Game Boys are the handheld consoles that just keep hanging on. They fulfilled our childhood dreams of being able to take our favorite games on the go with us, unless you didn't have one, in which case... did you even have a childhood? Just kidding! Regardless of what your beliefs are about these handheld gaming systems, this article isn't about that. Rather, we'll be taking a look at what makes some of the coolest-looking Game Boys worth noting and, well, what doesn't.
Customization is beginning to play more and more of a role in gaming and the ability to personalize your favorite console and, nowadays, customizing Game Boys is just a cool hobby. They're more of a novelty than something to be played on daily (unless you so choose) and it's pretty crazy to see what people do to trick out their own systems. Chances are, there will be people out there who agree that half of this list should be swapped but that's the beauty of opinions—everyone can have them, even when it comes to Game Boy styles.
By my terms, if a Game Boy has been customized but is totally boring or has features that completely wreck the gameplay experience, it goes on the "lame" list. If the art on a Game Boy is exceptional or has a cool theme, it goes on the "dope" list... Pretty simple stuff. If you have a revamped Game Boy, feel free to share it with us in the comments.
30 Lame: There's Not Much To See Here
You'll notice plenty of systems on here getting the boot simply because they're boring to look at. While neon colors were once cool in the 80s, now that it's 2018, there's just no room for a Game Boy that could probably glow in the dark. Additionally, neon pink and neon green were trademarks of a retro style of days past... With all the creativity and resources available to us now, we should be able to do much better than this.
29 Dope: Pikachu, I Choose You!
What was one thing that Game Boy was known for? Pokémon, of course! These awesome systems each come customized with everyone's favorite characters and while yours might not be up here, it's still neat to see such devoted themes. What makes these Game Boys so worth it is the fact that each Pokémon is in a trademark stance or position, making them authentic and pretty unique. Not to mention, they each match the game cards that go with them and if that doesn't please your gamer OCD, I'm not sure what will.
28 Lame: The See-Through Style Is Out
It's true. The days of see-through products ended the day that see-through backpacks stopped being trendy and the same goes for game consoles.
While at one point in the 90s it might have been totally rad to be able to see into your gaming system, nowadays it's just weird and distracting.
Now to mention, today's software is likely far too fragile to chance being encased in a clear plastic exterior. Some people might still love the look of these but in reality, they just look unfinished.
27 Dope: Altoids Boxes Can Be Perfectly Suitable For Hiding Games
Who doesn't love Zelda with a hint of mint every time you turn your Gameboy on? This one makes the "dope" list solely on the fact that it's such a creative way to encase a handheld system. These Altoid boxes look pretty legit and while playing your game might take some getting used to, there's no denying that this is a great way to conceal a game system. The work that went into rewiring this in order to make it work must have taken quite some time, so we're giving it an A for effort and skill.
26 Lame: See-Through And Neon
Now, we've got the double-whammy of insults to customized Game Boys. Not only can you see straight through this system, but it's that trademark neon green of the 90s.
You know, the same green that Surge soda and Nickelodeon Slime claimed for themselves.
This one almost made it to the "dope" list because it does feel so 90s nostalgic, but we just couldn't chance it given how many cool Game Boys there are out there... You know, systems that don't come in neon colors, with practical cases that aren't minimally opaque.
25 Dope: Zelda's Wall Is Pretty Realistic
It's unclear who designed this but whoever did it is a genius. The rock structure alone is incredibly detailed and if we didn't know any better, we'd probably believe this system was encased in actual rock if you told us it was true. Everything, even down to the single ivy vine across the face of this Game Boy, is uniquely realistic. Not a single thing was forgotten in this theme, including the emblem on the bottom left of the case. Dare we say it? This case rocks... Pun absolutely intended.
24 Lame: Sparkles Are Most Definitely Out
If you're a fan of major sparkle and glitz, then more power to you. Unfortunately, all of that sparkle and glamour won't help you win any games nor will it win you bragging rights.
It's not clear what happened to this original Game Boy to make it so princess-ified, but something tells us that not too many people would be confident pulling this bad boy out.
If the customizer had just stopped at the dual-blue shading then it might have been passable for cool, but sparkles? This looks like something to accompany a Barbie, not to play Tetris on.
23 Dope: Grafitti Kirby Is The Best Kirby
This one speaks for itself. The Game Boy Color was a huge advancement for handheld systems way back when and now, people are making them even cooler with the addition of custom paint jobs. Whoever did this is super talented and deserves a medal for being able to draw on a surface such as this one. Not only does this art wrap around the entire system, but it's been fully detailed to look as realistic and 3D as possible. Forget about playing this thing, we'd just like to showcase it in our living room.
22 Lame: Good Upgrade Or Bad Upgrade?
There's a common trend of reworking game systems to feel either more retro or more modern. We're not sure if the changes made to this system are even worth it, because it feels a bit redundant in a sense.
