Remember this? If you don't you probably didn't grow up in the '90s. But if you do, there's nothing that brings the nostalgia back quite like the Game Boy. Pokemon Red and Blue, Super Mario Land, The Legend of Zelda: these are games you spent hours on. And probably more hours blowing on the cartridge just to get them to work. What happened to your old Game Boy? Sold? Broken? Do you still have it?
Then came the Game Boy Color, which was perhaps the most amazing invention you ever got to hold in yours hands because your games were now, well, in color. You got to see Samus in all her orange suit glory and that Yoshi is actually green. Was there anything you could want more? Yeah, to be able to play it in the dark and also not have the batteries run out, but that's why they invented battery packs and those fun bendy lights that plug into the device.
Then along came...this thing? Okay, we're well aware we skipped a few iterations of Game Boy here. But somewhere in the whole smartphone craze, Game Boy was a little bit forgotten. We're sorry, Game Boy. But this new device is bringing back the nostalgia in a big way.
This little guy, called the Hyperkin SmartBoy, transforms your smartphone into an old school Game Boy. It's $45 and you can get it on Amazon. If you saved your old Game Boy cartridges and are now wondering what you'll ever do with them again, you're in luck. You can stick them in the SmartBoy and start playing your old games.
But before we go on, we're going to have to insert a huge disclaimer. iPhone users, this won't work for you. The SmartBoy is not compatible with iPhones. Yeah, we know, we were upset too. They have the green text, but now they also have Game Boy. We don't know who the winners are here. You can check to see what devices the hyperkin is compatible with but chances are if you have a Samsung, you're in luck.
The Hyperkin SmartBoy wraps around your phone, providing the base for your Game Boy. Game Boy and Game Boy Color cartridges are currently compatible. This invention started out as an April Fool's joke, but the prank was such a good idea that Hyperkin took it and ran with it. That's how we got the SmartBoy we see today.
Looks super simple, sounds super simple, and seems incredibly awesome. Which it is, but the process of getting your games to play on your phone is slightly more complicated than it was to just drop your cartridge into your GameBoy and go. You'll need to download an app before you can start, a pre-existing emulator that will read your old cartridges. Some reviewers reported that this process could have been more streamlined, but once they figured it out, it ran well.
If you remember, the screen on the original Game Boy was awesome because it was a Game Boy. But the screen was definitely not as good as a smartphone screen, because that technology was so two decades ago. So now you're playing your old games on a superscreen, basically. So they're going to look better than you recall when you were trying to place your Tetris blocks just right.
Buttons on a cell phone? What is this, 2005? Yes, your SmartBoy comes with actual, pushable buttons. So you can jump and punch just like before with A and B. It also has L and R bumper buttons, and is reported to have an all around rugged feel, just like the old Game Boy you were used to. Like the one you could drop a total of 500 times, and it still survived like it was made out of steel.
We think this gadget is really cool, so we're definitely rooting for it. But it's not without its flaws. First of all, there's the business with having to download the emulator onto your actual phone. Anyone else out there always having storage issues on their phone? Just us? Okay. Then, there's not a guarantee that your cartridge will work.
When some users put their cartridges in the system, their games didn't work. Back in the day, you just fixed it by blowing on the cartridge. With the SmartBoy, it just simply...doesn't work. Perhaps it was the condition of the cartridges or another software compatibility issue, but the little guy doesn't work flawlessly. Perhaps that's part of the nostalgic experience.
To get your Game Boy good and working, you have to program the placement of the buttons themselves when working with the emulator. This sometimes proves to be difficult, because your phone itself is inserted into the device. But still, don't fear. It's not impossible, and if you're determined you can have your Game Boy running in no time at all.
Also, it's inconvenient to have your phone lock itself when the SmartBoy is attached to your phone because the keyboard is a little preoccupied being a Game Boy. But why would you not be using your phone so long that it would lock itself, considered you're going to be deeply ensconced in a game of Mario Bros? There's pros and cons to the device, but it's definitely cool.
If you don't feel like shelling out the money, there's some simple emulators online that a quick Google search will let you find. Or if you're one of those unlucky folks who doesn't have an Android and went with the iPhone. It's also possible you got rid of your old Game Boy cartridges - either way, there's still options for you.
So, will you be adding this retro gaming experience to your wishlist? Or are you going to hold off until they have some of the bugs fixed? We'll just be over here waiting for one to come out that's compatible with iPhone. Anyone up for a game of Mario Tennis?