Review: Epilogue GB Operator – A Handy Tool for Game Boy Collectors

Image: Damien McFerran / Deadline extension

Epilogue is a Romanian company that has recently made headlines thanks to the fact that it is currently working on a device that will allow you to play your original SNES and Super Famicom cartridges directly from your computer – as well as retain your save data and check if a cartridge is legitimate or not.

There’s a lot of interest in this new product, which is due out soon, but we thought now would be a great time to check out the previous version of Epilogue, the 50GB carrier. This device has been available for a few years now, but the software behind it has evolved at a fairly constant rate, making now the perfect opportunity to try it out.

The GB Operator is a small unit that connects to your PC or Mac via a USB connection. Once connected, you need to download and install the Playback app – and that’s it as far as setup goes. Getting the device to work is as simple as it could be, although there are plenty of options to tinker with in Playback (more on those in a second, though).

The GB operator accepts Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance cartridges. By inserting one into the device’s cartridge slot, game art and a brief description are instantly displayed in the Playback application; you are also immediately informed whether the cartridge is an original or a pirated copy (incidentally, some flash carts, like those in the popular Everdrive line, are not supported).

The games are loaded into the open source mGBA emulator and run wonderfully. You’ll naturally want to use a proper controller in this case, but for all intents and purposes, you’re participating in “legal” emulation when you use this device – and it’s a great way to maintain that physical connection with your collection. while enjoying modern benefits, such as better image quality and other emulation-only bonuses.

For example, you can fast forward to speed up slower sections of games, and Playback includes a built-in database of cheat codes that can easily be activated before starting a game. You can also enable Super Game Boy borders when running compatible titles. Hell, it’s even possible to upload your Game Boy Camera shots using this device.

Indeed, the GB Operator is really useful in terms of preservation. The device allows you to dump save data onto your cartridge so you can keep them for posterity and also use them with other emulators – you can also download saves to the original carts (even if they come from of a flash basket). It is also possible to delete entire games using this feature, allowing you to create legal backups of your collection.

Another nice feature is that progress made while playing games through GB Operator is loaded onto the cartridge, so you pick up where you left off when you put the cart back in a real Game Boy system.

Although GB Operator’s playback software improves with each iteration, there are still some features missing, with save states being the most notable. Save states are not currently mentioned in the Epilogue roadmap, but we hope they will be included at some point in the future. However, since the device is focused on keeping the “real” saves on the cart, there’s a good chance they won’t be. , so factor this into your purchasing decision accordingly.

Taking into account what it plans to do, the GB operator pretty much achieves it. The hardware is small and easily portable, the emulation is excellent, and the Playback app is evolving into something that’s packed with options and features. The problem is that it’s still a niche product – and it’s clear that, without a computer, it’s little more than a paperweight.

However, if you’re looking for a way to enjoy your Game Boy library while sitting at your computer – or if you want to preserve your collection or back up data – then this makes a lot of sense, especially at such a time. reasonable price.

Image: Damien McFerran / Deadline extension

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