In 2018, Nintendo’s classic Game Boy is coming back. This is the “Ultra Game Boy”:
Notably, the company logo on the front of the handheld isn’t “Nintendo,” but Hyperkin – a US-based gaming peripheral manufacturer. The device popped up at this year’s big tech show, CES, and is still months away from a scheduled summer launch.
We spoke with a Hyperkin representative about it – here’s what we learned:
The Ultra game Boy is approximately the same size as the original Game Boy models, and it features a very similar layout.
First things first: You need original Game Boy cartridges to play games on the Ultra Game Boy.
The Ultra Game Boy is not like the NES / Super NES Classic Edition, where the games are built into the system digitally. You need to get original carts and, if we’re being honest, clean them up a bit.
PRO-TIP: If you get a cotton swab and dip it in alcohol, then carefully clean off the bottom of the cartridge area (allowing a moment for it to dry), that should work. The same solution works for NES, Super NES, N64, and other cartridge-based games. You’re welcome!
Here’s an original Nintendo Game Boy for comparison — a similar design, but not identical.
The Ultra Game Boy looks more like the Game Boy Pocket, seen here:
You’ll notice that the back of the Ultra Game Boy doesn’t have a battery cover — that’s because it’s rechargeable.
Of the technological updates here, perhaps the most important is the rechargeable battery. Hyperkin tells us the Ultra Game Boy will last around six hours on a full charge – that could change between now and its planned launch this summer.
You may also notice a few audio ports along the bottom, which are new. The design is otherwise pretty similar to the original Game Boy, with cartridges getting plugged into the top in a slot.
Along the left side of the device is a control fo the device’s backlighting, which is handled through an LCD panel.
The speakers also got an update — they’re stereo, rather than mono (unlike the original handheld).
More than just a quality of life feature, the stereo sound is aimed at chiptune musicians – artists who create music using old gaming technology. The same thinking is behind the Ultra Game Boy having stereo audio output ports.
Hyperkin is aiming to price the Ultra Game Boy below $US100, and wants to put it out by “late summer.” Gizmodo has a video of the handheld in action right here.