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Friday, June 14, 2024

The $199 Chromatic is perhaps the last word Nintendo Sport Boy

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Earlier than he brought VR headsets out of the dark ages with Oculus, earlier than he based defense contractor Anduril, Palmer Luckey was a Nintendo Sport Boy modder.

It’s true. There’s photograph proof — and at present, he’s revealing his personal tackle the last word cartridge-playing Nintendo Sport Boy, one that you could really purchase for $199.

Transport this vacation, the ModRetro Chromatic sounds unimaginable: magnesium alloy case, sapphire crystal cowl glass, PBT buttons, a pixel-perfect IPS display screen on the identical dimension, decision, and pixel construction as the unique Sport Boy and Sport Boy Coloration, color-matched to the Sport Boy Coloration display screen — and with “nicely over a thousand” nits of brightness so you possibly can play out within the daylight.


{Hardware} gallery: Luckey says all of those are actual photos as a result of “renders are for losers.”

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Not solely does it have an FPGA inside (just like the lauded Analogue Pocket) to play real Sport Boy and Sport Boy Coloration carts as if you happen to’re enjoying them on the Nintendo authentic, Luckey says it’s going to include a real copy of Tetris just like the 1989 authentic famously did in most nations. It’s a new, fully licensed Tetris game internally developed by Luckey’s crew, which options “reimagined variations of the long-lasting Tetris theme tune” and real Hyperlink Cable multiplayer.


Precise macro pictures of a Chromatic display screen.
Photos: ModRetro

As a result of sure, the Chromatic has a Hyperlink Cable port in addition to a 3.5mm headphone jack and USB-C for “lagless” video out. It lasts 24 hours on three normal AA batteries, Luckey tells me. Whereas it’ll most likely ship with alkalines, there’ll be an elective lithium-ion pack, too — and he tells me you possibly can even recharge your NiMH AA batteries over USB-C!

Speaker audio is mono, like the unique Sport Boys, with a “customized ultra-loud speaker module,” and ModRetro has additionally partnered with Koss to ship color-matched retro Porta Pro headphones.

Palmer Luckey, age 16, with modded GB Pocket.

Talking of customized, Luckey tells me the entire design is in-house, together with the customized display screen — which is so shiny as a result of it’s based mostly on shows utilized in aviation. He says ModRetro isn’t doing something fairly so unique as manufacturing its personal chips however that, basically, the crew went all out as an alternative of creating enterprise savvy selections. “None of it makes any enterprise sense in any respect.”

In comparison with the Analogue Pocket, says Luckey, “we are literally genuine”:

The colour temps are literally proper, the clock charge isn’t barely off, the pixel construction isn’t completely fallacious in a method that ruins subpixel conscious sprites, and many others.

He despatched me this picture for example:

”Right here is an instance – discover how Lapras is garish yellow on Analogue as an alternative of truly matching the GBC colour temps, which we did with an all customized show,” writes Luckey.
Picture: Palmer Luckey

The hand held isn’t the one factor the ModRetro crew might be promoting: you should purchase authentic “Chromatic” cartridges with new video games, too. Luckey’s promising a lot there: “all-physical re-releases and remasters of traditional Sport Boy titles, fully new IP from unimaginable indie builders, first-time launches of Sport Boy video games that have been canceled earlier than launch, and even some titles that have been canceled earlier than the general public ever discovered about them.”

The Chromatic handheld doesn’t use ROMs, by the best way, not even in a roundabout trend just like the Analogue Pocket. It’s cartridge solely, says Luckey, until you provide your personal flashcart.

A number of the video games on supply.
Picture: ModRetro

Luckey says he’s unsure how lengthy he’ll fund {hardware} manufacturing, hinting that portions might be restricted — although GameStop will carry an unknown variety of them as nicely. “I’m going to make as many as I want to satisfy preorders,” he tells me. “However this factor is simply too loopy to make eternally.”

“I don’t see this as a method to generate income, I see it as the best way to make the world’s greatest tribute to the Sport Boy, one thing that I’ll be pleased with for a really very long time.”

You know me: I’m getting one.

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