The Game Boy holds a special place in the hearts of countless gamers. Its iconic design, legendary game library, and pocket-sized portability made it an instant classic and an enduring symbol of nostalgia. Today, we pay homage to this gaming legend by exploring three amazing handhelds that draw inspiration from the Game Boy's legacy.
The Playdate offers unique and experimental gaming experiences with its drip-feed game delivery system and the weirdest input option we've ever seen: a retractable hand crank.
The crank's silliness is offset by a library of clever games that use this novel input in fun and surprising ways. In one game, you are a bird watcher who uses the device's crank to control the focus on their camera. Another has you turning the crank to grind raw ingredients to make witchy potions. The quality of the available titles varies, but they're all worth trying at least once, even if it's only to see how the crank is implemented.
To extend the novelty of the Playdate's hand crank gimmick, games are released gradually - two per week for 12 weeks. This allows users to fully explore each batch before the next update; a clever tactic that turns a few hours of cranking into three months of anticipation and enjoyment.
With its limited, built-in library, the Playdate is more akin to the Tiger handhelds of the nineties than the Game Boy that inspired it. Hopefully, the success of the Playdate's first run is enough to justify a Season Two of games released for the quirky, yellow portable. Whatever the future may hold, the Playdate is one heck of a conversation starter and a neat addition to any handheld collection.
The Miyoo Mini, released in late 2021, perfectly captures the essence of a miniaturized Nintendo Game Boy with its compact design and authentic DMG features.
The Miyo Mini packs a 1.2GHZ CPU, 128MB RAM, a 2.8″ IPS display (640 x 480) and 1900mah’s of battery. Don't be fooled by its specs, this little device can emulate Playstation games flawlessly! With four mini flared shoulder buttons and a crystal-clear high-resolution screen, the Miyo Mini offers an immersive gaming experience. The firmware is basic but user-friendly enough that even the least tech-savvy user can quickly pick it up and start running games and adjusting settings.
When it comes to miniature handhelds, the Miyoo Mini stands out. Its stunning design and impressive performance set it apart from the competition.
The Analogue Pocket is a modern-day Game Boy with a twist.
Unlike most companies in the retro gaming space that rely on emulation to run games, the Analogue Pocket uses FPGA technology to provide a gaming experience that's as close as possible to the original hardware. Yes, that means you can slot your original cartridges right into the Analogue Pocket — just like on a real Game Boy!
The Analogue Pocket's build quality is superb, with a 3.5″ LCD covered in Gorilla glass and responsive, durable buttons. The stunning screen and user-friendly AnalogueOS allow for quick menu navigation and settings customization. While it primarily supports Gameboy games, additional adapters allow for playing SEGA Game Gear, Atari Lynx, and Neo Geo games on the device.
Analogue has created one of the top retro gaming products in recent memory. Excellent construction quality, a standout screen, and its FPGA tech make it just about the closest thing possible to an official Game Boy upgrade.