For years the only option for GameBoy Colors was installing a frontlight mod due to the way the screens were build. This wasn’t perfect at all and people badly wanted a true backlight solution for the best experience since like the Colors’ release in 1998.While the original DMG, the Gameboy Pocket etc had backlight options and more available for years the GameBoy Color was always missing out. Due to the way the screen was designed it isn’t possible to take it apart like with the earlier models. And while frontlight kits were easily installable and did their job so you could play your gameboy in the dark, it still wasn’t perfect and looked washed out.
Here is a direct comparison with the original screen on the left, a frontlight in the middle and the new solution on the right:
While there were mods utilizing the Gameboy Advances’ AGS-101 screen for example (which wasn’t ideal either) the first real promising solution surfaced in 2017 called the TaoBao mod. Only very few were made and sold for insane prices. As it turned out these were using some kind of modded Smartphone screens but also needed heavy shell modifications to fit. STILL it was the first solution with pixel doubling and the sharpest image quality to date on original hardware! The hype was real..
After that it was clear this was the way to go for the ultimate experience and it didn’t take too long for dedicated people to design a whole new replacement screen..
Screen Overview in June 2019
Now in 2019 we have multiple almost ‘drop-in-only’ screens available. Only very minimal shell trimming is needed and prices are ‘okay’ I’d say. Here are the most popular ones available right now with installation videos for you:
Get it here: https://console5.com/store/mcwill-lcd-upgrade-kit-for-nintendo-game-boy-color-gbc.html
“BennVenn” (aka FreckelShack)
Get it here: https://bennvenn.myshopify.com/collections/aftermarket-lcds/products/backlit-gbc-drop-in-lcd-kit-pre-orders-batch5-with-brightness-controller?variant=20717730431079
Get it here: https://www.mw-embedded.com/product/gameboy-color-replacement-lcd-module/
The biggest drawback with all of these is probably the battery life with often less than 3 hours of gametime. And the fact that all the screens are slightly smaller still bugs a lot of people. But I’m more than certain even better revision will follow soon due to high demand and popularity. Yes, looks like all of them are out of stock currently..
So in the end its your decision on which one to get or maybe wait even longer for the perfect replacement screen.. I for my part will wait a little longer but will surely be back with a tutorial when the time has come!