I have been waiting to get my hands on one of these things since I first saw it demoed at E3 last year. The portable Super Nintendo has long been a dream of mine, and many other video game fans. Sure, there was that FC-16, but from most accounts I saw it was kind of junky and truthfully, the device itself looked like a gigantic sloppy Nintendo DS clone (in a bad way).
Hyperkin has created the SupaBoy with hardcore SNES fans in mind. Emulating the classic (and hideous, in retrospect) duo-tone grey and duo-purple design cues of the North American Super Nintendo, they are pandering specifically to the nostelgia of long time fans, and I am in love.
The entire machine has a pretty decent build quality, and the inclusion of SNES controller inputs on the front means you can use your own official Nintendo SNES controllers. You can only use them when the SupaBoy is hooked up to your TV, however, via the included AV cable. Many reviews raise complaints about this idiosyncrasy, but I personally think the idea of propping the SupaBoy up on a table, or laying it in your lap just so you can play it with plugged-in controller is kind of ridiculous, and really defeats the whole purpose of having a portable device in the first place.
On the plus side, the screen on the SupaBoy is absolutely fantastic. It is kind of disappointing that my photos do not accurately capture the color depth and vividness of the picture, but rest assured that this thing looks beautiful in person. 16-bit has never looked so good.
My sole complaint with the machine is that the D pad takes a little getting used to. I found myself having some trouble with precise movements for the first hour or so, but I soon overcame it’s short-comings and began unconsciously compensating for the over-stiff D pad. After I got used to it I never really had any further problems, but it would have nice to have something closer to the SNES’ actual D pad.
As far as game compatibly goes, I have tried out pretty much all of my carts and have not had any problems. I have heard people have had problems with the Donkey Kong Country games and with Super Mario RPG, but this is likely because the later released versions of these carts have added copy protection built-in which makes them incompatible with clone systems. Happily, my Super Mario RPG is one of the first batch released, so it plays without any problems.
The SupaBoy only gets 2.5 hours playtime per charge, so Hyperkin mercifully included a rechargable battery that can be charged via the included power adaptor.
Check out the thumbnails below for a small cross section of some of my favourite games running on the SupaBoy. These games include reproduction carts, an FX ship cart, and Super Famicom games. The Super Famicom Nintendo Power cart even works on the SupaBoy, which I was uncertain of initially.