Krogroth Game Boy

The launch of the Nintendo DS - which they are trying to position as a different platform from the Game Boy Advance, even though it is compatible with the Game Boy Advance, and ought to be called the Game Boy DS, except Nintendo is afraid that sounds too childish - reminded me of my original Game Boy.

I put every add-on I had on it and took a picture of it. I call it the "Krogroth Game Boy" after the big bad unit in Total Annihilation.

One of the first games I ever produced was "Caeser's Palace" for the original Game Boy. It was a gambling game and it sold very well over the years.

There was a bug in the original release of the game where if you crossed over either $32,768 or $65,536 the game would give you negative money or something.

It never happened in testing because nobody at Virgin ever thought anyone would possible go "double or nothing" enough times in a row, which is pretty much what you had to do to get that much money, so we never saw this bug. But when you sell hundreds of thousands of copies which are probably played by two or three people each, then something like a million people are playing your game.

Since it is fake gambling, of course people are going to try to double their money on every bet.

And some small percentage of those people will succeed!

The fix was (I think) literally one bit - changing a 6502 math instruction to handle the carry differently.

If you called up Virgin and told us the game crapped out, we would just tell you that you broke the bank and good job! If you really complained, we would swap your game for a fixed one.

For awhile Nintendo threatened to make us recall every game! But the odds of the bug happening were truly small, so we were allowed to let it slide. Of course, the next run of the game had the fix in it. (I can tell you this - most games shipping today have far worse bugs than that.)

Anyway, in honor of the Game Boy DS - I mean, Nintendo DS - I present to you Krogroth Game Boy.

Krogroth Game Boy - the biggest Game Boy ever! (C) Stephen Clarke-Willson

© 2004 Stephen Clarke-Willson - All Rights Reserved.