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Hyperkin Ultra GB


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Hyperkin recently announced at CES 2018 a backlit Game Boy clone which it is tentatively calling the Ultra GB. I have watched three videos showing off what they showed at CES and I have some concerns.

 

https://www.gamespot.com/articles/the-game-boy-is-coming-back-hyperkins-ultra-gb-pla/1100-6456018/

 

What was shown at CES was a proof of concept, not a prototype. That silver thing shown is a backlit Game Boy Pocket in a custom shell. Note the EXT port, Contrast and Volume dials, headphone and AC jacks, power switch and the identical positioning of the buttons and screen compared to the Pocket. Even all but one screw is exact to the Pocket. Custom Game Boy shells for all major variants of the console have been around for years. The only thing Hyperkin did there was to make one or two out of aluminum and stamp its name on the front.

 

The features Hyperkin mentioned, USB Type-C charging and an RGB adjustable backlight (which can be turned off) are cool features, but nowhere to be found on the device shown. It is up in the air whether the planned product can play Game Boy Color-exclusive games.

 

There is also some misinformation being regurgitated by the people in these videos. They tout stereo as if it was a new feature, but every Game Boy ever made supports stereo. There is talk of a new amp, the amps used in the original GBs were pretty crappy.

 

There are Game Boy clones on the market, the GB Boy and GB Boy Colour are two clones that are pretty popular these days. The underlying hardware Hyperkin may be using may be very similar to those consoles.

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I share all your concerns, and add the additional red flag of Hyperkin's habit of announcing one thing, then delivering something completely diferent, or not at all. For as long as they've been around, they still act like a startup. I feel like each of their half-baked efforts lessens their credibility, it doesn't add to it.

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Do you guys think Hyperkin would just get a pre-existing Chinese product, chopp of a diagonal corner of it, slap their name on it and call it a day? Come on man, they've already done that about 100 times, certainly they're not going to do it 101 times.

 

I'd personally just get a GBA SP 101 or AGS 001 modded with a backlit screen. China seems to be producing the screens again, so prices aren't that terrible for the systems.

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I have the Hyperkin Smartboy, which could be the basis for this if they are now simply embedding their own ARM device instead of relying on the user bringing their own. That device is virtually impossible to use - at first - as the GameBoy controls physically block buttons you need to press on the screen, though I'm sure they'll work that out. Once you have fumbled with it enough to actually read the cartridge, some games work, some don't, yet I am not displeased because once I realized that I should just pre-load all of the GB and GBC roms that I wanted, I could ignore the cartridge slot and just use the GameBoy controls - as if the thing were really a flash cart instead of its intended ability to read legal rom carts.

 

Their injection molded housing design is a bit crude, the buttons wiggle around and are obscenely thick, but ultimately the thing does function, although it makes me appreciate a real GameBoy that much more.

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Thing is... the smart boy was an absolutely horrible idea from the get-go, yet Hyperkin persisted on excreting it out. Why? Because they had internet buzz from clickbait websites. That energy could have been focused on a good product, but Hyperkin would rather release garbage that looks cool and gets Facebook likes.

 

This is the company you're dealing with, people.

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I would note that Hyperkin can put out a good product. Its SNES Mouse was one as I opined here : http://nerdlypleasures.blogspot.com/2018/01/hyperkins-snes-mouse-curious-product.html

 

If the system simulation is poor, I would still be interested in this device's screen and whether it could be transported into a Nintendo-manufactured system.

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