Real Boy Shank Mods
Image: Shank Mods

We've seen a variety of Nintendo's illustrious home consoles turned into handhelds by talented modders with some know-how and plenty of elbow grease and spray paint — we're thinking of fanmade consoles like the Wiiboy Color or the Portable N64 — but you probably wouldn't expect somebody to go to the trouble (and from the video below, the trouble looks to have been considerable) of building a handheld Virtual Boy.

That's exactly what YouTuber Shank of Shank Mods has done, though. Apparently taking "lots of custom electronics, hardware and code" and a whole year to assemble, the result is a small handheld Virtual Boy — dubbed the Real Boy — that runs proper VB carts on a console you hold in your mitts (rather than play on a tabletop through a viewfinder).

This smartphone-sized portable version of Nintendo's least successful console features a custom screen and housing, and even has light up buttons for that authentic glowing red ambiance of the original stereoscopic 3D system. Pretty neat!

The 27-minute video below goes into quite some detail of the trials and tribulations of constructing this little machine, but we have to say that the results are rather impressive. Shank Mods has form in this area, with other mods including portable Wiis and GameCube Joy-Cons, but the Real Boy still stands out as a mighty achievement in our books, even if the Virtual Boy isn't everyone's cup of tea.

Maybe it's the rabid Nintendo fan in us, but we've got a soft spot for its small library of games and the ability to play them on a device with a regular screen without having to take a headache break every 15 minutes sounds rather appealing.

Further reading:

Let us know below if you'd be tempted to pick a Real Boy if you saw one for sale.