Who would have thought that GTA 5 would come to the Game Boy before the Nintendo Switch? Grand Theft Auto 5 has reared its head on many platforms, with even more joining in March with the Expanded and Enhanced release – unless it is delayed. However, courtesy of one particularly determined and enterprising hardware modder, there is another unexpected platform on which now GTA 5 has been played; the Game Boy.
Thanks to the wonders of game streaming and no small measure of technical wizardry from one Sebastian Staacks, playing GTA 5 on an original, unmodified Game Boy – or even an Analogue Pocket, a more recent nostalgia handheld, albeit with some graphical glitches – became reality.
To be entirely accurate here, this isn’t GTA 5 running on a Game Boy, which would be entirely impossible, no matter how much you tweak the settings or dig into configuration files. It’s a 2D dot matrix console, after all.
No, the Game Boy isn’t running a game at all in this case – all of the magic happens in a game cartridge, and even that isn’t directly running GTA 5. Again, that would be absurd. The modded custom cartridge is actually a Game Boy Wi-Fi adapter, designed to slot into the receptacle where you usually plugged your games into. So what is a Game Boy going to do with Wi-Fi anyway, especially if you can’t play games on it because the slot is occupied?
That’s where an entirely different console comes into the picture – a modern PlayStation, which is actually running GTA 5 and streaming it to the now Wi-Fi capable Game Boy. It’s quite the experience, seeing the game that’s been at the forefront of visual detail and graphical fidelity for years rendered on the Game Boy’s small, monochrome dot matrix screen.
Not only is the Game Boy serving as a visual output device for the instance of GTA 5 being streamed to the modded Wi-Fi cartridge, but it also works as an input device as well – limited as it is with the provided number of buttons. Not only can you see the lowest-fi rendition of Los Santos ever, but you can control it to a limited degree as well.
This is hardly the ideal way to experience GTA 5, but the exercise is rather one in mere possibility – can something this ludicrous be achieved? More technologically minded gamers have been making some titles run on the least expected devices for as long as the hobby has been around, though usually the candidate is a classic FPS where you shoot demons.
In this gaming climate filled with remasters, remakes and all sorts of new flashy graphical effects like ray tracing, taking a major AAA title and essentially downgrading it in this way is a weird sort of refreshing. Since the Game Boy is just a conduit for streamed content, it could be used to stream all sorts of modern games, not just GTA 5.
In any case, we’re hoping this isn’t the last time the title graces a Nintendo platform.