How to change a Game Boy Color shell

More colors for your Game Boy Color.
Ash Ash (362)
20 minutes

It's time for a new shell! Whether you're restoring an old Game Boy Color or just fixing one up, there's nothing like a brand new shell. The outer casing displays so much personality, it's no wonder people still customize their handhelds today. Replacement shells can be found online or repurposed from existing Game Boy Colors.

This process is much easier for the Game Boy Color than its predecessor, the Game Boy. If you’re still a model behind, be sure to visit our guide on how to change an original Game Boy shell.

Game Boy Color ×1
Tri-Wing Screwdriver ×1
Screwdriver, Phillips, small ×1
Replacement Game Boy Color shellReplacement Game Boy Color shell ×1

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It's always best to start with a thorough inspection. Look for any damage and take note of missing screws. Be careful when inspecting the battery compartment. It's common to find handhelds in storage with batteries inside. This can lead to corrosion and damage the Game Boy Color. If you do find battery damage, all hope isn't lost. Visit our guide on cleaning Game Boy battery contacts for a few tips.

Open the shell

Power off the Game Boy Color and remove the batteries. The Game Boy Color is held together using proprietary screws. You will need a small tri-wing screwdriver to remove them. There are 6 screws total during this step.

Remove the internal components

Once the shell halves are detached, you need to remove the internal components. The motherboard is held to the front shell casing with 3 Phillips screws. You will need to remove them to pull the motherboard out.

Keep track of the smaller accessories. This includes:

  • A/B buttons
  • D-pad
  • Start/select buttons
  • Power switch
  • Small black shield
Install components in the new shell

Carefully place the buttons, switch, and shield into the new shell casing. This is the best opportunity to clean the Game Boy Color screen with a microfiber cloth. Don't forget to clean the inside of the new screen cover. When you’re ready, place the motherboard into the front shell casing. Using a Phillips head screwdriver, attach the motherboard to the new shell.

Assemble the new shell

Press the two halves together. The biggest obstacle you'll find is wedging the battery plates into place. Once they're together, the shell can be screwed together. Using the tri-wing screwdriver, attach the shell using the 6 tri-wing screws.

Time for a test run

Congratulations! Your hard work has paid off. Pop in a fresh set of AA batteries and find your favorite game. If everything was assembled correctly, your Game Boy Color is ready for new adventures with a brand new shell. Nice work!

In this guide, I’ll be updating a back-lit Game Boy with a yellow Play It Loud shell.
Ash Ash (362)
25 minutes

The Nintendo Game Boy was released in 1989. Millions of units sold to people worldwide before discontinuing in 2003. After almost 30 years, many Game Boys show signs of deterioration.