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Handy Boy

Handy Boy

Handy Boy

“It’s the stereo amplifying, screen magnifying, night lighting, fire button enlarging, thumb stick controlling, compacting, easy carrying accessory for your Game Boy – whew! Try saying that three times fast – it’s a mouthful! But that’s what you get when you have it all. Other Game Boy accessories leave you with nothin’ to say. Hey, there’s only one worth talkin’ about. Handy Boy – Don’t settle for less.”

–          Poster advertisement

handy boy 2

Man that IS a mouthful. And the Handy Boy makes your Game Boy three handfuls! I mean, this thing is freegin’ massive! But probably thanks to my successful temper tantrums and my awesome mom, who spoiled me sometimes, I am one happy Handy Boy owner and I know you wish you had one. Please forgive the Mario stickers haphazardly placed on my hardware… Yes, this IS the original Handy Boy I got in the early ‘90s.

Handy Boy on the go

Bc this looks COOL in public!

What you get

With the Handy Boy you get a variety of “enhancements” to your already stellar piece of equipment. The first thing you’ll notice is how bulky and massive this thing is. The enhancements are:

–          Enhanced sound: The sound isn’t exactly “enhanced” per se, but the volume is maximized significantly. There are 2 large speakers that unfold when you open it, and rest to the left and right of the screen. There is a cord coming out of the bottom right of the main body and that cord plug has a male headphone jack on it. Plug that into the bottom and your speakers are now receiving the sounds that a normal pair of headphones would receive.

handy boy

*Ignoring the sticker-extravaganza… Look at this alien life form sucking the life out of my Game Boy…

  • The sound quality is surprisingly very good. I was more than pleased when I cranked the volume at full blast while playing Tetris. As a matter of fact, I thought it was TOO loud considering how close my face was to the Game Boy. But that’s just my opinion. I didn’t notice any distortion whatsoever when the volume was maxed out. This delighted me very much.
  • It’s not all good for the speakers, though. They are obnoxiously large and don’t stay folded in. There is a long strap attached to the top of the Handy Boy and you can hang it around your neck or single-strap it on your shoulder. Since the Handy Boy doesn’t stay shut (because the speakers fold in to “close” the Handy Boy), the speakers just flap open and close as you walk. It kind of defeats the purpose. A simple Velcro strip or magnet would have sufficed.

Let’s take a mid-review break and talk about Jessica Biel in Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It’s the Night of Mischief (night before Halloween) and the IFC channel has been running a Texas Chainsaw Massacre marathon. I happened to turn it on right when the 2003 remake was starting. Going back to when I watched this in theaters, I remember thinking Jessica Biel was smoking hot. So I stuck around, foregoing a great South Park episode on Comedy Central. Jessica Biel is wearing this sexy little knotted white tank top and low riding jeans that show off her perfect midriff. Anyway, thought I’d share that for a second… I’m about to go camping over here because I’m pitching one helluva tent y’all.

Anyway! Back to the review!

–          Enhanced thumb abilities: One of the many pieces in this odd contraption is a little button and joystick slide-on that goes right over the A B buttons and d-pad turning it into bigger A B buttons that are slightly sloped inwards and a joystick. I have since lost mine, but I recall oftentimes playing without it.

handy boy joystick

  • The joystick is far too big for children’s hands and it’s really not all that beneficial. Underneath it’s really just a d-pad shape that pushes the Game Boy’s d-pad when you tilt it in one direction. The same goes for the buttons that press A and B. There is one benefit, however, as the buttons are slightly inward-sloping. This allows faster button-pressing by simply rolling your thumb left or right to press A or B. Either way, these buttons aren’t necessary and don’t add anything, in my honest opinion.

–          Enhanced visuals: The Handy Boy provides players with some pretty neat visual enhancements and they truly are enhancements.

Handy Boy open

Check out this monstrosity

  • 1st off, there is a large magnifying glass that has a tri-fold mechanism to allow for adjustments so you can determine the perfect spot for it. OR you can fold it up and out of the way so you are playing with just the Game Boy plain screen.
  • Secondly: In addition to the magnifying screen, there are 2 small lights on the left and right side that shine down on the Game Boy screen. This feature is probably the most useful feature on this Transformer-esque accessory.

