As you may well recall, I picked up an original Game Boy DMG-01 at a thrift store for $5.99 a few weeks ago. Not bad, not too bad at all. In fact, the only downside to the deal was the screen on the Game Boy was shit.
Back in 1989 when the Game Boy was first released the primary user base were grade school children. Most Game Boys were subjected to a harsh treatment from the moment they left their packaging; stuffed into under-sized pockets, careless tossed into backpacks not to mention the endless hours bouncing around in the back seat during car trips. And once they fell out of use they were often stored in less than ideal conditions, thrown in attics, crawl spaces and under piles of in closets, drawers and storage rooms.
Nintendo is known for their extremely durable build quality, often leaving the case in great shape, with the soft plastic screen to showing most of the wear.
Thankfully, replacement screens for all models of the Game Boy are plentiful and cheap. I picked the replacement screen I am using here for around$3 on Ebay, brand new. Just make sure you get the right screen, as Game Boy Color screens are not interchangeable with the original model.
Another plus is that replacing the screen is incredibly easy and takes about 5 minutes, all told. All you need are a Game Boy that needs a new screen, a replacement screen, and an xacto knife or small flat screwdriver. It is also a good idea to have a soft clean cloth, a can of pressurized air, some fine-grit sand paper and some crazy glue.
Begin by using the knife to gently pry up the screen. I prefer to use the hobby knife, or retractable box cutter because you have a bit more give, and are less likely to chip the Game Boy around the edges of the screen than if you use a screwdriver.
Work your way around the edges of the screen until you can easily pry it off using the knife. Most Game Boys are round 20 years old, so the glue should not put up much of a fight.
After you have the old screen off you can discard it. Next, take the fine-grit sand paper and gently remove some of the glue from recessed screen area. This will help the new screen fit a bit more flush and stick better, however, this step is not necessary and can be skipped. Take your can of air and blow any dust from the screen area. It is surprising how much dust can accumulate under the screen. This will also remove any loose glue bits as a result of your sanding. After all the dust is blown out, take your soft, dry cloth and carefully wipe the LCD screen itself for good measure, making sure it is spotless and clean.
90% of all after market replacement screens you will come across will already have an adhesive back, but putting three or four small dots of super glue on the area the screen will cover will help is stay in place even if the adhesive gives out.
Make sure the screen is placed properly and press into the recesses on the Game Boy firmly. and there you have it- an honest to god, almost brand new Game boy for under $10!