This is something that would be considered a fun project but overall, rather unnecessary.
The older, bulkier game systems haven't come back for a reason and there are plenty of rip-off game consoles on Amazon if you're looking for that retro real-feel.
21 Dope: Charizard Is Dope, Period
This Game Boy looks sleek, minimal, and modern, which is why we love it. Charizard blazing across the front of it just boosts the cool-factor of this system, leaving nothing to be desired. the colors are bold without being obnoxious, nothing has been altered significantly to interfere with gameplay, and Charizard himself is highly-detailed and bold. New game systems are great, but this one has us totally feeling that retro vibe and wanting to dig out our own Game Boys.
20 Lame: What Even Is This?
It is unclear whether that's genuine wear and tear on the body of this Game Boy or whether it was intentionally weathered to fit the theme, but that alone isn't a great sign. Understandably these systems aren't brand new, but they should never look as beat up as this one, especially if they've been customized. Aside from looking like a bumblebee that just went through a war, this Game Boy definitely could have been cool, had it been made clear that the paint job was intentionally, uh, botched.
19 Dope: Appropriately Named "Modboy"
Sometimes, good things come in the form of minimalism and a smooth, clean paint job. This "Modboy" Game Boy has a cool-looking robot on the front and was actually refurbished to be in top-notch condition.
Unlike its pal one post up, this Game Boy looks the part of something retro turned modern.
It's in great shape, has sharp artwork, and isn't overly bold or in your face with its theme. The colors used play perfectly against a white background and really seem to pop, making this one unique handheld.
18 Lame: It's Just A Face, Though
Game Boy Advance had the power to be so much more than... This. If you're really a huge fan of Pikachu then alright, we understand the need to have his face plastered across the top of your game system. However, even the most dedicated fans know that this isn't a way to respect the world's favorite pokemon. Not to mention, Pikachu's face is just flat. There's no real expression, no movement; there's nothing but a yellow square with a bunch of detail-less shapes conveying the slightest echo of an anime character.
17 Dope: Kirby Wins Again
Take a good look at this tremendous paint job because you'll likely never find anything else like it. Kirby is a beloved character and we didn't mind including several of these on our list because of it. Whoever the artist is who painted this has the character of Kirby down pat, complete with his classic stroll and overly-happy expression. You even get a Kirby tree, for goodness sakes! It's a complete scene if ever we saw one and you can guarantee this guy is sitting on someone's display shelf somewhere.
16 Lame: Black And Hot Pink Went Out A Long Time Ago
Back when AIM (AOL Instant Messenger for those of you who were still toddlers back then) was a serious thing, my first text and text background colors were hot pink and black. When I first got my braces, the first rubberband colors I chose were hot pink and black. Basically, the hot pink and black trend is a think of the distant past and shouldn't be brought back, even with a retro Game Boy. You can make it cute and call it a "Nintendork", but the colors still mark a decade past.
15 Dope: Fuchiko Perched Atop A Game Boy
Understandably, not everyone will be into a tiny human watching them play games on Game Boy. Having a charm such as this one is similar to having charms hang off of your iPhone, they're cute until you lose them or they become distracting. Either way, the overall design of this custom Game Boy is totally rad and far exceeds what we expect with any other Pokémon-themed game console. Bravo to the artist who thought of everything, down to the matching paint splatter background.
14 Lame: Simply Unplayable
Is this even a Game Boy? Correction: Was this even a Game Boy? In terms of modded systems and creativity, this one wins.
In terms of playability and functionality? It fails miserably.
This system is neat and all, but it's pretty tough to know whether or not you could play it without getting frustrated over the weird screen situation. Additionally, one of those wire arms is bound to stab you repeatedly during gameplay. And if it is just meant for the shelf... Well, that's a sad zombie story.
13 Dope: Cute And Functional!
In stark contrast, you really can never have too many Kirbys or too much Zelda. Both of these systems look very homemade which is awesome because more people should feel empowered to share their work. The detail in both of these characters is crazy and the paint jobs themselves are neat and clean. What we're loving most is the fact that each Kirby character has their own unique expression which must have taken hours on the part of the artist. Bravo!
12 Lame: Game Boy Inception
I'm not even sure where to start. This is where I know I'll have something people completely disagreeing over the fact that this Game Boy model is lame, but let's face it:
This is the Inception of Game Boys.
It's a system inside a system and it's more confusing to look at than it is to actually play... If you can play on it at all, that is. This "pocket size fun" is more like "major headache confusion" and I'm still trying to figure out what the purpose was behind this strange creation.
11 Dope: In A Carrying Case, Too
If there's anything we love here at TheGamer, it's retro styling. These 8-bit designs on this Game Boy totally fit the overall retro feel of this system and while they're subtle, they're also effective. It's cute and whimsical and speaks to fans everywhere who know that your love of a game doesn't need to encompass a system's entire theme. The colors alone are enough to let the user know this was Pokemon inspired, and we're loving the simplicity of it all.
