Retro gaming has been making a comeback of sorts, led by the popularity of the hard-to-find NES Classic. Innex and Retro-Bit, companies devoted to this niche long before it went mainstream, hope to capitalize on the surge in popularity with the Super Retro Boy.
If the Nintendo Game Boy was brought back to life with 2017-friendly internals, it might be something like Super Retro Boy. Borrowing design cues from Nintendo's original portable, the console skips the sketchy legality of systems with pre-loaded and unlicensed game ROMs (also common at CES) in favor of a cartridge slot.
That means the system will only go as far as the vintage Game Boy titles you can find for it: If you want to move past the 10-game single cartridge that ships with the console, that will mean scouring used game shops or online marketplaces for Game Boy classics like Super Mario Bros. 3, Tetris or Wario World.
It plays the full spectrum of Game Boy generations, including original, Game Boy Advance and Game Boy Color. No adapters are required to fire up vintage games from all three systems in the system's single port.
Why buy Super Retro Boy instead of a junky old Game Boy from back when Vanilla Ice and M.C. Hammer were topping the charts? In addition to its 3-in-1 compatibility, there's also battery life: An Innex representative tells us the 2,500 mAh battery will last 10 hours on a single charge. It also adds durability, with a Gorilla Glass display, along with ergonomic side grips and an ultra-light build. All while retaining the stylistic theming of the original.
Innex says the design of the demo unit we played at CES wasn't final, as they haven't decided on exact button placement and other details. But I had no complaints about the experience: It was comfortable to hold, while combining modern durability and battery life with the nostalgic charm of 90s portables.
The Innex/Retro-Bit Super Retro Boy is scheduled to ship this August, for a suggested US$79.99.