Skip to Content

What is the resolution of the Game Boy IPS?

The Game Boy IPS (or IPS screen mod) refers to replacing the original Game Boy’s LCD screen with a modern IPS LCD screen. This mod significantly improves the image quality and playability of classic Game Boy games.

The original Game Boy released in 1989 and featured a green monochrome LCD screen with a resolution of 160 x 144 pixels. This low resolution made images and text appear blocky and pixelated, even by 1989 standards. Fast forward to today, and 160 x 144 pixels looks extremely dated when compared to modern handheld screens.

Fortunately, the classic Game Boy system has proven highly moddable over the past couple decades. One of the most popular and impactful mods is installing a new IPS (in-plane switching) LCD screen. IPS screens provide major improvements in resolution, color reproduction, viewing angles, and response times.

In this article, we’ll look at the resolutions achieved with the Game Boy IPS screen mod. We’ll compare the original 160 x 144 screen to the resolutions offered by popular IPS kits. We’ll also examine the technical challenges and benefits of increasing resolution on the Game Boy hardware.

Resolution of Original Game Boy Screen

First, let’s recap the screen resolution on an unmodified original Game Boy unit:

  • Screen size: 2.6″ diagonal
  • Screen technology: Reflective STN LCD
  • Resolution: 160 x 144 pixels
  • Pixel density: 94 PPI
  • Colors: 4 shades of green

The 160 x 144 resolution may seem jarringly low by today’s standards. But it was reasonably sharp for a handheld in 1989. The Game Boy’s greenish screen also conserved battery life compared to color displays of the era.

However, from today’s perspective, the original screen has some glaring limitations:

  • Low pixel density results in a visibly blocky and pixelated image
  • Only capable of displaying shades of green, lacking color
  • Poor viewing angles with washed-out image at off-center angles
  • Slow response time causes ghosting and smearing effects

These technical constraints inspired the Game Boy modding community to explore screen upgrades using modern display technology.

Resolution of IPS Screen Mods

The most popular screen mods replace the original LCD with a modern IPS LCD. IPS offers significantly improved image quality and viewing angles. Some benefits include:

  • Higher pixel density for sharper, less pixelated image
  • Vibrant colors instead of green monochrome
  • Excellent viewing angles up to 178 degrees
  • Faster response time eliminates ghosting

There are a few companies producing IPS LCD kits for Game Boy modding. Here is a comparison of resolutions offered by popular options:

IPS Kit Resolution
Funnyplaying Q5 IPS Kit 480 x 432 pixels
Retro Pixel IPS Kit 432 x 384 pixels
BennVenn IPS LCD Kit 432 x 240 pixels
Hand Held Legend IPS Kit 600 x 480 pixels

As you can see, most IPS kits offer around 3-4X higher pixel resolution compared to the original 160 x 144 screen. This dramatically improves sharpness and playability.

The Funnyplaying Q5 and Hand Held Legend kits offer the highest resolutions at 480 x 432 and 600 x 480 pixels respectively. This provides up to 9X more pixels than the original screen!

Achieving Higher Resolutions

Installing a drop-in IPS LCD upgrade is relatively simple. However, how do these kits achieve such drastically higher screen resolutions on the vintage Game Boy hardware?

There are a few technical factors that make it possible:

  • Screen Size – IPS kits use a smaller 2″ to 2.5″ screen compared to the original 2.6″ screen. The smaller screen accommodates higher pixel density.
  • Driver Board – The IPS screens require a driver board to translate signals from the Game Boy into the modern LCD protocol. These boards enable resolution boosting.
  • Pixel Interpolation – Interpolation techniques are used to translate the Game Boy’s 160 x 144 output into the higher IPS resolution by generating interpolated pixels.

Additionally, the IPS kits leverage the built-in flexibility of the Game Boy’s graphics capabilities:

  • The Game Boy CPU and Video Controller can readily handle higher resolutions than 160 x 144.
  • Game Boy video output is designed to be scalable. The display hardware interpolates the 160 x 144 signal at up to 10X zoom.

By combining new IPS LCD components, specialized driver boards, and built-in Game Boy flexibility, the kits achieve resolutions up to 9X higher than originally possible on Game Boy hardware.

Game Compatibility

A higher resolution IPS screen can greatly improve the visuals of Game Boy games. However, not all games are fully compatible and optimized for the increased resolutions.

For example, some games with 2D pixel art may not scale cleanly to resolutions like 480 x 432. Pixel doubling can cause visual glitches or artifacts in the artwork.

Early Game Boy games also were programmed to run at the original 160 x 144 resolution. They may not account for the faster refresh rates of IPS screens, causing gameplay timing issues.

That said, many games are still very playable and greatly improved at higher resolutions. Especially games with simple 2D graphics or text-based elements tend to scale well. Some games may require display settings tweaks to achieve the best experience.

Display Configuration Settings

To enable compatibility across a wide library of games, IPS kits provide display configuration settings. This allows adjusting options like:

  • Pixel interpolation method – nearest neighbor, bilinear, bicubic, etc.
  • Display scaling factor
  • Color palette and contrast
  • Refresh rate

By tweaking these settings, the IPS screen can be optimized for different games. Users can test different configurations to find an optimal balance between visual quality and gameplay performance.


Installing an IPS LCD screen mod can breathe new life into classic Game Boy systems. IPS panels with 3-9X higher pixel resolutions restore sharpness and playability to these iconic handhelds.

Higher resolutions are achieved through smaller screen sizes, specialized driver boards, and built-in Game Boy flexibility. Users can further optimize compatibility and visuals using display configuration settings.

While not all games are perfectly compatible, the IPS screen mod remains one of the most impactful upgrades for the Game Boy platform. The improved image quality and color reproduction live up to modern expectations while retaining the original portable form factor.

For Game Boy enthusiasts, the IPS screen mod enables preserving these systems for playability and enjoyment for decades to come.