I may consider myself a “retro gamer” and up until now I never had an issue with being considered “retro” in the slightest. But with the NES classic flying off the shelves, people extorting others on the internet to get one and now the announcement of the “Super Retro Boy” it just feels like an almost hipster like tag to get people to part with their cash.
Back in the original days of Nintendo and Sega consoles we had buzzwords like “super” or “mega” affixed to the console name and that may well have helped gain interest but the more likely reason for them selling so well is that they were groundbreaking, never really seen before and each step forward was into unknown territory. So why now that we have all this VR tech and other things do people get swept up in the old?
I’ve seen countless NES Classics being sold on Gumtree and in CEX for more than a second hand NES that comes with a couple of games, and it baffles me. The resurgence in interest also leads to a big price hike on eBay for those of us who buy the original stuff. Is it a nostalgia/hipster fad or is it the convenience of having it all in one new package?
The Super Retro Boy isn’t a licensed Nintendo product, instead being created by a company called Retro-Bit. It has all the hallmarks of its bygone inspiration and I won’t deny that it does have some useful sounding features.
There’s the 2500 mAh rechargeable battery with up to 10 hours playback capacity and for some I’m sure the scratch and shatter-resistant TFT HD display is a nice touch (even though it won’t make Tetris look any better).
It also plays all types of Game Boy cartridges from the original GB to GBA which is great (albeit with the shoulder buttons awkwardly placed beneath the A+B buttons to play the GBA games), but it begs the question if you own those games already, then surely you already own the tech to play them on – so why would you fork out around £65 or so for another thing to play them on?
Yes I collect, and maybe I’m being cynical but I wouldn’t buy another console to play games that I can already play just to leave my original Game Boy on a shelf to look nice. Games and consoles were made to be played and I’m not convinced that a shiny new screen and a long lasting battery is enough to make most people part with their cash.
The Super Retro Boy seems caught in two minds and maybe if it had been an officially licensed model from Nintendo we’d see games built in as opposed to having to use the cartridges and I think that would likely sell a lot better than this.
There certainly seems to be some interest in it based on Twitter comments and other news articles about it though, but I’m yet to be convinced and I think this is another futile attempt at trying to tap into the market of the 30 something casual gamer rather than anything else.
There is no UK release date for the Super Retro Boy but it is due out in America in August this year.