BASE NECTARIS (USA) presents:  Nectaris GB FAQ  &  GB KISS LINK FAQ  (1998, Hudson Soft, Gameboy)            return to:  BASE NECTARIS  (site map)

Nectaris GB FAQ  &  GB KISS LINK FAQ  (1998, Hudson Soft, Gameboy)



This section, the second page of the mini-FAQ, examines how file sharing between Gameboy cartridges, personal computers and the internet is accomplished with GB KISS (cartridge <--> cartridge, cartridge <--> PC <--> internet).  
The commercial success (or failure) of Hudson's GB KISS technology is discussed, followed by a brief look into the Japanese and North American catalog of GB KISS software (only one GB KISS game was released in North America -- ROBOPON for Gameboy Color).
As always, if you are confused with any of the GB KISS concepts or lingo, consult the glossary of GB KISS terms.
Nectaris fans take note
:  For your viewing pleasure, you will find a Nectaris GB screenshot  that might offer some clues as to what the web-exclusive Nectaris GB download consisted of.  I was a bit surprised, myself.


GB KISS IN ACTION: internet downloads & file sharing


The GB KISS LINK infrared modem enabled gamers to download new, exclusive content for Hudson's GB KISS games (i.e. Nectaris GB, Pocket Bomberman ) and save it onto the Gameboy cartridge itself.  Here's how it worked...  First, you would go to a Hudson webpage like this one for Nectaris GB, download the exclusive content (i.e. extra stages), and save the files on your PC's harddrive.  Then, by using a special GB KISS utility program (installed on your Windows 95 PC) in conjunction with the GB KISS LINK modem, the game data could be transferred from your PC and into any of the available memory slots on your Nectaris GB cartridge (a maximum of six memory slots per cartridge). Once you had the downloaded file on your Gameboy cartridge, you could share it with your friends by using GB KISS  (more on this later).

GB KISS LINK Data Download

GB KISS LINK Data Download

Hudson offered exclusive content  ( i.e. new stages )  to those who owned GB KISS LINK.

Unfortunately, the download link on the aforementioned Hudson webpage (and reproduced above) has long been broken, although I am ever hopeful that someone out there still has the file and will share it with me.  What did the "'GB KISS LINK DATA DOWNLOAD" contain?  Bonus stages for an action game?  Extra items / spells / weapons for an RPG?  

Diagram illustrating INTERNET <--> PC <--> GAMEBOY interactivity LOOK! The map's graphics are DIFFERENT! The normal map graphics.
LEFT  :  This diagram succinctly summarizes how exclusive videogame content from the internet is transferred to a Gameboy cartridge via GB KISS LINK and a PC running Windows 95.  MIDDLE :  This screenshot shows a battle map from Nectaris GB -- but the topography is comprised of new graphics that are markedly different from those used in the normal Gameboy version  (screenshot on far right).

For games like Pocket Bomberman and Nectaris GB (which offer a level editor for constructing maps), I assumed that the downloads would merely consist of "bonus stages".  I was surprised, therefore, when I saw the screenshot above (middle) from Nectaris GB :  the graphics for the battle map (but not the troops) have been completely overhauled and given a facelift (compare the middle screenshot with the one on the right for comparison).  Of course, I am speculating about this screenshot and its origins.  I could be mistaken, but how else can the middle screenshot be explained?  There is always the possibility that the screenshot was a mock-up or prototype for something that Hudson was considering to do, but later decided against.  In fact, this isn't the first time that Hudson has teased Nectaris fans with mysterious screenshots (more on this later).  Personally, I find the graphics in the middle screenshot much more appealing than those found in the original Gameboy version, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed (the new graphics are much cuter than the bland originals). 

GB KISS for Gameboy

GB KISS for PC  ( Win 95 )

"GB KISS" is a term created by Hudson Soft, and yes, it implies that two Gameboy cartridges are "kissing" each other -- but instead of exchanging saliva, they are exchanging data. "GB KISS" is a broad term that refers to "wireless, infrared file transfer."  Hudson had to develop a utility for managing and transferring files;  this utility was included on all GB KISS Gameboy cartridges (see screenshot above, left).  A similar utility was developed as an application for Windows 95, thus allowing a PC to send and receive Gameboy files via the GB KISS LINK modem (screenshot above, right).  Therefore, "GB KISS" refers to both  PC <--> Gameboy  as well as  Gameboy <--> Gameboy file sharing.  However, since the GB KISS LINK modem was owned by a minority of gamers, the term "GB KISS" is most commonly used in reference to Gameboy

GB KISS demonstration

Official logo for GB KISS

GB KISS error message

cartridge <--> cartridge file sharing, as depicted in the image above (left), since this was the most common application of GB KISS technology (i.e. sharing user-created maps from Pocket Bomberman or Nectaris GB ).  Actually, the picture above is inaccurate:  in order for GB KISS to work, the cartridges would have to be much closer together (no more than one centimeter apart).  Also, you would want to lay the Gameboys on a flat surface to ensure that the IR ports are parallel to each other.  If you tried to send or receive a file as depicted in the picture, you would get a cute error message (image on far right) indicating that GB KISS is not working properly.  As I mentioned earlier, all GB KISS games included this 


