There has been plenty of nostalgic attention being paid to classic console hardware updates in recent years, from Nintendo's official plug-and-playClassic Edition consoles to third-party clone consoles. But for all the focus on the TV-based game consoles of yesteryear, we haven't seen much corporate interest in recreating the portable system of the past.
That now seems set to change, as Gizmodo reports from CES on the Ultra Game Boy, an aluminum-cased portable console that resembles the slimmer Game Boy Pocket more than the bulky 1989 original system. The case's authenticity extends down to a cartridge slot that supports classic games and those familiar volume and contrast knobs on the edge, along with a new third knob letting players adjust the color of the system's backlight.
Gizmodo reports a six-hour battery life with USB-C charging for the prototype, which also sports stereo speakers and dual audio outputs targeted at chiptune makers. Hyperkin is reportedly still finalizing the hardware and is aiming for a 2018 release at "under $100," according to the report.
This isn't Hyperkin's first foray into Game Boy nostalgia. The company first introduced its SmartBoy accessory as a joke, then actually released the Android phone sleeve, which provides authentic Game Boy controls and cartridge support for smartphone-based emulators.
The Ultra Game Boy removes the need for a separate Android phone and slims down the form factor quite a bit. But it's not clear yet if it will provide emulator-style benefits like Super Game Boy color palettes, save states, and the ability to save ROM images of your actual cartridges. It's also not clear if Game Boy Color games will be supported or whether the Ultra Game Boy is simulating the actual Game Boy hardware or relying on less reliable software emulation for the console.
With Hyperkin laying down the gauntlet, the pressure is on Nintendo to hurry up and announce the Game Boy Classic Edition everyone assumes is being planned. Pack-in games like Tetris and Pokemon Red and Blue and that rerelease would pretty much be a guaranteed best-seller.