A product that began life as an April Fools joke has graduated to a real thing you can order right now: Hyperkin’s SmartBoy is an accessory for Android smartphones with a USB-C connector, and brings Game Boy-style physical controls and actual Game Boy game cartridge compatibility to the gaming device you carry with you everywhere in your pocket anyways.
The Hyperkin SmartBoy is up for pre-order now, with shipments beginning on August 21. It features a familiar button configuration and color scheme for original Nintendo Game Boy fans, and even grooves on the back that will prompt some tactile nostalgia. The accessory works with the SmartBoy companion app, and also pairs well with any of the many Android emulators available on the Google Play Store.
The accessory can also play official Game Boy and Game Boy Color cartridges, as mentioned, though these apparently take a little while to load, since it actually dumps their contents to the device. The device was built specifically for the Samsung Galaxy S8, but supports a long list of other USB C phones including Google Pixel and Pixel XL, Moto Z and Z Force, and more, with a full list of compatible smartphones available at the Hyperkin site.
By most early accounts, it provides a satisfying physical gaming experience that beats soft keys on Android emulator apps. With an abundance of options for mobile games, this may have a niche audience, but it’s definitely going to be attractive for anyone who grew up with a Game Boy in their school bag or pocket.