Fired VR Founder is Making Custom Game Boys Alongside Military Horrors

A bunch of various Chromatic Game Boys in a line in front of a purple background
Credit: ModRetro

A bunch of various Chromatic Game Boys in a line in front of a purple background
Credit: ModRetro

Palmer Luckey's portfolio is quite unusual right now. The Oculus founder designed the original Oculus Rift, one of the best VR headsets of its time and a revival for virtual reality. However, after being fired by Facebook, Luckey moved on to strange projects, such as a VR headset that kills you. Now, he's returning to basics.

While many people settle for the best emulators for iPhone and best emulators for Android, plenty prefer using real hardware. Original Game Boys have several issues after years of being used and are usually an expensive investment, so custom Game Boys give retro gamers a piece of technology that feels old and new at the same time.

There are many options in this space, but Luckey's latest endeavor is a return to form. The Oculus founder was fired for donating to far-right groups and has been controversial for founding a defense company aiming to create 'invincible technomancers,' but he started by modding Game Boys.

Describing it as the "ultimate tribute to the Nintendo Game Boy," Luckey's Chromatic is a feature-filled delight. The custom Game Boy uses FPGA internals to produce an authentic Game Boy experience, allowing you to use Game Boy or Game Boy Color cartridges. Other features include a magnesium alloy shell, sapphire crystal glass, and an IPS screen that matches the size, resolution, and pixel density of the original Game Boy. It is also color-matched to the Game Boy Color and bright enough to use in sunlight.

An Orange custom Game Boy called Chromatic playing Tetris in front of a purple background
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Credit: ModRetro

Luckey himself acknowledges the oddness in his blog post on ModRetro. "This reveal might seem out of nowhere given that most people know me for my work on virtual reality technology and lethal autonomous weapons systems," Luckey states in the announcement, "but my background in this space is even longer-lived." It doesn't seem like Luckey is giving up his ambition in the military defense space, but this appears to be a hobbyist-style break.

The Chromatic First Edition is set to ship later this year in time for the holidays, with the device priced at $199 / £159, and it comes with a copy of Tetris. It appears to be a very appealing device, especially for retro fans, though some may struggle to separate the art from the artist.

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