When I was young I remember playing my Game Boy Advanced SP in the airport terminal. When we boarded we were asked to shut off all electronics. I was setting a high score in Pokémon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire, so of course I left it on. During takeoff, it shut off. I checked the power switch, it was definitely still up. Later I switched it off and back on, and it worked just fine.

Why did my Gameboy shut off?

I was guessing it's an electrical reason, but if this isn't the correct StackExchange site to ask this question please let me know.


closed as too broad by Chris Stratton, Bence Kaulics, Leon Heller, brhans, Daniel Grillo Aug 14 '16 at 18:00

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  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Perhaps the acceleration of the plane moved something in the gameboy? \$\endgroup\$ – Los Frijoles Aug 13 '16 at 15:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Does your gameboy normally switch itself off after some period of inactivity? \$\endgroup\$ – Dave Tweed Aug 13 '16 at 17:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DaveTweed No it doesn't, thanks for asking :) \$\endgroup\$ – seth10 Aug 13 '16 at 18:59

I was setting a high score in Pokémon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire, so of course I left it on

Maybe your Game boy was susceptible to electromagnetic interference emanating from some of the aircraft's control systems. This is a typical sort of problem a microprocessor based design could suffer from.

Ironically, those pieces of equipment that can suffer from this sort of interference (we call it susceptibility) are almost certainly capable of "leaking" out EMI (electromagnetic Interference) that can, if we choose to believe all the warnings, interfere with an aircraft's control system.

This means you've probably admitted to one of the most serious crimes I've ever seen admitted-to on SE.EE. Your parents should take the rap of-course if you were too young. Interesting reading on Quora from a pilot.

enter image description here

Here's another quote specifically about game boys: -

I had fuel indications on the FMC going crazy on board the B737, that returned to normal when all electronic stuff in the back was switched off. I suspect a "Gameboy" electronic game device to have interfered, but this is no more than a guess. No, I did not ask to switch the toy back on again and investigate more in depth as I was responsible for the safety of 140 passengers and this would have been extremely irresponsible! This is not a situation in which to do such testing! This [ever-present responsibility accounts for why] there is no "proof" of the relationship.

Taken from here

  • \$\begingroup\$ "electromagnetic interference", thanks! I'll go learn a bit about it. \$\endgroup\$ – seth10 Aug 13 '16 at 16:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ Inexcusable to allow such vulnerable systems to ever reach a runway. \$\endgroup\$ – Scott Seidman Aug 13 '16 at 21:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ I thought nowadays, these handheld electronic devices don't affect aircraft equipment anymore as the shielding is better? \$\endgroup\$ – Bradman175 Aug 14 '16 at 1:21

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