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CREATED SEP.05.2010
UPDATED SEP.20.2010
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TEXT WRITTEN BY
MARTIN NIELSEN
THE GAMEBOY SMARTCOM
YOUR PERSONAL ORGANIZER...
Back in the Gameboy Color days I collected some rather strange, and crappy, Gameboy Color games released by a UK publisher called Rocket Games. Well Rocket Games was no less than Datel crammed into a small red rocket. Wy back in the day I wrote an article about the Rocket Games releases and it can be found here.

Well while I thought that I had found all of Datel's Gameboy releases, including the PS2 "Game Studio" with a GB flash cart called "Games To-Go", it turns out that Datel silently shipped the SmartCom to the French videogame publisher, Bigben Interactive.

The following was taken from Datel's D3 store using Archive.org:

SmartCom™ is an exciting new do-it-all package which transforms an ordinary Game Boy® Pocket or Color into an advanced personal organiser.

SmartCom’s features include:

  • E-Mail / Pager *: Using Game Boy® Color’s Infra-Red function, you can send messages to other SmartCom™ users in the vicinity !
  • Notepad: SmartCom™’s mini word-processor allows you to create and save your own notes – and you can even print them out using the Game Boy® Printer !
  • Phone Book / Phone Audio Dialler – Keep a record of those important phone numbers using SmartCom™’s Phone Book feature. When you want to call a friend, simply hold by the telephone and hit a button – SmartCom™’s Phone Audio Dialler function will then dial the number for you !
  • Calculator: Whether you’re working out your finances, or doing sums in class, the Calculator function will also come in useful.
  • Clock / Alarm: SmartCom™’s battery back-up means that it always keeps track of the time for you, and the alarm will even sound when your Game Boy® is switched off ! If you go on holiday, simply tell SmartCom™ which country you are in, and it will change the time accordingly.
  • Calendar: Don’t miss those important dates ! SmartCom’s™ calendar will mean you never forget family & friends’ birthdays or important appointments.
  • TV/ VCR Remote Control *: This clever little feature lets you change channels on most modern TV sets and video recorders ! Whoever thought that one day you could use a Game Boy® to control your television ?!
The programming wizards at Datel have somehow managed to cram all this incredible technology into a normal-sized Game Boy® game cartridge. And the great news is….it’ll only cost about as much as your average game !

*Denotes a feature that only activates on Game Boy® Color

Announced in August 1999, IGN wrote:

Datel the company responsible for Interact's GameShark device will soon release a handy, functional Game Boy product in the UK this September. The SmartCom is a personal data assistant cartridge that turns your Game Boy and Game Boy Color into something very similar to a Palm Pilot.

Here are some of the features you'll find in the SmartCom:

  • Notepad is a miniature word processor that enables you to create and save notes, and print them out on the Game Boy Printer.
  • The SmartCom has a built-in Phone Book and phone auto dialer ¿ store multiple phone numbers, and hold the speaker up to the phone. The SmartCom will dial the number for you.
  • The SmartCom is battery-backed, which can keep track of the time even when the unit is turned off. The alarm will even sound when your GameBoy is switched off. The clock also has international territories built-in, so if you ever move into different time zones, the SmartCom will adjust accordingly.
  • The SmartCom's Calendar function will keep track of dates you specify, and alert you when you approach them.
  • The SmartCom also has a full-functioning calculator.
  • Using the Game Boy Color's Infra-Red utility, you can exchange notes and data with other SmartCom users.
Currently, the unit will only be for sale in the UK for around 40 bucks (£24.99). We tried contacting Interact regarding a possible US release of the SmartCom, but the company couldn't get back to us in time. If Interact does release the device, expect a name change (U.S. Robotics owns the SmartCom US trademark).

The SmartCom usability was extremely limited though, such as the email option that doesn't allow you to send emails to the internet as there's no hookup. By 2001 Datel had invented a new version of the SmartCom called World Port GBX which actually had a small modem built-in.

Now the catch with the Worldport GBX was that it would only work from telephone lines in the United Kingdom, so I'm guessing it's safe to say that neither the Worldport GBX or the SmartCom was a great success back then, but hey I'm sure both products made Datel a buck or two...

On a side note it can be mentioned that the SmartCom doesn't work on a Gameboy Advance, why? Well to avoid getting sued by Nintendo, datel added their own bootcode to the cartridge, and I'm guessing that the GBA (SP) looks for a proper bootcode, and if it's not present then it simply refuses to run the game. This is why the unlicensed Wisdom Tree games won't run on a GBA either. For Datels Rocket Games' releases though, the bootcode was changed to one that works on a GBA as well.

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