Japanese netizens rediscover “Full Armor Game Boy,” question how the ’90s defined portability

2015.03.02 Gamey Boy1

Japanese netizens are reintroduced to the “Full Armor Game Boy”

RocketNews 24:

Despite the Game Boy’s revolutionary specs for its time, the small screen, the lack of a backlight and minuscule speaker left much to be desired for gamers in the 1990s. And although many just considered the Game Boy’s limitations a minor price to pay to take the fun of Nintendo anywhere they wanted, some accessory makers brought a few products to market to jazz it up a bit.

Recently Japanese netizens came across a picture of one such accessory that tripled the size of the Game Boy, calling to question just how “portable” this gaming option was.

A retro gaming enthusiast tweeted out a photo last week from a 1994 issue of the Japanese video game magazine Famitsu that shows a tricked-out version of the Game Boy he dubbed “Full Armor Game Boy.” The oversized device looks practically indestructible, almost like it came from the war room where military scientists engineered it to control missiles.

The somewhat awkward-looking add-ons are from an officially licensed Nintendo product called the Handy Boy (which you can still buy for US$29.99 on Amazon). The Handy Boy includes an adjustable magnifying screen, speakers, a light to for those nighttime Game Boy sessions, larger buttons, a miniature joystick and a neck strap to make holding the even bulkier device possible. Even though some YouTube reviewers of the Handy Boy say it makes the Game Boy a “wee bit top-heavy,” the packaging claims it is “lightweight” and has a “compact design.”

2015.03.02 Gamey Boy

Japanese netizens were taken aback at just how big all of these accessories made the Game Boy and wondered how this could possible be called a handheld video game console. While others wondered how uncomfortable it would be to actually play with everything attached like that. And for those that actually remembered squinting at the tiny green screen, they looked at this image in envy of the lucky kid whose parents bought them this Game Boy holy grail.

– “This is multitasking: video games AND weightlifting at the same time!”
– “Looks like a Game Boy crossed with a Transformer”
– “This is really stretching the limits of portability…”

Did you ever use the Handy Boy to trick out your Game Boy or wish you had? Let us know in the comments section below if you remember the joys (and perhaps still lingering neck pain) of playing Tetris on a magnified, lit-up screen with stereo sound!

 

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