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Palmer Luckey’s Chromatic is the Ultimate Game Boy

Key Takeaways

  • Palmer Luckey is launching a retro Game Boy for $199.
  • The Chromatic features a magnesium alloy case and sapphire crystal cover glass.
  • Pre-orders are available now for December delivery.

Anyone who has had a hankering to play with a new and improved Nintendo Game Boy this holiday season is in luck. Palmer Luckey, the man who created a VR headset that will literally kill you is engaged in a new, more fun, and totally non-lethal project.


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On June 2, Luckey officially announced his new ModRetro Chromatic — a console that Luckey claims can run any Nintendo Game Boy cartridges out there — is ready to be pre-ordered from the ModRetro website and will be shipped in time for the holidays. The bonus here is that while Luckey has put his Chromatic into a package that looks like a throwback to the golden age of Nintendo handheld gaming, the device is a souped-up version that could look and feel a bit better than the original.

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In his product announcement, Luckey revealed that the ModRetro Chromatic has been a labor of love for almost two decades. The $199 handheld, available for preorder now and set to be delivered in December, has undergone numerous iterations and tests to ensure it’s not just a Game Boy clone, but a true homage to the console’s unique charm.

The ModRetro Chromatic boasts a magnesium alloy case and a sapphire crystal cover glass, offering the same size, resolution, pixel structure, and color balance as the original Game Boy and Game Boy Colors. With a brightness of 1,000 nits and an LCD screen designed for outdoor use, the Chromatic ensures a seamless gaming experience, even under the sun.

Because the ModRetro Chromatic has an FPGA, it will allow users to play any official Game Boy and Game Boy Color cartridges as though you were playing them on the original devices. But Luckey has added a bit of a special treat with each console. An officially licensed and specially designed version of Tetris that includes “reimagined versions of the iconic Tetris theme song” and Link Cable multiplayer should you and a friend each purchase a copy.

modretro headphones


Luckey is going all out on making sure that his Chromatic evokes the feeling of the original Game Boy and Game Boy color while offering a few new features that are only available in the modern era. For those who want to live in the more modern era, the handheld will allow you to charge the AA batteries it runs on using a USB-C cable.

For those who want to stay retro, there is a more traditional headphone jack for playing in private. To that end, ModRetro is also selling special Porta Pro headphones that can be color-matched to the Chromatic version you choose. To tie it all together, ModRetro is offering up several of its own games on cartridges, just in case you didn’t hang onto your old Game Boy carts.

According to Luckey, you aren’t going to have much time to decide if the Chromatic is going to be on your Christmas list. In his blog post, he made it clear that supplies are limited and that while the company will make other products, they aren’t making multiple runs of these.

Chromatic tag

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