A developer has created an emulator for Nintendo’s GameBoy console that can exceed the boundaries of the square image. This allows GameBoy games to be played with a broader aspect ratio, although it does have limitations.
The developer explains that the emulator named WideGB is based on the already existing SameBoy emulator and that it is very similar to the previously released WideNES. Like this latter emulator for the NES console, users can tick a widescreen option. This allows the image boundaries of the game to be stretched and the size of the window can be adjusted to a random aspect ratio. The result is also a somewhat zoomed out perspective.
Like WideNES, WideGB works by actually taking up the screen display as soon as the playing field scrolls. In addition, the parts of the playing field that were previously visible are used for a broader view. This means that in a new game or in a new area, WideGB users do not have a “widescreen display” directly, because the emulator is only able to record the areas after the character has been moved and the playing field is shifting.
WideGB emulatorWideGB Emulator
Another limitation is the fact that sprites are not included. These are often applied to the NPCs and that means that when moving through the playing field, these elements do not disappear until the edge of the screen, but have already dropped off. The developer recognizes that it doesn’t look nice, but that it has the advantage that the method is theoretically compatible with each game. The emulator must work with most games and has been tested with Pokémon Red, Gold, Super Mario Land 2 and Zelda: Link’s Awakening.
The source code was posted on GitHub and there is already a version of the emulator for macOS. For Windows, that is not the case yet. According to the developer, SameBoy, and therefore also WideGB, works on Windows, but the code for this operating system still needs some work. However, the Windows version should follow soon.