The Nintendo Sport Boy turns 30 this Sunday, and to have fun this wonderful event we’ll be operating a collection of associated options this week, proper as much as the massive day.
Every time a brand new piece of gaming is profitable, it naturally attracts a variety of consideration – each by way of video games (as a result of there’s an enormous market to promote to) and equipment (once more, as a result of there’s an enormous market to promote to). Nintendo, as an organization that has launched a number of fashionable platforms, has skilled this groundswell of help on a couple of event; the NES was inundated with video games and kit, as was the SNES, Wii and – extra lately – the Swap.
Nonetheless, few methods can rival the unique Sport Boy relating to loopy bolt-on items of plastic junk. Nintendo’s best-selling transportable had all method of display magnifiers, sound boosters, worm lights and protecting shells, to not point out half-decent official equipment just like the ground-breaking Sport Boy Digicam. Nonetheless, there’s one peripheral which I’ve all the time wished to get my arms on; a tool so epic in scope that as a teen, I refused to consider it even existed till I noticed one within the flesh at an area import retailer. This felt just like the Sport Boy accent to rule all of them; a desk-based behemoth that would flip the common-or-garden handheld into a conveyable arcade system. I am after all speaking concerning the Konami Hyperboy.
This gray lump of plastic claims to supply many advantages over enjoying the Sport Boy in its conventional handheld configuration. Firstly, the magnifying display makes it simpler to play video games, and likewise gives a lightweight supply so it may be utilized in a darkened room. The audio system on the bottom of the unit are an enormous enchancment over the quite weedy sound you historically get from the console, whereas the joystick and massive, pleasant buttons promise an arcade-style expertise – from a conveyable!
So how does it work? Whereas it appears high-tech, the Hyperboy does not really straight interface with the Sport Boy on any degree outdoors of audio; a three.5mm headphone jack is positioned contained in the unit which channels the audio into the audio system (you solely get sound when the unit has batteries and is turned on) and the stick and buttons work by pushing items of plastic onto the Sport Boy’s precise controls; should you look contained in the unit and not using a console on place, you possibly can see the plastic pads transfer round as you push the stick and buttons. Above the stick is a change which lets you toggle between Four-way and Eight-way enter.
Illumination is provided by two small bulbs that are positioned contained in the magnifying portion of the display; this part will be eliminated to disclose that energy is provided by two steel conducting plates; doing so additionally exposes a small aperture wherein a spare bulb is positioned. Useful! Flip the unit over, and you will find the battery compartment which homes two monumental ‘D’ energy cells; these solely provide energy to the Hyperboy itself, and do not present any energy to the Sport Boy console. Additionally on the underside are two adjustable entrance ‘legs’ so you will get the angle you want on your tabletop gaming periods.
Regardless of the quite humble nature of the tech concerned, the Hyperboy does its job admirably. The controls initially really feel awkward, however you quickly get used to them – and in some circumstances, having a stick really improves sure video games, reminiscent of shooters like R-Kind and Gradius / Nemesis. The change between Four-way and Eight-way directional enter appears a bit pointless to start with, nevertheless it’s really fairly helpful to have the ability to dial down the instructions when enjoying video games like Tetris, which do not depend on diagonal enter.
There are shortcomings, after all. The bulbs which gentle the display additionally present up each imperfection; the entire scratches the one you love console has gained over the previous 30 years are highlighted for all to see, and any specks of mud which have gotten contained in the machine are additionally painfully seen. As you possibly can see from the photographs on this web page, we have shoved our backlit-modded Sport Boy into the Hyperboy, thereby eradicating the necessity for the bulbs, however the downside with this method is that you aren’t getting any sound except the unit is switched on, which suggests you additionally must put up with glare of these bulbs (except, after all, you take away them completely, which is the nuclear choice).
It is also price noting that the Hyperboy is not suitable with every other Sport Boy mannequin outdoors of the trusty DMG-01. In the event you personal a Sport Boy Pocket, Mild or Coloration, then you definitely’re out of luck – it will not match contained in the Hyperboy. On the plus aspect, the unit is an ideal match, providing entry to the amount and distinction dials in addition to the hyperlink cable port and cartridge slot. When the console is in place, you do not have to take away it except you need transportable play or you might want to change the console’s AA batteries.
The Hyperboy lives as much as its promise, then, however whenever you actually sit down and give it some thought, it is a fairly dumb machine. The important thing promoting level of the Sport Boy is its portability, and cramming it inside this unit removes that; positive, it is cool to get that tabletop arcade really feel, however we would not say the sacrifice is basically price it. Having mentioned that, judging the Hyperboy in 2019 is maybe unfair; again within the early ’90s, the Sport Boy might need been your solely entry to video video games, so the power to get a brand new ‘huge display’ perspective in your favorite titles – full with display illumination and bitchin’ stereo sound – would have been an actual bonus. Heck, should you actually give it some thought, the Hyperboy is a type of bizarre precursor to the Swap idea, the place you’ve gotten a conveyable console which will be remodeled into one thing extra palatable to be used indoors. Kinda.
Regardless of its rarity – it was by no means launched outdoors of Japan – the Hyperboy is not tough to choose up lately and will not value you an arm and a leg. Do you have to purchase one? Until you have received unfulfilled wishes which stretch again to your childhood years, then it is in all probability not definitely worth the effort; you would be higher off investing in a backlight modification to deliver your console bang updated. Nonetheless, like so lots of the strange equipment developed for Nintendo’s handheld, the Hyperboy stays an fascinating relic of a long-past interval in gaming – plus it seems actually cool as a desk decoration.