Earlier this month, I was lucky enough to get my hands on a Pocket Sprite – a $55 piece of game emulation hardware that fits in the palm of your hand. Measuring just an inch wide and two inches tall, the Pocket Sprite looks like the smallest Game Boy you've ever seen. It plays like it too, with A, B, start and selection buttons and a wee display with dimension sized to make playing games from the 1980s and 1990s in their original format feel "right."
Out of the box, the Pocket Sprite can play homebrew games designed to work with Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Sega console emulators. Before you ask, yes, this also means that any Game Boy or Sega ROMs you happen to find online will work with the hardware.
Before laying hands on it, I was apprehensive about how playable the Pocket Sprite might be. I still carry around a Game Boy Micro console with me, everywhere I go. I find that it's juuuuust small enough to pocket and still large enough that playing Super Mario World for 30 minutes can actually be enjoyable. The Pocket Sprite's way smaller than my GB Micro is. I was surprised by how easy its chunky controls were to use. But I was disappointed by how hard it was to keep track of a game's action on its display. For my eyes, it's just too small. But maybe your experience will be different.
Whether or not the Game Sprite is worth $55 really depends on why you're buying it. If you're looking for a device that'll let you revel for hours at a time in the game play that you grew up with, then no – I think it's too small to allow for more than a few minutes of enjoyable game play at a time. On the other hand, if you're interested in it as a curiosity or a toy to hack and tinker with, then it'll likely be a fun purchase for you.
Image via Seamus Bellamy