Many people are familiar with Nintendo Power, an official Nintendo-focused magazine that ran from 1988 to 2012. Some people might not know the same name was used for a video game distribution service that Nintendo ran exclusively in Japan for the Super Famicom and Game Boy. We’ll be focusing more on the Game Boy side of things, but both services worked identically and used the same machine.

The service started in 1997, but the Game Boy offerings began slightly later in March 2000. Players could purchase a flash cartridge, not much different from modern offerings like the Everdrive series, and then go to a kiosk at a local game store to purchase games that were added to the cartridge when slotted into the machine. The service existed up until 2007 when the kiosks were removed from stores and discontinued.

The Game Boy service offered over 70 games available at launch, mostly games already released, that players could get for a low price. Players also received a paper manual with the game if the store had them in stock. The service included both Game Boy and Game Boy Color games and expanded to over 100 games by 2002. It seems that after that point, there weren’t many more releases on the service. Of these games, though, some were exclusive to the distribution service and weren’t available elsewhere inside Japan. One of note is Super Mario Bros Deluxe, which was available at launch and did not have a normal physical release as it did outside of Japan.

I was lucky enough to obtain one of these cartridges from an order of broken Game Boy Colors I imported from Japan. So, I’d like to look at the cartridge more closely and take a look at the modern options for utilizing it within your Game Boy collection if you manage to source one yourself!

When the Nintendo Power cartridge was initially purchased, you would get a set of stickers to place over the numbers on the cartridge to write what games you had stored. Mine came with a sticker already on it covering slots 1 and 2 labeled Kirby’s Dream Land 2. The game was also present on the cartridge. Lucky me!

With the distribution service long gone and not available in the United States anyway, you might think the cartridge is just a relic. However, through community efforts, there are now ways to add more games to the cartridge as if it were any other flash cart! It is a little bit more involved and does require some type of cart dumper. I managed to get it working pretty easily and was able to keep my original Kirby’s Dream Land 2 on the cartridge as well.

I already own a Joey Jr cart dumper which has support for Nintendo Power Cartridges, so I’m going to run through how to get things set up using that cart dumper specifically.

Update Your Joey Jr

  1. Download the update from BennVenn’s website and plug your Joey Jr into your computer. At the time of writing, it’s update 2.29.
  2. Connect your Joey Jr to your PC without any cartridge slotted in it.
  3. Once the file explorer opens, open the MODE.txt file, change AUTO to UPDATE, and save.
  4. Drag the file you downloaded over to the Joey Jr.

Dump Your Nintendo Power Cartridge

  1. Unplug your Joey Jr from your PC and slot in your Nintendo Power Cartridge.
  2. Reconnect it to your PC and edit MODE.txt, changing AUTO (or whatever is on the first line) to NPC. Make sure to save the file.
  3. The Joey Jr should disconnect and reconnect. Then copy over the NINPOWER.GBC file to your PC.

Creating A New ROM File

  1. Head over to
  2. If you’d like to keep the current games on your cartridge, click Load GBNP ROM and navigate to the NINPOWER.GBC you dumped.
  3. The games already loaded on the ROM should appear. Now click Add Games and select all the ROMs you wish to add. You should note that the cartridge has a maximum capacity of 1024kb, made up of 8 blocks of 128kbs. The main menu takes up 1 of those blocks.
  4. Under Tweak Settings make sure GB Memory Cart is your Cartridge Type and adjust the rest of the settings to your preferences.
  5. Click the Download ROM and Download Map links.

Flashing The Cartridge

Do not delete any files on the cartridge and do not rename the files you are adding to match the files already there.

  1. With your Nintendo Power cartridge slotted into your Joey Jr, connected to your PC, and the MODE.txt still set to NPC, drag over the .gb file you downloaded.
  2. Disconnect then reconnect the Joey Jr.
  3. Drag the .map file over.
  4. Disconnect, and you’re done!

With these steps, I was able to get Kirby’s Dream Land 2, Tetris, and Super Mario Land on my cartridge with room to spare. A really unique and official way to keep multiple games on one cartridge for gaming on the go!

Obtaining one of these cartridges can be difficult. You could try your luck through a search on eBay, but if you really want to get one, I would suggest looking at a service like FromJapan to check out Japanese Yahoo Auctions and Mercari. Even with shipping overseas, it will likely be cheaper than eBay!

Thanks so much for reading, and I hope to see you in the next post!

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