GB KISS MAIL : write & send notes

utility for managing and transferring files (both game data files and text message files).  A screenshot of the main menu for this utility is above (left).  Each GB KISS cart allocated six memory slots for game data (i.e. save states, user-created maps, con- tent downloaded from internet) and 18 slots for text messages. Yes, that's right, with "GB KISS MAIL" you could compose text messages (both kana / kanji and Roman alphabet available). Then, with GB KISS, you could send ,and receive, messages to and from your friends.
 WHY MOST FOLKS DID NOT NEED THE GB KISS LINK MODEM  :  GB KISS enabled you to share game data and text messages with fellow Gameboy owners via the cartridge's own IR port, so you didn't need the GB KISS LINK modem for GB <--> GB interactivity (i.e. the GB KISS LINK modem was strictly for PC <--> Gameboy interactivity).  Therefore, to play the special maps exclusive to the Hudson website, you didn't necessarily need a GB KISS LINK modem or a PC.  All that you needed to do was find someone who had the file on his or her cartridge already.  Upon finding such a person, they could easily send it to your Nectaris GB cartridge by using GB KISS MAIL.  Given this state of affairs, we have to ask ourselves if there was a great demand for the modem hardware, since the website content (the primary reason for purchasing the modem) could be obtained from other sources (person-to-person).  This topic is discussed in the next section...
For more information on GB KISS and the LINK modem, check out the Nectaris GB instruction manual scans.

  GB KISS & the LINK MODEM:  Success Or Failure?


Determining the success of GB KISS technology is not a simple task, since it depends on how we define "success."  Success from a technological perspective?  If GB KISS and the LINK modem performed their tasks reliably and with minimum hassle, then I would definitely consider GB KISS to be a success.  Hudson demonstrated that innovative features (i.e. wireless file sharing) could be integrated into Gameboy software and be compatible with ALL Gameboy models (Gameboy Color was released 9 months after GB KISS, and in order to use the IR features of GB Color software, you had to own GB Color).   Furthermore, Hudson demonstrated that "bonus" game content for Gameboy games could be distributed via the internet.  For Gameboy, a handheld from 1989, to have these features in 1998 is impressive (remember, GB KISS was developed around the original Gameboy design).  From a purely technological standpoint, Hudson's GB KISS was a success.  But were GB KISS features successful in the gaming world?  This is difficult to determine.  How often did folks use GB KISS to share files?  Was there a real incentive to use GB KISS (i.e. obtaining new, quality content) or was it more of a gimmick?  Was it convenient to use or a hassle?  It is clear that IR file sharing, in general, never became wildly popular in the gaming world (i.e. popular to the point where most software incorporated IR features, something which did happen, for example, with "rumble packs" and "shock controllers" on software for home consoles).  

Was GB KISS successful as a commercial product?  I don't know how well GB KISS software sold, and I can't determine if the GB KISS features were the impetus behind any of the sales.  I think it is safe to say that GB KISS LINK was always intended to be a niche product, so I doubt Hudson was expecting to make much money from it.  GB KISS LINK was not sold in stores, it was only available via mail order.  In case you were wondering, the modem was not sold directly from Hudson Soft's website, but through ASCII's site ( ), although the URL to the Hudson Online Store is now defunct ( ).  ASCII is a large media publisher in Japan (focusing on computer & technology magazines) and published the Nectaris Official Guide Book to accompany the 1998 PlayStation update of Nectaris.  It is possible that ASCII's site, in addition to selling the GB KISS LINK modem, mirrored content from Hudson's website (i.e. perhaps ASCII's site mirrored the "GB KISS LINK DATA DOWNLOADS" that were available on Hudson's site, like this one for Nectaris GB ).  Regardless, the ASCII site is prominently mentioned on the front side as well as the back side of an insert that was included with all GB KISS software.  

GB KISS LINK sold for 4,980 yen (approximately  $45 USD), which was actually more expensive than most of the Gameboy games it was compatible with (i.e. Nectaris GB retailed for 4200 yen, approximately $38 USD; Pocket Bomberman another GB KISS compatible game, sold for 3,980 yen, roughly $36 USD ). It would be interesting to find out how many GB KISS LINK's were manufactured -- and of those, how many were actually sold -- because the appeal of a niche peripheral like GB KISS LINK is limited, almost exclusively I think, to hardcore fans of particular Hudson series.  Then again, to get this exclusive download, you didn't necessarily need to own a modem -- you simply had to find someone who would share the file with you.  Also, unlike cell-phone gaming, Hudson did not charge for the "GB KISS LINK DATA DOWNLOAD".  All of this suggests that Hudson was not expecting to profit massively from modem sales. At worst, it suggests that Hudson was using GB KISS LINK as a "gimmick" to stimulate interest in its software.  At best it was a novelty that appealed to primarily to hardcore fans who were completists and had to have the "bonus stages". 

