I haven’t touched a Game Boy in a long time, but I’d always remember mine with a blend of nostalgia and frustration: My old GBA seemed to love choosing the worst moments to remind me that its battery is about to run out.
But thanks to a group of researchers from Northwestern University and Delft University of Technology and a shared love for gaming, ditching batteries entirely might be possible because these guys have invented the Engage or Energy Aware Gaming, a 3D-printed, handheld console that’s like the OG Game Boy, sans the batteries.
It’s about the size of a paperback novel and, according to CNET, weighs about half as much as Nintendo’s original console. It’s designed to run any game you could insert and play on Nintendo Game Boys. Plus, it’s way of “charging” is sustainable, with five solar panels absorbing juice from the sun.
Like any prototype, it comes with its own cons: It has no sound yet, the screen is even tinier than the OG Game Boy’s and it shuts off every 10 seconds. Not a great feature for any gaming console, but apparently it’s designed that way so it saves energy and players can boot it back up without losing any progress.
While playing our favorite games on it will take a long while, this is actually a great step for gaming: Engage is providing a more environmentally friendly and sustainable alternative to disposable batteries, something a lot of electronic devices still use today.
Still from the Engage’s video preview