While Nintendo continues to drag its feet when it comes to making an official Game Boy Classic, smaller outlets like Epilogue are trying to come up with the next best thing with its new GB Operator looking like a cheap and easy way to play original Game Boy games on your PC.
Starting at just $50, the GB Operator is a simple dock that accepts classic Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and GBA carts and hooks up to your PC, while Epilogue’s desktop app (which works on Windows, Mac, and Linux) uses the mGBA emulator to power gameplay on your computer.
In addition to its support for physical Game Boy cartridges, Epilogue says that GB Operator also works with the original Game Boy Camera to help make it easy to download pics to your PC, and can also be used to develop and play homebrew games.
But what might be the best feature about the GB Operator is that it can be used to download and backup saved game data from your Game Boy carts, with the GB Operator also able to update and sync save files between your PC and your original cartridge so you can switch from playing games on PC to a physical Game Boy without missing a beat. Additionally, the mGBA also supports modern features like controller and cheat support, so you can play your games the way you want.
And because you’re emulating games that you own, you don’t need to worry about sidestepping any legal gray areas. Epilogue even says that the GB Operator has the ability to detect counterfeit cartridges, which could help prevent you from getting scammed while trying to collect classic Game Boy titles from years gone past.
So while the GB Operator may not be able to fully recreate the traditional handheld gaming experience like you’d get from portable retro gaming systems like the Anbernic RG350P or the upcoming Analogue Pocket (assuming that thing ever ships), it’s hard to argue with a tiny box that costs just $50 and lets you play all your Game Boy games on whatever PC you like.
The GB Operator is available for pre-order today direct from Epilogue, with devices expected to begin shipping out sometime in August.