Palmer Luckey is now selling pixel-perfect ultrabright magnesium Game Boys for $199

It’s true. There’s photo evidence — and today, he’s revealing his own take on the ultimate cartridge-playing Nintendo Game Boy, one that you can actually buy for $199.

Shipping this holiday, the ModRetro Chromatic sounds incredible: magnesium alloy case, sapphire crystal cover glass, PBT buttons, a pixel-perfect IPS screen at the same size and resolution as the original Game Boy and Game Boy Color, color-matched to the Game Boy Color screen — with “well over a thousand” nits of brightness so you can play out in the sunlight.

Not only does it have an FPGA inside (like the lauded Analogue Pocket) to play genuine Game Boy and Game Boy Color cartridges as if you’re playing them on the Nintendo original, Luckey says it will come with a genuine copy of Tetris like the original Game Boy often famously did. It’s a new, fully licensed Tetris game internally developed by Luckey’s team, which features “reimagined versions of the iconic Tetris theme song” and genuine Link Cable multiplayer.

Because yes, the Chromatic has a Link Cable port, as well as a 3.5mm headphone jack, and USB-C for “lagless” video out. It lasts 24 hours on three standard AA batteries, Luckey tells me. While it’ll probably ship with alkalines, there’ll be an optional lithium-ion pack too — and he says you can even recharge your NiMH AA batteries using the USB-C charger!

Audio is mono, like the original Game Boys, with a “custom ultra-loud speaker module.”

Speaking of custom, Luckey tells me the whole design is in-house, including the custom screen — which is so bright because it’s based on displays used in aviation. He says ModRetro isn’t doing anything quite so exotic as manufacturing its own chips, but that in general the team went all-out instead of making business decisions.

The handheld isn’t the only thing the ModRetro team will be selling, by the way: you can buy original “Chromatic” cartridges with new games, too. The Chromatic handheld doesn’t use ROMs, by the way, not even in a roundabout fashion like the Analogue Pocket. It’s cartridge only, says Luckey, unless you supply your own flashcart.

Some of the games on offer.
Image: ModRetro

Luckey says he’s not sure how long he’ll fund this hardware project, hinting that quantities will be limited — though GameStop will carry an unknown number of them as well. “I am going to make as many as I need to fulfill preorders,” he tells me. “But this thing is too crazy to make forever.”

A screencap showing the magnesium alloy shell.
Image: ModRetro

“I don’t see this as a way to make money, I see it as the way to make the world’s best tribute to the Game Boy, something that I’ll be proud of for a very long time.”

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