ModRetro’s NEW Chromatic Handheld Plays Official Game Boy Cartridges

chromatic handheld

News like this makes me incredibly happy to be a retro gamer, there’s never enough modern technology that can be used for retro games, and now we have yet another new handheld that can play your old Game Boy cartridges in a unique and beautiful way.

ModRetro has officially revealed their new Chromatic handheld. ModRetro is founded by Palmer Luckey, a well known chap in the tech industry because he just so happens to be the founder of Oculus too.. so he’s kinda a big deal.

Now, instead of inventing futuristic technology, Palmer has taken a step back in time to create what he is calling “the world’s best tribute to the Game Boy”. It’s designed an encapsulated in a magnesium alloy frame partnered with a beautiful backlit 2.56″ IPS display that has a “1:1 identical pixel structure” in comparison to the Game Boy Color’s display.

This display also happens to have a sapphire screen lens too so that it does’t scratch easily and can hopefully last a life time of enjoyment.

chromatic handheld display and buttons

The buttons aren’t your traditional ABS plastic buttons, oh no. These are PBT semi-crystaline polymer that’s incredibly durable and won’t ware down after years of use, so you can see where ModRetro are going with this, they want to make the best of the best and to show the Analogue Pocket who’s boss.

Inside it;s use FPGA-based emulation so that it can be as close to real Nintendo hardware as possible without breaking any laws. It can play original Game Boy and Game Boy Color cartridges but also ModRetro’s phyiscal library too. And yes, before you ask it does have a trading cable port too should you want to play your old retro games with your friends.

ModRetro Chromatic Handheld Specifications

  • 160×144 pixel 2.56″ IPS LCD (Sapphire Crystal Lens)
  • Magnesium Alloy Thixomolded Shell
  • Custom ultra-loud speaker module
  • 3.5mm headphone output
  • Compatible with Game Boy® and Game Boy Color® game cartridges
  • Compatible with Chromatic game cartridges
  • Backwards compatible link cable port
  • Backwards compatible IR link
  • USB-C lagless video out
  • Comes with 3x AA batteries for ultimate flexibility
  • Also compatible with custom lithium ion pack, rechargeable through console
modretro chromatic colors

The Chromatic comes in 6 unique color-ways and even features Japanese editions should you want START/SELECT and A/B to be Japanese. Those who order before the Christmas 2024 release will receive a “first edition” unit, but it is first come first served, so from that I guess they have a limited quantity?

As of now the Chromatic handheld retails for $199/£158. I managed to get my pre-order in and with taxes and shipping it raised it to $266/£208, so it’s not cheap for those outside of the US, but I am happy to take a chance on it because it’s obvious that the founder will put in the work to make this great.

Just remember to stock some AA batteries like the good old days. It’s small things like this that show that they want the experience to be nostalgic even if this thing will eat the batteries like they are M&M’s. It is compatible with litium-ion battery packs should you be a fan of modding, but i think I am gonna stick with the AA’s for now.

The ModRetro team have informed us that we are on their list to receive a product sample so should you want to see our thoughts make sure you follow us on socials or subscribe to our newsletter, I am also going to try my hardest and get some time to interview Palmer, so fingers crossed!

For many of you reading who are based in the US, you will be happy to know that ModRetro are collaborating with GameStop to stock this in retail stores in “Christmas 2024”. I am not sure whether or not they will be first edition units, but time will tell.

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