At first glance, I wasn’t sure about Hyperkin‘s Super Nintendo handheld, the SupaBoy. Thanks to the catchy name and nostalgic design, the SupaBoy will immediately grab your attention, but for those of us looking for a genuinely solid console to play SNES games, the handheld can seem a little questionable. Is it really worth buying a charming little handheld if it doesn’t prove its worth?
For one, it’s not a Super Nintendo. Third party consoles, peripherals and accessories haven’t had the best track record for gaming, and tend to break down at a disturbing rate. While I’ll admit, I’ve owned some third party controllers that have lasted me well over the years, I’ve also had some pretty nasty experiences with third-party memory cards where 70+ hour save files for Final Fantasy VII, VIII and IX one day completely disappeared (that was a total nightmare). So the question arises: did the SupaBoy disappoint? Surprisingly, no.
From the get-go, I couldn’t help but be enticed by this bad boy (just check out how overwhelmed I was in my YouTube unboxing). With the SNES being my retro console of choice, and a constant form of discussion between me and my boyfriend (the Genesis’ “blast processor” can kiss my ass), I am always looking for ways to take my cartridges on-the-go. To be honest, it’s something I didn’t think I would get to experience without paying lots and lots of money (YouTube is full of DIY models) so to have the opportunity to own a relatively inexpensive retro handheld is pleasantly surprising.
Hyperkin does a really impressive job with the SupaBoy, easing pretty much all of my worries along the way. Aside from having to give each of my cartridges a good cleaning (please, please open up those cartridges if you want to do this the right way! Just check out my SNES cartridge cleaning video), my cartridges worked fine, offered a snug fit and didn’t interfere with either of the shoulder buttons. I can even vouch for the overall design which doesn’t feel fragile in any way. And do I even need to mention the rechargeable ion battery? One of the nicest features had to have been the backlight display which offers just the right amount of light and glow to play in any type of lighting. That said, glare is minimal and unless you plan on playing outdoors you won’t have much to worry about.
While you’d think the SupaBoy is made specifically for one-player games its surprisingly flexible in its capabilities. Thanks to the trusty AV cable that comes with the handheld you can hook it up and plug in your controllers to the two front slots on the handheld and go at it. There are plenty of multiplayer games on the SNES so it’s nice to see Hyperkin go the extra mile and add this feature.
I think what I like most about the SupaBoy is that it takes us away from relying completely on ROMs for our retro gaming pleasure. If you’re a retro game fan you probably have a few emulators tucked away on your computer just in case, but it can quickly become too much of a convenience and deter from the real deal. While I know not everyone is gonna own an SNES or the games, those of you who do have no reason to not be playing them. I know for a long time I relied heavily on my ROMs (primarily for those really rare, expensive games — I’m lookin’ at you E.V.O.: Search for Eden and Earthbound!), but lately I’ve been putting a lot more time and attention into my cartridges thanks to this nifty handheld.
Sometimes skepticism can lead to some truly amazing surprises and this is definitely one of them. Hyperkin has done an amazing job bringing the SNES back to life with a new on-the-go appeal I couldn’t love more. I will forever adore my SNES console, but there’s something so wonderful about that ease and flexibility. If you’re like me and own a lot of cartridges you want to put to good use, do yourself a favour and snag the SupaBoy. It’ll offer you an experience you wouldn’t otherwise get in retro gaming.