Portable game systems are completely self-contained. Unlike home systems, which require a TV, multiple outlets, and a separate controller unit, handhelds contain everything you need to play games, built right in to the unit. They are self-reliant. They are also-- and this goes without saying-- portable. They're designed to be small
so you can carry them around.
Why, then, do jackasses feel the need to make accessories for handhelds? Accessories needlessly add bulk to Game Boys, effectively exiling them from casual pocket-drops. Here are five of the most pointless things you could ever graft onto a handheld system. We're giving a lot of attention to the Game Boy Color, as it turned out to be a focal point for idiotic doodads. Hopefully, these companies are still tired from their furious crap-assembling, and will largely pass over the DS.
GBA Solar Pak (Gemini)
Assuming that the ubiquitous
AA battery was an insufficient method of powering the Game Boy Advance, Gemini solved the problem by inventing a giant solar panel for it. It allows you to charge while playing in annoying glare, or to render your Game Boy nocturnal, charging it in a window by day, to be played only at night. Nintendo's solution, introduced with the Game Boy Advance SP, was a rechargeable battery.
This thing is only cool if you want to show everyone how environmentally conscious you are. And it helps this cause by forcing you
to show everyone, since you won't be able to fit your Game Boy in even the most cargo-hungry of cargo pants.
Shock & Rock (Nyko)
The Shock & Rock adds vibration to handheld games that were never designed to support vibration. How does it work? It uses the power of an intentionally terrible speaker!
Instead of being triggered by cues in the programming, allowing rumble to add realism at the appropriate moment, the Shock & Rock rumbles any time a remotely bass-like sound is played.
In addition, it offers amplification for the rest of the Game Boy's sound output. And, of course, it significantly increases the bulk of the system. Because, you know, if handheld game systems have any major drawbacks, it's that they're too small
and too private.
The Shock & Rock turns your Game Boy Color into a fat, rattling boombox of distorted 8-bit noise. Great, if that's what you're looking for. The only really interesting thing about the Shock & Rock is that a version of the device was released for the Neo Geo Pocket Color. The Neo Geo Pocket Color was a dismal failure in the US, so much so that all units were recalled
. We'll leave it to you to decide if the two things are related.
Hip Clip (Nyko) / any Game Boy belt buckle
There is no situation in which you need to be able to quick-draw your Game Boy. Your friend can wait the extra two seconds to start your epic Welcome to My Underground Lair
showdown. And if he can't, then he needs to dip into his hip-mounted Ritalin holster. And for God's sake, there are infinitely superior ways to prove your retro-ness than by strapping a Game Boy to your abdomen-- we suggest writing weblog entries about Snatcher.
Game Boy Color dance pad (Konami)
There are precisely two reasons that anyone ever bothered to play Dance Dance Revolution
at any time: the music and the dancing. In the right hands
, the Game Boy Color can be made to emit some uniquely interesting music, but there is no solution to the problem of the Game Boy having nothing to step on.
Sticking a thing on the front that resembles the part you step on doesn't help the game. It just reminds you that you could
be playing the real game, and Playing Dance Dance Revolution
on a handheld game system is like buying a pop-up book on tape.
Singer Izek sewing machine
This one's not actually that bad as a thing.
Sewing machines are pretty neat, and they allow you to do something productive with your time. This one uses the Game Boy Color's screen, which is guaranteed to be hundreds of years ahead of the state of the art in sewing machine technology, to display and edit embroidery patterns. But we're a gaming site, as much as the DS is trying to change that, and a Game Boy accessory that doesn't actually work with any games is a pretty terrible Game Boy accessory by definition. On a related note, remember when the iMac came out and suddenly everything had to have a transparent teal section? Good thing everybody
stopped ripping off Apple's industrial design