I don't know what kind of marketing
decision prompted the creation of this spin-off utility, but at one point in
history, there existed...
Yes, a cassette player modelled like a Nintendo Game Boy, complete with faux
sculpted buttons and everything. It's cute, it's dinky and it's chunky, but you
really have to wonder what sort of bizarre business meeting took place to spur
BM1: These graphs and numbers make it obvious that kids love Game Boy.
But do they truly love Game Boy enough?
BM2: How do you mean, sir?
BM1: People love toast. But decades ago, people only loved their
toasters for its capability of creating toast. It wasn't until they could
tell the time, act as an alarm clock and give them the room temperature
that they realised, dang, they really love their toasters.
BM2: What are you implying?
BM1: I'm implying that we make the Game Boy into a multi-purpose
tool that encompasses everything. Kids love Game Boy for the games,
but it doesn't offer anything else. Yet.
BM2: But, sir, we are working on such peripherals as the Game Boy
Camera and the Game Boy Printer, which we hope will gain us a foothold in
the realm of office tools.
BM1: Man, are you dense? Get me a Game Boy that busts out Barry
Manilow tunes and we are going to be swimming in money so fast, you
Of course, the Cassette Boy is literally just a cassette player shaped like one,
and is a fair bit different from the Game Boy. For starters, it's about two
inches shorter, a smidgen wider, and its unmoving liquid crystal display is
miles better than the real Game Boy. Okay, it's just a sticker that can be
easily peeled off from the inside, but it certainly tries to sell itself. The
fact it even goes so far as to recreate the speaker vents is quite something,
especially when they're completely non-functional - its only means of playing
sound is through the headphone slot.
And even as a cassette player, it's a very simplistic one. It doesn't multi-task
as a recorder or some kind of pocket-sized editor; heck, even rewinding is
beyond its call of duty! The only thing it can do is play, fast forward and
stop, done so by pressing one of the three humongous buttons on its side. Since
the frontal features are only for display, without a tape these buttons act as
the Cassette Boy's only play value.
The fast forward button makes an
entertaining click when you push it in, but it gets stuck each time you do it
and requires the play button to be pushed to spring it back out. I have to
wonder why such a serious flaw in its design wasn't noticed during testing, and
I can only hope the company release a patch that fixes this. There's no way I'm
paying for a Cassette Boy Champion Edition just so I can click the fast forward
button to my heart's content.
On the subject of the company, the back of the player claims this was released
way back in 1992 under trademark and copyright of Nintendo, but was made by Mani,
who also felt the need to note that their patent is pending. I was curious to
see what this mysterious Mani have been up to, but it only seemed to lead me to
various electronics companies located in India, and a company who sell delicious
apricots. I imagine Mani existed only to grace the world with this bizarre
product, and then vanished into the night on blazing horseback, never to be seen
or heard from again, these other companies existing solely to enhance their aura
I wish the Cassette Boy was filled
You might be wondering by now, wasn't this supposed to be about a cassette
player that looks like a Game Boy? That hasn't changed a bit since the start,
but I imagine someone out there is curious to know how the thing plays. I mean,
the Game Boy has a cartridge slot, but mimicking that with cassettes would
almost be too intuitive. So instead you just pop the sucker open and dump
it in there.
It's basically what your Game Boy would look like inside if its organs were
harvested by computer aliens.
And it plays tapes. Yes, despite the
cutely stylised appearance and my inane rambling about how wacky such a device
is, it just plays tapes. There are no gimmicks revolving around converting
cassette audio into 8-bit chiptunes or anything fancy like that. It just plays
Disappointment of the century.
But nobody cares how well your music playing utility actually plays. The only
important thing is how stylish you look and how dangly your headphones are. And
for that very reason, the Cassette Boy comes with a notch on the back allowing
you to attach it to your belt. How does it look?
Yeah, it's about as stylish as you
can get when the model is a fat-bottomed nerd with hairy arms.
All in all, the Cassette Boy is an
intriguing curiosity as an entry into the realm of stylish portable music
players, shaped and styled like something that is the very antithesis of style
(and probably not very portable either). You can't blame them for trying. And,
is it just me, or is anyone else curious to see what other hair-brained ideas
could have come to fruition if this were actually a success? Such as... the
Space Station Boy?
Or what about something closer to
home, like the Phone Boy?
Sadly, it is clear the world is no
longer in need of multi-tasking portable game consoles, and the world we live in
is worse because of it. Alas.