This Game Boy-style iPhone case has one redeeming feature

Last month, we found a new case for the phone, which combines the style of a classic Nintendo Game Boy with the ability to play real. It comes with a handful of classic games like Tetris Tank Frogger and others, and it's definitely aimed at a nostalgic audience. It looks like a classic Game Boy: a D-pad, a couple of A / B buttons and buttons to turn it on, reset the game, make a selection and turn the sound on and off. And, of course, it has a square monochromatic LCD screen that mimics the original Game Boy screen. The problem is that I really can not understand what the thing is about, apart from playing Tetris .

The case is called Wanle Gamers Console for iPhone, designed for everything between the iPhone 6 and X. I grew up playing Game Boy, and lately I've been in a kind of kicker of innovative gaming devices. Chris Welch's review for The Oregon Trail laptop game convinced me to choose one), and I ended up buying one for my iPhone 8 Plus.

The initial experience is … not excellent. A couple of games can not be played (press a button, and the game is immediately terminated), while a couple of others are undecipherable. While it is marketed as a kind of Game Boy emulator, it reminded me a bit more of the games I could have played on a TI-83 graphic calculator at school, or one of those LCD handheld games. While testing this and playing in several of the games, I kept wondering why I was doing this, instead of just downloading one of the many variations of the App Store games. The games here are a nostalgic trick, and I found myself simply flipping my phone to play again High Odyssey that does not have some frustrating glitches or gameplay.

There are other problems too. As a protective case, it is thin enough to be discreet. I'm not sure I really trust the case to protect my phone in case I really drop it, and it does not feel well built. The rubber buttons stuck in my pocket, and I feel very slow: the D-pad never responds as well as I remembered it in my original Game Boy, and I lost most of the games because they could not keep up with the game. The sounds are also annoying: Tetris simply is not Tetris without that iconic soundtrack.

However, there is a trade-in function for this phone: although it does not compare with reality, the case comes equipped with some clones Tetris . There are a lot of variations of the game: those that move the blocks from side to side, those that raise them every two laps and, of course, one that emulates the classic. While it never feels the same as the original, the fact that the casing has physical buttons to mix makes it a better alternative to the various applications Tetris that I have tried over the years. It's just not a touch screen game for me, and in the week or so I've been playing with it, it has surprised me a lot of times while I was waiting in the queue of the store or while wandering around the house. Since it escapes from the battery of a watch, it would be a good backup if my phone died while I was away from a charger.

At the end of the day, the case is certainly not worth the $ 80 that was marked from the Wanle Case website, or even the $ 25 I spent on it. The site is currently sold out, but you can find it online at Amazon for a much more reasonable price of $ 11.55. At that price, it's a novelty worth checking if retro games are your thing, but I'll probably be back soon to my boring protective case. If I really feel nostalgic, I can always take out my old Game Boy and enjoy Tetris the way I remember it – soundtrack and everything.

Photograph by Andrew Liptak / The Verge

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