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.
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.
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.