As Ninetendo's Game Boy celebrates its 20th anniversary, we take a look at what makes the gaming handheld tick inside.
Cleft in twain
Enough of the outside of the Game Boy - it's time to dive in. After removing six slightly annoying screws, I carefully cracked open the unit. The Game Boy's internals consist of two major circuit boards, seen here attached to the two halves of the device. Connecting them is a thin ribbon cable (middle) that serves as a freeway of sorts for power and I/O data.
Now that I've carefully unplugged the ribbon cable, you can see the two halves of the Game Boy in more detail. The top half (left) contains the LCD screen, the speaker, and the control-pad elements. The bottom half (right) holds the main motherboard, the cartridge slot, and the battery compartment.
Examining the back half
Here I've removed the motherboard (right) from the back half of the Game Boy. Attached to the motherboard are two smaller circuit boards; the one at the bottom sports a headphone jack, and the other one appears to have something to do with power regulation. The shiny metal plate on the plastic case is part of the cartridge-port assembly and probably doubles as RF (radio frequency) shielding.
Here you can see the major motherboard components. The largest chip, in the center of the board, is the CPU (labeled 'DMG-CPU B'). The original Game Boy used a custom Z80 microprocessor. Another interesting feature was the link port, which allowed you to connect two Game Boys with a serial cable so that you could play with (or against) your mate in any games offering that capacity.
NEXT PAGE: Examining the front half