The following translation is for the WonderSwan Color’s manual. The original WonderSwan and later WonderSwan Crystal are almost identical in function so this manual should be applicable to all of them. I have skipped over legal information and the most basic safety notices. What you’ll find here is everything you need to know to use your quirky, Japan-only handheld.
Face of the device (holding it in landscape):
- Y buttons are the ones in the top left. Starting from the top and going clockwise they are Y1, Y2, Y3, and Y4. The four buttons in the bottom left are the X buttons with the same numbered layout as the Y buttons.
- On the left side of the device there’s a contrast slider.
- On the bottom of the device and slightly to the left is the Lock switch, which locks the battery compartment in place.
- The three buttons below the screen are the Sound (press to cycle different volumes), Start, and Power buttons (you need to have a game in the WonderSwan for it to power on).
- The A and B buttons are found on the bottom right of the device.
- The speaker is in the top right of the device.
- The right side of the screen displays the “Icons” (discussed later).
- Also on the bottom is the tab you hold to open the battery compartment.
Back of the device:
- The battery compartment is on the back.
- On the left (looking at the back of the device), there’s an extension port.
- Games are inserted into the area in the middle, with the cartridge’s image facing out.
- On the bottom right there’s a place to tie things on for security.
Can be used in every orientation
The WonderSwan can be played in a variety of orientations depending on the game. Some games are played in landscape with the A/B buttons on the bottom right for your right thumb to press. Some are played in portrait where the X buttons are on the bottom right for your right thumb to press.
The screen displays icons on the far right. The top one that looks like an egg means it’s powered on. The next means the cartridge is initialising. The next that looks like a star means the power saving feature is on. The battery indicates when you need to change the battery. The speaker shows which of the 4 volumes you have set. The image of a person shows you whether the cartridge should be played in portrait or landscape (the person should be standing up correctly so if they aren’t you need to turn your WonderSwan).
How to change the battery
To change the battery make sure the lock switch is off. If you’re looking at the back of the device, slide lock switch to your right. Next press down the Release tab and slide the battery holder towards you. When you’ve replaced the battery slide it back in and lock again.
Slide the cartridge in pins-first and with the game artwork facing out. Hold the power button down for a few seconds to start the game. If you don’t see anything try changing the contrast or reinserting the cartridge.
The settings menus are in English so you shouldn’t have any problem. Some things to note: your age can affect the difficulty in some games. Also the Volume setting in here is the default you can change. Same goes for the contrast, you can set the default. So when you next turn on your WonderSwan it will have the volume and contrast you chose here.
The rest of the manual is safety stuff and also a note that there are little black and white square images on the back of some game boxes that explain when a game uses certain peripherals. For example, an image of an adapter in the extension port connected to a mobile phone means you can use that peripheral to connect to the internet and the game will have features that require this. An image of two WonderSwans with arrows between them means the copies of the game can be played together with two WonderSwans and a link cable.