Bits & Bytes: Plug And Play

Does it get more instant than a Game Boy?

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 05/23/2021 23:58 Comment on this     ShareThis

Bits & Bytes is a weekly column where Editor-in-Chief Robert shares his thoughts about video games and the industry on a lazy Sunday. Light reading for a day of rest, Bits & Bytes is short, to the point, and something to read with a nice drink.

The Hyperkin RetroN SQ is a teeny, tiny game console that plays Game Boy Games. Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance carts. too. I got it for my birthday a couple of weeks ago from two of my friends and it’s quickly become a new obsession.

I’m writing a review for the device at the moment, which is where I’ll have all my impressions properly laid out and elaborated upon this week. Until then, I felt like focusing a little bit on how the RetroN SQ keeps making me think of the good old days of plug and play consoles. It’s one of those topics that has been sort of talked to death at this point by old school gamers who wax poetic about the past (guilty as charged). I don’t know that I have a lot to add to the discussion; I’m just feeling a bit wistful as I sit and fool around with my collection of Game Boy games. I guess the RetroN SQ is making me imagine what it must be like to be growing up with video games today.

Banjo-Kazooie Screen

But for a handful of exceptions, almost every contemporary gaming device or console has some kind of UI and internal software to navigate through. Some consoles make it easier than others to engage with. The ones that aren’t, I would assume, must be pretty challenging for inexperienced and younger gamers to deal with. Ease of use is something that software designers spend a lot of time worrying about. For some of them, it’s the entire crux of their careers. The easier it is for the player to get from dashboard to game, the better a job the designer has done, and that’s great.

Yet, there’s no lower bar of entry for a player than to plug in a cartridge or insert a disc, hit power, and play. No muss or fuss. There’s something really elegant and clean about booting up a game like Banjo-Kazooie on a Nintendo 64. A few logos and animations flit across the screen and then the player is off, free to choose whichever save file they’d like and begin hunting for Jiggies and music notes. It’s not that I detest modern game console UIs. Heck, a typical five-year-old has no issue playing with their parent’s iPad these days, after all. I just think that in the drive to make our modern game machines the best that they can be, sometimes less can be more. If the game console ever does fade into obscurity, I wonder if the demise of plug and play will have played a part. Or if I’m just yelling at the clouds over something that is nowhere near as important as I think it is.

The real irony here is that the RetroN SQ isn’t exactly truly plug and play, but I’ll save that for the review.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Log In 0 points Log in or register to grow your Ninja Score while interacting with our site.
Nintendojo's RSS Feeds

All Updates Podcast
News Comments
Like and follow usFacebookTwitter Friend Code Exchange + Game with Us Join the Team!