A few weeks ago, a man with a crooked smile nervously approached me. “You like Game Boy?,” he asked as he passed a bag of games towards me. “Sure,” I answered, quickly thumbing through the games, “How much?” He gave me a figure that I felt comfortable with, and I extended my arm, cash in hand. Moments later, the games were mine, and I hopped a bus bound for home, as fast as I could. Those games were mine!
Among a sea of crappy titles, I did discover a few diamonds in the rough: a Waixing RPG, some Sachen games, possibly a Yong Yong game or two. More interesting though, were the three game cartridges that went with the TV-Boy game machine that I had picked up a few weeks earlier. Like the Cai System from last post, it felt great to be able to find a game player and the proper software, so that I could try the thing out and see what it was about.
In design, the TV-Boy is slightly larger than a Game Boy Color machine, though it is also a bit smaller in size than an original Game Boy. Stealing the design from the Game Boy, the TV-Boy has an LCD screen with a built in brick game. In addition to the generic brick game, the TV-Boy is compatible with a series of cartridges, once again inspired by the Game Boy. The carts are housed in cases that are quite similar to those used by Sachen for their unlicensed Game Boy releases. Despite the similarities in size and shape, the cartridges are not compatible between the TV-Boy and Game Boy.
Furthermore, the TV-Boy contains AV ports on top, and a controller port on the bottom of the machine, allowing one to connect a generic 9-bit Famiclone joypad. There is also a spot to plug the TV-Boy into a power supply, or if you desire, you could run the game off of four AAA batteries. Now that we are done examining the exterior of the device, let’s see what secrets are contained within the game carts.
As the first cartridge loads up, something familiar stands before my very eyes: a generic menu with the words “138 in 1” written across the top. Randomly choosing a game, I scroll down the menu and select “Aladdin III”, which as we both know, is just an alias for Caltron’s Magic Carpet 1001.
I quickly sample a few of the other games as well, before ejecting the cart and throwing in the 76 in 1 game cartridge. When this one loads up, we are presented with yet another generic menu screen. Pocket Silver is an unlicensed original Pokemon game, which sometimes appears on Famicom multicarts.
So yeah, are you guys surprised? The TV-Boy is nothing more than a Famiclone, and the game cartridges are just NES multicarts packed into Game Boy-style carts. I have also heard rumors that there is an adaptor for the TV-Boy that allows you to directly connect Famicom carts to the machine, but I can’t confirm this either way.
Overall, the TV-Boy is a fun little Famiclone. I really like the look of this one, combining both the Famicom and the Game Boy to give the machine a special feel. On the other hand, the TV-Boy also has a few major flaws. To begin, the control pad is a bit stiff. Although I didn’t notice it so much when playing the LCD game, I have noticed it with the NES games. This isn’t a good thing, but maybe we can just think of it as providing our all-time favorites with a new challenge. The bigger problem, however, is that the amount of games available for this machine is limited. No one knows how many of those special multicarts were made, and even 100 different carts were produced, they are so rare these days that the chances of being able to find new games to play is miniscule. Alas, I guess this isn’t a serious problem either though, as most folks that are purchasing the TV-Boy are probably gamers / collectors like me 😉