Thoughts on Retrosix DMG Shell Prototype

Previously, I have reviewed GBA shells and lenses from RetroSix. Everything I’ve reviewed meets our Hackinformer standard of retro products. Great longevity, build quality, heck, even the feel of the products are great in the hand. Today’s article is all about a prototype for the DMG Game Boy. I’ve had time examining the new shell and lens prototype. It’s clearly not the end-all, be-all build, but you can tell it’s indicative of what the product is going to be. If you’re reading this, just know that this is not a review. This is me just going over the ins and out, the good and the what-needs-to-be-improved, and so on. Maybe they’ll take some of my thoughts into account. There may even be things that will be included in the final product that is not present here (like I’m guessing printing will be added to it), so I’ll try to be cognizant of that. Anyway, let’s dig in!

Unboxing Video:

Likes:

  • Texture. The texture of the plastic matches the original DMG. I was sitting here with my eyes closed, holding an original DMG and this Retrosix DMG in my hand trying to feel a difference between them. I would say that the original DMG is a bit more worn. You’ll find that your OG shells may be a bit smoother over time. Some of you may even have scratches, gashes, or melted spots on your originals. All of which are good reasons to update the shell. The original colored shell they sell gives you that, I can’t speak to the other colors, but I know of an easy way to tell. If you want that original texture, make sure you avoid buying any of their shells that say “matte” or “pearl” in the title. Those are smooth and almost more rubberized and are catering to a different audience.
  • Buttons. All of the face buttons feel amazing. I mean that in both pressing actions but also what they’re comprised of. The feel of the button press is very important. You would never want a button that gets caught when pressed and you have to wait for it to return to its original position. You also wouldn’t want a button that feels rough or crunchy when pressed. They managed to get the shape and material correct. This goes for the D-Pad as well. You have the correct material and you also get the 4-way press as well as the center press. It’s all very tactile and satisfying.
  • Lens. The lens that was sent alongside the prototype shell is a glass lens. I’m going to quote myself from a previous article where I touched on this lens briefly. “It doesn’t just succeed in terms of being rigid. Yes, it’s made of glass and that may seem scary. But it’s such a small piece of glass that it would take a lot to actually break it. Having a small surface area is in your favor here. This glass screen should be everyone’s go-to option at only a handful of dollars. The plastic versions may be acceptable, but they’ll also become degraded physically in the same way as the OEM ones.
    Not to mention that they’re going to get scratched far easier, impairing gaming visuals. The glass screen can take you lying your Game Boy upside down on surfaces. It can withstand being in a pocket with coins and keys. It can take being knocked around without breaking. I’m not saying drop the DMG down a flight of marble steps, I’m saying with standard use, this bad boy will hold up decades longer than it’s plastic counterparts. What’s best of all is the fact that they come in more colors than just the one that I was sent, so definitely check them out.”
  • Ports. Holes are perfectly sized. There’s nothing wrong with the hole for the headphone jack, the power jack, the contrast/volume wheels, or the link cable port. The fear here would be that the holes are too big potentially. You don’t ever want to overshoot the size of a port opening. You’d risk getting particles, dust, crumbs, and sweat in the handheld.  The headphone jack lands exactly where it’s supposed to so that you can satisfyingly click the headphones into position. You wouldn’t want the shell to be too shallow and the headphone jack be protruding ever so slightly. That would come with its own host of problems.
  • Screen. This will not only fit your existing DMG screen, but also an IPS upgrade. So if you’re a purist now who is keeping your original screen alive, this will support that. But, if you’re someone who has had enough of making the vertical lines go away with a soldering iron, you can upgrade. This shell will support the existing IPS screen mods you can buy. It doesn’t matter where you get them from as they all seem to be supported here. There is no shell modifications you have to do. You just buy the IPS upgrade kit and do everything the instructions say except shell cutting. It would appear as all of their DMG shells they sell are IPS ready, so feel free to order whichever color you want.
  • Color. I was sent a black Play It Loud style shell. It’s beautiful really. I also wanted to talk about the fact that they have an original colored shell that they sell. If you want to replace the original grey shell with a new one, the purchase link will be at the bottom of the page. There are loads of other colors available though. Recently Retrosix also added a screen printing option where you can have any image or color you upload printed on the shell! That will be on the page that shows up when you click the link below.

Improvements:

  • Cover. There is no port cover on the link cable opening. My original DMG has this and it’s sad to not see it here. It’s hard to tell if the final products come with one or not. The images of them are never taken of the right side of the product. Purchase these only if you’re comfortable knowing for sure that there isn’t one. Maybe you’ll be pleasantly surprised if there is.
  • Charms. I would love to see a company go so far as to make the loop that later Game Boys had for hanging charms off of. I’m a 34 year old man and I truly love having tacky, dangling charms. I am definitely all alone here. But maybe if I make enough noise, I can get all of the other charm lovers out there to speak up and make it a reality. There’s just so much extra plastic on the original DMG shells. You could definitely put one on one of the upper corners. Come on Retrosix, what do you say?!
Play It Loud in Black, Matte texture (closest thing to my prototype)

Overall Thoughts:

It’s pretty clear here that this DMG shell is almost the 1.0, finalized version. I couldn’t find anything much to improve upon on it. Also, the notation that they made for themselves says it’s version 0.9 which is so close to complete. However, I’m not sure what they ended up adding or taking away on the final product. My guess is that this bad boy just needed the screen printing and the omitted metal shielding as well as whatever logo/branding they wanted to be emblazoned in the plastic molding. The bottom line here is that if you’re looking for a DMG replacement shell, I’d stick with Retrosix. The quality is better, they have expandable features (like adding CleanJuice battery packs) later down the road, they make matching glass lenses (or other colors if you want to mix and match), and the price is crazy affordable. At the very least you should be following them on Twitter as they show off and release new products all of the time. So if you don’t have a DMG Game Boy, but do have other handhelds, you need to be on this.

Purchase Link:

This product will probably be different in some ways than the prototype. Additionally, there may be newer revisions and colors in the future, check their page often.

DMG Shells

 

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