.

As an adult I try not to pass them up when (more like if) I find them in a thrift store; I often say I would rather loathe owning something than regret not owning it when presented with the chance, if its cheap enough that is. In a previous article I showed off the SGRL system that I picked up simply based on its similar shape to the Game Boy Color battery cover, which turned out well in my favor. Shortly after I found another, this time just the battery pack and along the way I’ve found a handful of other retro rechargeables. For the most part many of them won’t hold a charge, as I assume the batteries have long since lost their ability to do so, but just having them around as relics of bygone technology and little piece of video gaming lore is something I find thoroughly enjoyable!

Nintendo Game Boy Rechargeable Battery Pack

I never had one of these when I originally had my Game Boy, mine was Doc’s brand and fit into the battery compartment from what I recall, but this is quite the nifty little battery pack. This was the official deal, licensed by Nintendo and sold off to all the kids who wanted power on the go. The cable has quite a bit of length on it and the pack itself has a clip, so the user can clip it into their belt and walk around aimlessly (perhaps into traffic), all while keeping their eyes on that Game Boy game. This didn’t require any strange power supplies either, it was a fairly standard direct DC cable used by most smaller home stereos at the time. Just plug it up and wait 8 hours, play until the battery runs out and do it all over again, what joy! Sadly due to the size of the plug this will only work on the original DMG Game Boys.

Power Pak Color by Performance

This one requires a standard Game Boy Pocket/Color (or even GBA) power adapter, so recharging it shouldn’t be too difficult as long as you have one of those lying around. Despite being bulky and uncomfortable while in use, the Power Pak color has 2 unique features that make me wish it were totally useful. Firstly the Power Pak Color has a charge viewing window at the bottom (much like the Energizer batteries in the 90s with the little charge meter on the side), often times it doesn’t work or the button gets stuck, but only after a short charge it fills up completely and all too quickly goes dead, rendering this feature pretty useless. Secondly, and what I find most excitingly, is a clever little storage space on the back for the Game Boy Color’s real battery cover, which would have nowhere else to go if it wasn’t for this little space. Due to its size and shape this will only work on the Game Boy Color.

SGRL Battery Pack and Charging Dock

I thought long and hard about adding this to the list and figured I may as well go ahead, even though I’ve already gone over it briefly. The SGRL is by far the most comfortable rechargeable battery pack I currently own for the Game Boy Color, sadly neither of them will hold a charge. The product gives no hint whatsoever as to what its for, other than the shape in both the charging dock and the battery pack itself. The charging dock uses the same power adapter as the Game Boy Pocket/Color, but there is not other way to charge the battery pack without the dock, sadly. This too is shapes strictly for the Game Boy Color and will not work on any other system.

Sega Game Gear Battery Pack

This one came bundled (I mean Goodwill packing taped) together with a Sega Game Gear I picked up a few years ago. Since I find the Game Gear a bit of a handful anyway, I didn’t really need to use the battery pack and stashed it away thinking I would never need it. As time went by the curiosity of whether or not the thing even worked set it, so I pulled it out and gave it a good charge. This pack uses the same power adapter as the Genesis 2 (MK-2103), so I just plugged it up and left it to charge. After a few hours I checked if there was any progress at all and no, there wasn’t any life coming out of this thing at all. If the unit worked I assume it may very well power the Genesis 2 or 3, since it has the same end as the MK-2103, which would be a little silly but fun nonetheless!

There are many other rechargeable systems created for vintage gaming portables that I don’t currently own, but if I manage to find a new one I’ll be sure to give it a quick review. I’ve passed up many along the way because I know they either won’t work or won’t hold a charge, like the ones I currently have, but I’ve regretted passing them up later down the road.

An easy way to test if the circuits in a retro rechargeable are working properly is to plug the battery in, as if to recharge it, and attach it to the system, then turn the system on. This should work as a simple pass-thru and power the system, but this only shows that the circuit is working properly and does not give any indication of whether or not the battery will hold a charge. Remember that these batteries often required 8 hours or more to charge fully and even as a brand new product (citing the Nintendo manual for the officially licensed battery pack) the battery will slowly discharge whether in use or not.

With advancements in modern technology its much easier to grab a handful of modern rechargeable AA or AAA batteries and just go to town until you’re fingers go numb, then charge them up over night. But I still find it fascinating to look back and see where that technology has come from. It was a long struggle to get where we are, and someday we will look back at today’s technology and scoff just the same, but just remember it was once brand new.

Posted December 6th, 2013