Satisfying Game Boy Restoration
from to on 15 May 00:39

“Do you want this old thing?” My uncle asked, pulling the old Game Boy from an end table drawer. “Your cousin didn’t want it anymore so I’ve kept it. Your aunt and I played Tetris on it for years, but now the screen’s all messed up and the buttons hardly work.”

Memories flooded back to me of begging my cousin for a turn at Metroid 2 in the back seat of my aunt’s Chevrolet Corsica on the way home from the zoo. Passing it around playing Kirby and Super Mario while at a birthday sleepover with a dozen other 3rd graders. Pleading with my Dad for one for my own birthday.

As I flipped the switch, Tetris music filled my ears. It was dirty, and the screen had vertical lines, but I couldn’t say no. It was FINALLY mine!

I got to work right away. I was able to resolve the vertical lines by reflowing the solder on the screen, and then I cleaned up the motherboard with alcohol while I soaked the shell in an Oxyclean solution. Now she’s running in tip-top shape! A friend called me a glutton for punishment for not replacing the screen, but I want it just like it is. Every scratch tells a story!

Super excited! Had to share with y’all!


threaded - newest on 15 May 01:12 next collapse

Wow, it cleaned up real nice! on 15 May 01:34 collapse

It really did! Now I have to get to work collecting all the games! on 15 May 01:26 next collapse

DOT MATRIX WITH STEREO SOUND on 15 May 01:52 next collapse

My first thought when seeing but before reading is “OP should replace the screen”. But I can respect you wanting to keep it original.

Great work, looks nice! on 15 May 02:08 collapse

Haha I know what you mean. Replacing with a backlit screen or at least replacing the lens did cross my mind at first, too. As I thought about how many years of memories I had with it, and how treasured it was by my kin at one time, I just didn’t have the heart. There’s an old saying about car restoration that I think applies to this situation.

“It’s only Original once.” on 15 May 02:16 collapse

“The Gameboy of Theseus” on 15 May 02:43 next collapse

Damn, it felt like the screen was bigger when I was a kid. I must've played thousands of hours of Tetris... on 15 May 04:11 next collapse


I recently found my game boy color with my copy of Pokemon Red in it - a fresh set of batteries and it started the game just fine, but most of the buttons are non functional. Did you need to replace the buttons, or did they just work after cleaning with alcohol?

I wonder if oxyclean will work for my lime green gbc or if something else would be better? on 15 May 04:33 collapse

Hey! So I had to clean the contacts on the motherboard fairly vigorously with rubbing alcohol and a microfiber cloth in order to get the buttons to register again. In my case it appears that something sugary had been spilled on the Gameboy and seeped down to the motherboard. I didn’t have to replace the buttons, just clean the button membranes of residue.

And the Oxyclean solution I used on the housing was about 1/4 cup liquid concentrated Oxyclean to 32 oz of warm water. I soaked all plastics for 2 hours and then I brushed with a soft bristle toothbrush. It won’t damage the color of your plastics at all, but may lighten them to the degree that you can see in my pics. Lots of people use the Oxyclean solution for colored Gameboys. There are suggestions out there for stronger solution recipes but I didn’t want to take any risks. More than anything, it seems like Oxyclean helps with the yellowing that occurs over time, but beyond that, the soak helps make the grime loosen up so it can be brushed out of the crevasses.

Edit: you will need a precision screwdriver set that includes triwing bits to disassemble the Gameboy. I got a budget set on Amazon by a company called “Jorest” for $9 USD. It included all the right bits and spudgers and picks to get it cleaned up no problem. I’m not sure if links to products are allowed here so I’m not comfortable providing a direct link. Part number was AJJOJM0101ORDCAR1 if that helps. on 15 May 06:34 collapse

Thanks for all of the advice! I’ll have to try and get my gbc working again too. I knew I needed some specialty bits to disassemble but wasn’t completely sure what. on 15 May 04:15 next collapse

Please tell me you have Tetris… on 15 May 04:19 collapse

I got it right here!! <img alt="" src=""> on 15 May 04:24 collapse

One of the greatest achievements of mankind ♥️ on 15 May 04:21 next collapse

You know what’s bittersweet about this is that my aunt died of dementia. My uncle said she held onto it and played it for years. It makes me wonder what she thought about as she held her son’s favorite toy. on 15 May 05:47 next collapse

I’m the same way — I’d simply never remove working components from my childhood Game Boy. There’s a real connection to an object that you can have. I hope to be buried with mine! on 17 May 04:12 collapse

I got updates! I got my hands on a copy of Link’s Awakening. I forgot how awesome this machine is. <img alt="" src="">