There is something strangely cathartic about seeing an old piece of hardware that has suffered the fate of time and neglect, get restored to its original glory (or close to it). Maybe on a psychological level, this plays to our recognition of our own mortality. Or maybe it's just the nostalgia. Whatever the case might be, there is a video making the rounds of an old, beat up Nintendo Game Boy being lovingly restored, and it's worth taking a coffee break to watch.
First released in 1989, the original Game Boy is an 8-bit handheld console that predates the Nintendo Switch by nearly three decades. It was a hugely popular system for its time, selling over 1 million units in the US alone during the first few weeks of availability. While technically inferior to the competition at the time, the system's long battery life and growing catalog of games helped make it a resounding success for Nintendo.
The original Game Boy has long been discontinued. Because there were so many sold, however, Game Boy systems are not too terribly difficult to find, though the condition can vary wildly. YouTube channel Odd Tinkering got its hands on one that was in rough shape and gave it a delightful restoration.
"As a 90’s kid I thought it would be cool to restore a Game Boy... I bought this one from Japan. It’s obviously dirty but it’s also very yellow... the screen is broken and it is missing a lot of vertical lines. Otherwise it seems to be fine. I had some issues with turning it on when I tested it but after I got it on, I’ve had no trouble," Odd Tinkering wrote.
Seeing old electronics brought back to life is satisfying in and of itself, but if you also enjoy ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) videos, which are all the rage these days, you are in for a double treat. The ASMR effects are not overdone, but exist just enough to make this video even more nifty.
During the nearly 15-minute video, Odd Tinkering completely disassembles the Game Boy. In some parts, there is complementary text, though the video's description is far more thorough. It's a delicate process—perhaps not as delicate as tearing down some modern day gadgets, but there is certainly a level of difficulty here. For example, melting solder was required at one point to fix lines on the screen.
The use of ethanol played a key role in this restoration. It was used both to help remove some stubborn glue on the inside, and to clean the exterior shell. Soaking the chassis in a a tub of soapy water helped as well.
It took a lot of work, but the end result is a Game Boy with a new lease on life. Kudos to Odd Tinkering for the excellent restoration, and for documenting the process from start to finish in a video.
Images from Odd Tinkering via YouTube