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The Mobile Game Boy Adapter
The Mobile Game Boy Adapter (Japanese: モバイルアダプタＧＢ Mobile Adapter GB) is a peripheral for the Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, and Game Boy Advance SP which allows players to connect to compatible Japanese mobile phones. The peripheral was a collaboration between Nintendo and Mobile21, a company that was jointly owned by Nintendo and Konami.
It was first released on January 27, 2001 (originally planned for December 2000) with a recommended retail price of ¥5800, before a price cut to ¥3800 from July 19, 2001. By late March 2001, Nikkei reported that Nintendo had only sold 80,000 units; the reason provided was that the only game to extensively use the Mobile Game Boy Adapter at the time was Pokémon Crystal, which was targeted at a younger audience whom may not have access to a mobile phone.
Pokémon Mobile System GB
- Main article: Pokémon Mobile System GB
As a part of a service known as Mobile System GB (Japanese: モバイルシステムＧＢ Mobile System GB), the Mobile Game Boy Adapter provided the hardware to compatible games, which used the network for wireless play across the nation via the now defunct
gameboy.datacenter.ne.jp server, hosted by Nintendo Network Service Development. KDDI was the internet service provider of the Mobile System GB's network. The most well-known Mobile System GB is the Pokémon Mobile System GB used in the Japanese releases of Pokémon Crystal and Pokémon Stadium 2.
Despite its promises, the service was not much of a commercial success and closed down in December 14, 2002, probably due to the additional costs involved and the target audience of its biggest user (Pokémon Crystal) being off-limits. The closure of the Mobile System GB service makes it impossible for players to link to the server; however, it is still possible to link with friends provided that a peer-to-peer network is used.
Boxart of the Mobile Game Boy Adapter package
The package was bundled with the original Mobile Game Boy Adapter itself, which was a blue cable that could be used to connect to compatible Japanese mobile phones. Included with the Mobile Game Boy Adapter is the "Mobile Trainer" cartridge, that only boots up when the Mobile Game Boy Adapter is connected to a compatible Japanese mobile phone. A special edition of the Mobile Game Boy Adapter came packaged with Mobile Golf, which was a spin-off to the Mario Golf series used to test the Mobile Game Boy Adapter. After the Mobile Game Boy Adapter's release, different colored cables were sold separately which allows the player to connect to different types of phones, one of which was announced but never released.
In addition to the blue Mobile Game Boy Adapter cable, three other cables were announced, all of which were sold separately, apart from the green adapter, which was never released. They all allowed the player to connect to different types of phones.
- Blue: the original cable packaged with the Mobile Game Boy Adapter. Supports connections to a digital cell phone terminal PDC. The cable allowed for a maximum bit rate of 9600 bits per second (bps).
- Yellow: this cable connects to a cdmaOne mobile phone, allowing for a maximum bit rate of 14.4 kilobits per second (kbps).
- Red: this cable connects to a DDI mobile phone, with a maximum bit rate of 36.6 kilobits per second (kbps).
- Green: this cable would have support PHS devices from Astel and NTT DoCoMo, but it was ultimately never released.
The Mobile Trainer cartridge
Mobile Trainer (Japanese: モバイルトレーナー Mobile Trainer) is a cartridge which came packaged with the Mobile Adapter GB itself, developed by MissingLink, the parent company of Denyusha. Prior to its release, it was previously given the tentative name of Mobile Starter Cartridge (Japanese: モバイルスターターカートリッジ Mobile Starter Cartridge). The cartridge served as a general guide to the Mobile System GB, which included a help menu about how to use the service and a glossary of key terms. Under a mobile settings menu, the player was able to alter their registration details, and confirm their remaining balance.
When the player boots up the cartridge, a connection screen checks whether the Mobile Game Boy Adapter is connected. The software will progress past the loading screen only once connected to a compatible Japanese mobile phone. The cartridge offered an email system in which users could exchange text messages between each other. Another feature of the Mobile Trainer cartridge was access to the Mobile System GB homepage, which published featured articles around different compatible titles.
In the internal data of the Mobile Trainer ROM, graphics for Pokémon such as Pikachu, Porygon2 and Tyranitar have been found. The purposes of these graphics are unknown. It may be of note that Tyranitar uses artwork which more closely resembles its initial design from the early development of Pokémon Gold and Silver.
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List of compatible software
Below is a list of all known Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance software which supported the Mobile System GB.
The Mobile Game Boy Adapter was not the first Game Boy peripheral offering online play. From as early as March 6, 1998, Hudson Soft's GB Kiss Link Modem allowed players to access downloadable content from the Internet and send messages between friends, through a number of compatible games which had built-in infrared ports, such as Nectaris GB, the Japanese versions of Robopon for the Game Boy Color, as well as the GB Kiss Minigames cartridge which came packaged with the GB Kiss Link Modem. The Link Modem was available through mail order.