How You Can Beta Test An Add-On That Turns Your Smartphone Into A Classic Game Boy

How You Can Beta Test An Add-On That Turns Your Smartphone Into A Classic Game Boy

Hyperkin is developing a device that would allow you to play Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance games on your Android.
Sarah Dezelin
By

Hyperkin is a company that sells videogame consoles and accessories. Instead of developing their own consoles and games like Nintendo, they create their own versions of classic consoles that play authentic cartridges.

The best-known of their products is the RetroN. Its many versions vary in price depending on how many types of games you would like them to be able to play. The RetroN that can play the most console games can run Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, the Famicom, Super Famicom, Sega Genesis, Sega Master Drive, and Sega Master System.

So instead of having to find and buy all 10 of those classic consoles to play your games, you simply need one multi-function console, usually for about $150 or less. It comes with its own wireless controller, but has ports to use any of the original controllers as well.

Hyperkin is developing a product that brings classic videogames into the modern era. It’s a device for your smartphone that allows you to play Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance games on your Android. This device, called the Smart Boy, slides on the bottom of your phone and has a space for the original cartridges on the back, just like the Game Boy we grew up with.

How the Smart Boy Works

The Smart Boy adjusts its fit to cater to the many different sizes of smartphones. Its buttons activate sections on your screen that tell your phone which button is being pressed after a little bit of setup to tailor it on a wide range of screen sizes. The top of the phone will display the game.

The Smart Boy has an internal battery, and you can have your phone plugged in while playing, assuring that you will never lose power mid-game. This also eliminates the need for a constant stream of batteries like on the original console. You also download an emulator app that gives your phone the capabilities of playing old cartridges. You do need the cartridges to play the games you want, as they are not available for downloading.

The Smart Boy is still in development, but you can purchase the test model as a “Development Kit.” You will be able to play with what they have currently, and help develop the Smart Boy to prepare it for a wider market. Hyperkin is offering a royalty percentage from units sold to anyone who helps improve the app and firmware.

Plus, you will have the prototype version, now only available in development, before it hits the shelves. The current version does require you to be a bit tech-savvy to set it up, but those who have been testing the product says it has been worth it.

Why There’s a Market for the Old Game Boy

Many of the games developed in the era of the Game Boy are still beloved and played by fans new and old. A lot of the Game Boy cartridges still are selling for the price they were released at 20 and 30 years ago (not adjusting for inflation), and others have soared in price. Pokémon, Super Mario, and Final Fantasy classics are still played and loved in their original form.

Although many retro gamers grew up as classic games were new releases, these also have a younger audience. The development of this product and others like it allow these games to have a second chance in a new generation, providing anyone with an Android the opportunity to play these games as they were made.

This means people can pass their own gaming experiences to a younger generation through a smartphone. Playing Tetris with my dad is a memory I am so fond of, and to have a bond with your kids through games you love is a sort of magic. This device brings retro games into the future and into the hands of a new set of gamers.

Many of us still have the old games, although some were broken, sold, or lost. This is a good time to start looking for them, or hunting for your favorites before they become hard to find or expensive. Luckily these games are still highly available through gaming shops and, of course, the Internet. As well as playing the classics, some people are still developing new games for old systems, and with a resurgence in popularity, more titles may develop with retro games in mind.

Sarah Dezelin is a videogame technician and rising political activist. She is working toward an environmental studies degree at the University of Connecticut and is planning to go to law school after finishing the degree.

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