I usually look at things like this as gimmicky, and I don’t think I can lie to myself. It really is a gimmick. There’s no REAL added benefit except for the lights. It’s not all fun and games for the Handy Boy. The lights are a great feature but are ONLY noticeable when it’s completely dark. I tried playing this thing in my car when I was at the Laundromat and really struggled to see the screen. The really large apparatus has a deep window and with the magnifying glass at full extension, the entire thing blocks out almost all of the natural light around me. It was basically impossible to see the screen. I turned the lights on, but they aren’t bright enough to light up the screen even when it’s semi-dark.

handy boy fold up

With the magnifying lens folded up

Being louder sound isn’t all that necessary because your mom and dad will put you in a Ted Nugent stranglehold before you get to the 3rd room in Kwirk. The magnifying glass is okay, but kind of distorts the corners a little and that detracts from the overall experience.

If all of that weren’t bad enough, this device has 3 plugs extending out in different places. Fortunately enough, the developers at InterAct designed it so the plugs would stick out closest to where they would plug into the Game Boy. The cord coming out of the top wraps around the back and has a positive and negative hookup that draws power directly from the batteries themselves. It’s a pain to hook up, it’s a bigger pain to hold in your hand.

Pros:
  • Increased sound volume with a little more clarity.
  • The magnifying glass increases the visible size of the screen.
  • The Handy Boy adds 2 lights on the left and right that light up the screen.
  • Power is drawn from the Game Boy and we are not required to have an additional power source like an AC adapter or alternate battery pack.
  • Less than $20 on average on Amazon.
handy boy hook up
Cons:
  • Sound volume gets a little louder than necessary, and it only increases those terrible Game Boy chip tunes.
  • The entire contraption blocks out much of the natural lighting needed to see the screen during the day.
  • The lights aren’t visible on the screen unless your environment is pretty dark.
  • The Handy Boy is extremely bulky and awkward to hold.
  • Set-up of the Handy Boy is lengthy, complicated, and annoying. Yes, it just slides on, but then you have to hook it up to the batteries, plug in the adapter source on the left, slide on the joystick adapter, plug in the sound cord, unfold the magnifying glass, then turn on the Game Boy… Plus turn on the Handy Boy. It’s a lot to handle.
  • The speakers won’t stay shut and are often just flapping around when being handled.
  • Sometimes won’t turn on if the positive and negative battery hook ups aren’t perfectly positioned.
  • Only works on the original Game Boy. While there is a Game Boy Pocket version, this one is not compatible with any other hookup.
  • Draws a lot of power and drains the batteries a little faster than desirable.
  • Heavy with all batteries and Handy Boy hooked up.

handy boy 3

Conclusion

Overall, the Handy Boy is a weird piece of hardware in a strange world of accessories. While not created by Nintendo, InterAct offered up an average device designed to change the way you play portable games. Did it fail? Not entirely. While mostly forgotten today, in its heyday it still sold fairly well and spawned the Handy Pak, a Game Boy Pocket Handy Boy piece. I can’t endorse this device, however, as I think it’s far too complicated and annoying and not worth the trouble. If it’s a lighting source you want, look into the officially licensed Nintendo Light Boy. It provides light and magnification. Mostly all lighting accessories for the Game Boy really want to magnify your screen for some reason. Give me one of those clip-on book lights and I’m good to go!

Reviewed by NerdBerry

Written by Nerdberry

Nerdberry

What’s up yall? David “Nerdberry” here! I am the founder of Nerd Bacon and the current co-owner (and CEO) along with partner David “theWatchman!” I hail from North Carolina, hence my love for all things pork! Oh, you’re not familiar with NC? Well I’m not 100% sure, but I am pretty confident that NC and VA lead the nation in pork production. I could be wrong, but even if I am, I still love bacon!

Come enjoy some bacon and games with us yall.

 
 

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One Comment

  1. Wow. Gotta love the psycho-with-a-Game-Boy in that poster…

     

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