E3 2016 – Hyperkin’s Smart Boy Adapter Revealed

At one time, Hyperkin’s Game Boy adapter for smartphones was nothing more than an April Fool’s Day prank. Now however, it seems as though the Smart Boy Adapter for Android has become a reality. Something I can personally confirm after seeing it in the flesh at Hyperkin’s E3 stand in the South Hall.

What’s more, this wasn’t just a demo build either. In fact, when I got there the device was happily running Pokémon Yellow from the original Game Boy cartridge. Although it must be said that unfortunately, attendees like myself weren’t able to go hand on with this intriguing new adapter. Even after kindly asking.

From what I did see at E3 though, it seems as though your Android phone simply slots into an outer casing. One that is made to resemble a classic grey Game Boy minus the screen. Cartridges then slot into the back as can bee seen in the picture. Even better, according to the back of the box, the device will support both Game Boy, and Game Boy Advance cartridges.

The only thing that Hyperkin weren’t revealing though, is how exactly each game is loaded. This is true not only of the technology that makes the hardware work, but also in regard to whether you will need an app or emulator to run the cartridges. Nevertheless, it was still very exciting to see the device up and running.

Smart Boy Back
The back of the Smart Boy with Pokémon Yellow inserted.

How did this all come to pass though? Well, originally pitched as an iPhone accessory, Hyperkin positioned the Smart Boy as their 2015 April Fool’s Day prank. Viewing it as a needles invention, it was anticipated that nobody would really take the Smart Boy seriously.

However, Hyperkin were proven wrong after they were flooded with requests on how to pre-order the non-existent product. Ultimately proving that there is still a genuine interest in the authenticity of using real cartridges. As such, Hyperkin announced that they would actually look into developing this Game Boy adapter for smartphones, before going quiet on the matter.

Smart Boy April Fool's Day
The original image from Hyperkin’s 2015 April Fool’s Day prank.

Luckily for everyone though, it seems as though Hyperkin is done with being silent on the matter. That’s because immediately following this unexpected E3 reveal, Hyperkin subsequently announced that it had opened pre-orders for developer kit version of their Smart Boy adapter. Something which you can order for yourself over here for $59.99.

Of course, there’s always the worry of a cease & desist notice from Nintendo. And sadly it won’t be available for iPhone, more than likely due to Apple’s tight App Store controls. However, thanks to the Smart Boy, we can all look forward to dusting off those Game Boy cartridges one more time.

Long live the cartridge!

Simon Aubrey Drake

A lifelong gamer with a fanatical love of all things Nintendo and Japan. So much so that I've written a thesis on one and lived in the other. Currently on a quest to catch every last Pokémon. Follow me on twitter via @DudeXChill or @RingsandCoins.

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