You might imagine that, in 2015, with smartphone, PlayStation Vita and Nintendo 3DS, few gamers would ever want to go back to the simple graphics of the original Nintendo Game Boy. But you’d be very wrong. People go out of their way to make their high-tech gizmos play the old-school games of yore. Call it nostalgia, call it silly, but many call it simply, awesome.
Video game peripheral and accessory manufacturers Hyperkin just announced some new plans for a Game Boy-esque accessory into which you can insert your smartphone and play original Game Boy games. Now this sounds pretty good, but it’s already getting mixed reviews.
Hyperkin may be best known for their RetroN 5, a games console that allows you to play a variety of relic game cartridges, such as those of SNES and Sega Genesis/Mega Drive. Although the console took longer than expected to be released and there are some potential illegal issues regarding the use of emulators, the system has otherwise been pretty successful, breathing life into many otherwise forgotten games cartridges.
Around April Fools’ Day, one of the Hyperkin staff Chris Gallizzi posted some pictures on Imgur of a “new design he was working on,” which he called “Smart Boy.” Apparently, the post was supposed to be a joke for the day of trickery, but readers took to the idea so much that the company decided to look into making it a reality.
So, what is this “Smart Boy”? Well, the base of the device looks like the bottom of the gray brick we so emphatically remember as the Game Boy. In place of the screen however, you insert your smartphone (technically, the design only fits iPhones, but they’re apparently going to work on Android and Windows Phone versions too). The phone will display the image of the game, but you play using the controls on the device. The catch here is that you need to have the original Game Boy or Game Boy Color cartridges, so no ROMs allowed.
Now, at first glance netizens were really excited about the prospects of this new toy:
“Yes! I knew I kept [my Game Boy games] for a reason!!”
“This is amazing!”
“If only it wasn’t a joke!”
With feedback like that, it’s no wonder the guys at Hyperkin decide to take this to the next step and set the plans in motion for production. However, not everyone is as keen on this idea:
“I like the idea, but there’s just so many things that could go wrong.”
“Not sure I see the point of it, it’s just a hipstery way of playing emulators?”
“Why not just buy a gameboy pocket/color at this point?”
“The requirement for the actual game cartridge itself is likely going to make this a commercial failure. Those dedicated to actually using the actual cartridge likely don’t mind using their actual Game Boy or another dedicated gaming device that can actually emulate.”
Then there were the lengthy discussions on Reddit about patent and trademark violations, more accusations of idea stealing from open source companies and the difficulty of getting Apple to allow any of this.
So, long story short, while many people like the idea of this new smart phone device, if Hyperkin is to make this happen in real life, they’re going to have quite a few hurdles to jump first. Recalling the epic wait for the RetroN 5, one user quipped, “Pray that their release schedule has improved since the RetroN 5. If not, we will not see it until the iPhone 10 is out.”
By the way, when Hyperkin announced that they would, indeed, put this into production, it was still April Fools’ Day. Have they just played two tricks on us in a row? There has yet to be any more updates, so for the sake of lively discussion, we’re considering this true.
We’re interested to hear how you feel about this controversial smart phone accessory. If it actually was to be released, do you think you’d want one even if it required the use of archaic Game Boy cartridges? Let us know below!