10 Lame: Uninspired But At Least It Plays
Early 2000s chrome went out of style along with shiny hubcaps for tricked-out cars. This metallic and pastel chrome finish would have been cool back in 2004 when we still had flashy pants, metallic shoes, and metallic pink nail polish to match our butterfly clips and gelled-up hair waves. Nowadays, it's just a retro Game Boy looking for a place to fit in amongst new art styles, hand-painted exteriors, and updated systems. If anything, this thing looks more like an old-school iPod than an actual game system... Too bad it can't play music.
9 Dope: The Best Of Both Worlds
Speaking of chrome and metallic, this is the type of retro Game Boy you want to be carrying around with you. It's shiny, it's modern, it's sleek, and it's downright beautiful. The flawless finish of this system makes you want to reach out and see if it really is that glass-like (you're lying if you say you wouldn't) and the colors just make this thing pop. The detail in this decal is pretty unreal and everything down to the buttons look like they were just made yesterday.
8 Lame: Splatter Paint Is Out
Look, you can even match your Game Boy to your (circa 2002) studded paint splatter belt! I'm not sure when paint splatter became such a popular art style, but I'm blaming the 80s for this crazy abstract trend. This Game Boy probably would have been excellent for someone who appreciates the rawness that comes with throwing paint on something randomly, but on here it looks messy and out of place. It's almost like ruining a good handheld system for the sake of messy art.
7 Dope: Simple Yet Adorable
Granted, chocobos did not make it to the Game Boy systems that I know of, but this is one I am absolutely including on this list. As an avid Final Fantasy fan and an ex-Game Boy player, this is one custom design that I would love to have on my own shelf. It's cute, it's colorful, and it's undoubtedly recognizable to anyone who has played any game in the franchise. While the theme and the console is a bit mismatched, there's no denying that this was a clever nod to one of the greatest game franchises in the world.
6 Lame: For The Older Gamers, We Guess
Excuse me, I need to go sneeze because I'm surrounded by too many flowers. This floral design is adorable for something like a flowy blouse or a boho skirt, but on a Game Boy, it's completely out of place.
The cool thing about this design is that it is hand-painted and the artist deserves credit for putting in so much work and effort in creating a beautiful theme by hand. However, it's somewhat unusual to find this boho-chic floral design on a gaming system. To each their own, but "flower power" isn't something we normally associate with hard-out handheld gaming, if you know what we mean.
5 Dope: An Incredible Design
How awesome is this retro painted Game Boy? Someone took a lot of time and a whole lot of paint mixing and effort into creating such a ridiculous exterior for their handheld. The color choices are on-point, both modern and retro, and the detail is stunning. This artist even including white highlights everywhere they would realistically be, making this system stand out in a nearly 3-dimensional way. What we can't get over is the tiny mushroom that made its way to the bottom of this Game Boy, serving as the perfect nod to everyone's favorite retro game.
4 Lame: Weathered Or Just... Old?
The weathered look is great for denim and leather but doesn't come across as strongly when it comes to handheld gaming systems. It's a cool nod to that classic "distressed" look but doesn't translate well as a design for any type of Nintendo system. The colors give it a grungy appearance and while the buttons are painted much more vibrantly, overall, it's really nothing special. If it's a theme from a game, it's hard to tell which one and if it's not, then it's just another customized Game Boy with a strange texture.
3 Dope: Fits The Retro Theme
We're talking the comics here, folks! Although the Scott Pilgrim movie was awesome and totally a blast to watch, it's the comics that are represented on this Game Boy Advance. It's also the only Game Boy Advance to make it to our list aside from the lame Pikachu-themed one a ways back. The classic metallic blue that everyone wanted for their own systems acts as the perfect backdrop for this butt-kicking hero. The detail is ridiculous and every part of this artwork stands out, making you forget for a moment that it is just a Game Boy.
2 Lame: Nothing Special
Effort? Detail? Bueller? Not much went into designing these Game Boys other than some paint and custom-made emblems. While some people might love the minimalism of them, they're just not floating my boat very much. The colors are the trademark to each game they're representing, that much is true; however, to be frank, they're quite boring in the art department. These are the Game Boys you want if you're not looking to overdo it with something custom, but crazier systems exist.
1 Dope: It's Practically A Statue
We're ending on a good note here with a Pikachu to be envied by all Pikachus. This system is completely customized from top to bottom and is the only "dope" system that is. While the others made the "lame" list for lack of playability, this one stands alone in all its playable glory. Not only has it grown ears, but it also features that classic Pikachu tail... It even has feet, for goodness sakes. The 3D, lifelike model construction of this Game Boy puts it at the top of our list, even though it's actually numbered last.