In an era dominated by mobile phones and high definition gaming devices, there are some who still long for the simpler times when gaming on-the-go was defined by one monochromatic device called the Nintendo Game Boy. I still have fond memories of going on family road trips and playing Pokemon Red on the handheld device while outside the scenery zoomed pass. Of course, as with any “new technology”, the device did have its issues, such as a screen that was lit barely enough for me to make out what was going on at times and an insatiable hunger for AA batteries. For those who want to relive the glory days of the Game Boy, but without all the issues the original had, Hyperkin, the company behind the wonderfully nostalgic retro Retron 5 machine, is bringing back retro on-the-go gaming. Hyperkin has decided that the wonderful nostalgic gem needs to make a comeback. Their solution, The SmartBoy and Ultra Game Boy.
The SmartBoy, which was originally part of an April Fool’s Day joke, is a bolt-on device that can effectively turn your Android Smartphone into a functional Game Boy, complete with the ability to play both the original Game Boy and Game Boy Color cartridges.
However, the device does not use some kind of ancient unholy magic to achieve this but rather by connecting with the phone’s USB Type-C connector, which then allows the device’s dedicated application to dump the cartridge’s game data on your phone so that it can be read by your emulator of choice. This means no more having to change batteries or struggling to see what the heck you are playing.
The SmartBoy sports the same look as the original Nintendo Game Boy using the same nostalgia-inducing grey plastic many came to love as kids. The device does look a little bigger than one would like a “portable gaming device” to be, but then again the original Game Boy wasn’t very “travel-friendly” if we have to be honest.
While the Smart Boy has been available for quite some time, it’s clear that Hyperkin believes retro on-the-go gaming to be the next big trend as they recently showed off their latest take on the Nintendo Game Boy called Ultra Game Boy at CES 2018 (Consumer Electronic Expo). The device is still in development which also means that the name could change before the device’s release.
The prototype that was shown off at CES 2018 was capable of playing any of the over 1000 games released for the Nintendo Game Boy. Unlike the Nintendo Game Boy, however, Hyperkin’s device will sport a rechargeable battery pack and a backlit LCD display. The device’s aluminium casing also means that pesky little brothers won’t be able to break your precious Ultra Game Boy as easy as they could the original.
Would you like to be able to play your old Game Boy cartridges again or is that part of your gaming life best left in the past?