The Best Game Boy Mods No One Asked For

The Best Game Boy Mods No One Asked For

Game Boy modding has a thriving community spanning back decades, long before investor culture began creeping into retro video game collecting and shot their prices sky-high. And these mods can get really elaborate.

Some modders go all out customising the handheld’s cosmetics, livening it up with a new body design, swapping out buttons, or any number of other modifications. But many don’t stop there, going on to rip out the electronic guts and transplanting them to an upgraded shell or adding new features such as back-lighting or USB slots. Between the original chunky Game Boy and Advance lines (as well as their many model variations) to later series like the DS and 3DS, there’s a wide selection of Nintendo handhelds to experiment with.

Modders are continually raising the bar when it comes to how far they can push the retro hardware. But in doing so, you could say some have flown too close to the sun, producing some truly unholy Frankenstein-esque creations. Here are some of the most needless Game Boy mods out there. Don’t get me wrong, though — I say that from a place of love as someone who grew up wiling away countless hours on these handhelds over the years. I want them all.

Everything From Retro Hai/HaiHaiSB

Truth be told, this modder’s cursed Game Boy concoctions inspired this list in the first place. Retro Hai, also known as HaiHaiSB, is the mad scientist of the Game Boy modding scene. He’s made a classic Game Boy with three screens that fold down a la the Game Boy Advance SP for a (marginally) smaller form factor. Then there’s the Game Boy Advance that looks like a real-life Pokédex. Oh, and, after five attempts, he successfully managed to fuse the bottom half of a Game Boy Advance SP with a fully functional DS touch-screen. Dear God, this man must be stopped.

Image used with permission.

The Ridiculously Long Game Boy

One YouTuber had the courage to ask the kind of questions that society is too afraid to, like: What if the OG Game Boy but longer?

On his channel The Retro Future, Elliot Coll took the original ‘89 Game Boy (commonly referred to by its model number, DMG-01) and expanded on its already chunky shell design to make it roughly the size of a five-dollar footlong. During the video, after putting in the Game Boy’s similarly massive test cartridge, he compared it to holding one of those tennis racket peripherals for the Wii Remote.

The Game Boy Controller

Our next entry comes courtesy of BitBuilt, a popular forum for modding any retro game consoles under the sun. User splain managed to fit a Game Boy Micro, one of the tiniest models in the Game Boy family, into a Super Nintendo controller. Yes, you read that right, not the console itself — its controller. The ungodly contraption is fully functional too, able to run emulators via flashcarts as opposed to physical cartridges.

The SNES Boy

The Super Famicom, or Super Nintendo Entertainment System as it was known in the U.S., had some big shoes to fill after its predecessor, the NES, pretty much single-handedly return video games to the zeitgeist following the industry took a nosedive in the ‘80s. And it did not disappoint, bringing us classics like Earthbound, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, and Super Metroid that hold up surprisingly well even today.

GameOver Customs built this reimagining of what the console would look like as part of the Game Boy family, and just like the SNES, it does not disappoint.

Image used with permission.

The Game-ist of Boys

JayBoyModz makes some incredibly detailed Game Boys with designs inspired by specific titles or series. Among the many that I would shell out an embarrassing amount of money for include this Game Boy Advance themed to Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade and this Game Boy Advance SP re-fitted with the kind of see-through shell that tech makers slapped on everything during the ‘90s and early aughts. Come to think of it, why’d did that ever fall out of style? Now that’s a Y2K trend revival I can get behind.

Image used with permission.

GameBoy Terrariums

OK, so this one feels like cheating a little bit. All the previous mods were still functional game systems, whereas Winnie Sumida’s modifications involve fully gutting these handhelds to make room for cutesy game-themed terrariums. Does that still count? I say that still counts.

Sumida constructs custom Game Boy planters under the banner Waku Waku Island, an art project she launched in 2016 that has since grown into a full-time job. For the planter’s base, she uses newly manufactured replacement shells or recycled shells from Game Boys that would have been discarded as part of other modders’ projects. Each piece features ridiculously intricate scenes that incorporate Pokémon figurines, gashapon toys, and other video game miniatures into a tiny garden of artificial plants that are meant to look like they’re growing out of the Game Boy itself.