Then again, Hudson probably would not have expended the time, resources, and money to develop GB KISS if it doubted the size and loyalty of the fan base for its' games (for example, the Bomberman fan base).  There were other popular Hudson titles as well, but I know for certain that Bomberman was huge at one time...though by 1998 the craze may have lost most of its steam (in no small part due to Hudson's incessant recycling of the series).  As I mentioned in the introduction, I think Hudson was pushing hard to rekindle interest in its Nectaris franchise during first quarter of 1998:  two new software titles were released (on PlayStation & Gameboy), GB KISS LINK hardware was released (compatible with Nectaris GB), and a dedicated Hudson website (with Nectaris GB downloads) was launched to support GB KISS LINK modem <--> Nectaris GB interactivity.  With this in mind, I cannot help but wonder how things went for Hudson.  Were the Gameboy and PlayStation Nectaris titles successful in Japan?  Was the GB KISS LINK modem successful as a niche product?  Did Hudson provide sufficient support for the modem?  What downloads were available, and for what games?  
Did I mention that a FREEWARE version of Nectaris (PC Windows 95 / 98) was released in Japan in November of 1997?  This PC port was faithful to the original PC-Engine Nectaris, although it did add a map editor.  Were the maps created with this PC freeware compatible with the GB KISS LINK or Nectaris GB?
As you can see, there are innumerable unanswered questions surrounding GB KISS and the LINK modem. I have already listed several of them, but here are additional points that also need to be addressed in future updates of this mini-FAQ...

Diagram illustrating INTERNET <--> PC <--> GAMEBOY interactivity

ASPECTS OF GB KISS THAT NEED TO BE CLARIFIED :  ( 1 )  What were all the features of GB KISS? For example, how is the telephone being used in this picture and this picture -- is GB a speed dialer (or is it dialing into a service)?   
( 2 )  I would expect you would have the ability to make back-up copies of cartridge data by saving these files on the PC, but I cannot verify this. Also, it might have been possible to upload game data from one's PC to the Hudson website--as the diagram above appears to indicate--and thus share the maps you created with fellow Nectaris GB fans via the internet, but again, I have no way of confirming this.  Perhaps files could be shared via email?   ( 3 )  Were there 29 pack-in mini-games for GB KISS LINK?  Did all 29 games fit in one memory slot on a Gameboy cartridge?
Contact me if you can shed light on any of these issues!


Related Items:


Nectaris GB was the first of several Japanese Gameboy games to support GB KISS LINK and GB KISS MAIL.  The GB KISS features were exclusive to Hudson Soft, so if you wanted to compile a list of all the GB KISS compatible games, you would only have to search through Hudson's Gameboy & Gameboy Color back catalog.  I have yet to do this research, but I can tell you that Dai Kailuu Monogatari: The Miracle of the Zone (1998, and possibly its' sequel on GBC the following year) supports GB KISS.  Dai Kailuu Monogatari was a card battle game (surprise!), so I assume GB KISS

GB KISS features were stripped from the US version of Pocket Bomberman.

is harnessed to trade cards with fellow gamers.  Pocket Bomberman (1997) features a stage editor (i.e. construction mode) for designing your own levels, so I assume GB KISS allowed you to share your creations with fellow Bomberman fanatics, including exclusive downloads from Hudson's website (much like Nectaris GB).  The Hudson website suggests that Nectaris GB was the first software title to support GB KISS LINK...and yet the older Pocket Bomberman already has GB KISS compatibility (...but perhaps it cannot download new content from the internet?).  Can anyone verify this? if so, contact me .  The GB KISS story gets even more bizarre, though, as we examine one final item ... 

LEFT : The larger Robopon GB KISS cart compared to a standard Gameboy cart.  RIGHT : During gameplay, remote controls from common household electronics interact with Robopon's IR port.

Robopon (1998, Gameboy Color, Hudson Soft, Published by ATLUS in North America) was the first and only GB KISS game released in North America.  However, it was not a standard GB KISS cartridge: it had a built-in speaker and battery- powered clock (in addition to the built-in IR port, of course).  As the image on the left reveals, the Robopon GB KISS cartridge was much larger than a standard-sized Gameboy cart.  It is safe to assume that the speaker assembly (plus amplifier) and the user-changeable battery account for the bulkier size of Robopon, since the standard GB KISS cartridge is physically identical to normal Gameboy carts.  Anyway, Robopon offered the usual file sharing capabilities (i.e. sharing game data with friends. In fact, here is a webpage from Hudson's website about this).  But that is not all it can do ...
Look closely at the image on the right -- those are not two Gameboys kissing each other -- but rather a remote control (infrared) from a common household electronic device interacting with Robopon's IR port (here's a webpage from Hudson's website discussing the remote control feature).  At certain points during the game, it was necessary to send IR waves to Robopon (i.e. to open up a treasure chest) ... This was accomplished by aiming various remote controls at Robopon's IR port and pressing buttons at whim.  I guess this was an attempt to innovate gameplay (by making the game more inter- active, and by making the effects of this interaction unpredictable).  Similar concepts have been used in other games... one of these days I'll tell you about 1993's CD BATTLE - HIKARI NO YUUSHATACHI  (CD BATTLE - Heroes of the Light) for the PC-Engine DUO, an arena-based battle game that requires players to insert different CD's into their console to determine characters' abilities (results vary depending upon the CD).  



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