Steam Deck Game Boy cartridge reader
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You Can Now Play Game Boy Cartridges on Steam Deck

Last Updated on June 3, 2023

Half of the games I have installed on my Steam Deck at the moment are retro titles: Zool, Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, Thief, and The Settlers. Despite its power and capabilities as a AAA gaming device, the Steam Deck has considerable potential as a retro gaming device way beyond the PC confines.

We’ve already seen how Batocera can be run from an SD card. This goes one further: the GB Operator cartridge reader and companion app (which relies on mGBA as its core emulator) have been deemed “fully compatible” with the Steam Deck.

Developers Epilogue created the reader as a bridge, enabling Nintendo Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance cartridges to be loaded through an emulator on a Windows PC. Compatibility has since been expanded to macOS and Linux, and consequently, the Steam Deck (which runs a SteamOS based on Arch Linux).

While you can load up ROMs that others have created, the GB Operator gives you the opportunity not just to play your original Game Boy series carts, but also dump the ROMs. This is a great way to retrieve save games, too. The GB Operator also supports writing to blank cartridges, ideal for homebrew developers. It can even detect counterfeit cartridges.

Meanwhile, it seems that ambitions don’t stop with playing Game Boy carts on the Steam Deck.

Until that happens, the GB Operator is available direct from Epilogue’s website with a listed price of $49.

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