|Gameboy iPhone Case
Find it on: eBay, Amazon, AliExpress
There’s a certain novelty to the Gameboy iPhone Case. Take it with you out to dinner, and it’s sure to be a conversation piece. After all, who doesn’t coo over the idea of an iPhone case that plays 8-bit Retro games? But in reality, that’s the most kick you’ll get out of this product, which is beginning to make the rounds through a blitz of social media ads for the 2020 holiday season.
When you turn on the handheld, you’re greeted by a dimly lit screen that gives you English and Chinese language options. After that, you’ll break into the games menu that four screens of nine games each, for a total of 36 games. There are only a few games you’ve actually heard of on here, with the main attraction being Super Mario Bros. The emulation itself isn’t bad, though you’ll get a decent amount of screen tearing. The device plays the 8-bit games on the emulator at a normal speed, though you’ll probably want to mute the sound because the speaker is substandard (I am using a generous adjective here). But the real issue here is that the A and B buttons are reversed. After 30+ years of playing with the jump button on the right and the turbo button on the left, there’s little entertainment value in needing to relearn these controls.
Aside from the buttons being reversed, the controls themselves are frustratingly non-responsive. The buttons are squishy and require extra force to get the emulator to recognize which button you’re pushing. The form factor is fairly thin and somewhat looks like a classic Gameboy, but the plastic and rubber used are predictably flimsy. If you were to use this as your primary iPhone case, the keys and screen wouldn’t last more than a few months of banging around in your pocket. Also, it offers little to no protection for your iPhone’s screen since the case lip barely reaches it. This is strictly something to be used for one-off situations.
Then again, you have to look at this through the lens of bang for buck. Depending on what iPhone you have, the price ranges from $10 to $20. At that price, it’s not reasonable to expect incredible emulation, crisp graphics and rock solid protection for your phone. It makes for a good stocking stuffer or just a fun novelty piece, and if that’s the lens you use, then it may be worth the purchase. Just don’t expect the novelty to last long.