I recently had the privilege of taking an up close look at a very strange, but very cool, Game Boy Color Prototype Development board called the CGB-STB-X2. We know it’s a prototype due to the “X” designation in it’s code name (CGB-STB- “X” 2) as this is the nomenclature that Nintendo uses internally to designate all prototypes.
What so unique about this board is it’s very odd layout. It has all the primary components of the Game Boy Color on it, but all spread out on this rather large PCB, presumably to make testing and debugging games easier for the developer. Everything from the screen, speaker and even the buttons are on there. Additionally the Boot screen on this is quite a bit different from what you and I are used to. When you turn this unit on, you are greeted with a blue screen with the classic Nintendo logo rather than the classic game boy color splash screen which is very cool.
One major issue with this development unit is that it’s not compatible with a lot of games. Earlier original Game Boy games like Tetris seem to work fine, but every Game Boy Color game that I tested on it had lot’s of glitches or were downright unplayable. I think this is what really makes this kit so unique. It was made so early in the development of the Game Boy Color, that it’s not even compatible with many, if not all, Game Boy Color games.
Now another cool thing that I found after I had filmed my video was a never before seen color palette selection menu. Thanks to a twitter user by the name of Lori Halphon who suggested that I press and hold start and select while turning the unit on. It actually turns out that if you hold any button down while powering one the unit (A, B, Start or Select), you can access this menu. I made a post on Twitter showcasing the results:
Is this a perhaps “never before seen” color palette selection menu on the prototype game boy color? Thanks to @LIJI32 for suggesting I check this out! Wish I included this in the this week’s video 😭 https://t.co/ezFOMecUA4 pic.twitter.com/JrXBtddW4i
— Macho Nacho Productions (@machonachomedia) January 26, 2024
For a closer look at this odd piece of kit, as well as other Game Boy Color development equipment, definitely check out the video linked above.