Modretro Chromatic FPGA-Based GBC

Pre-orders are now open on a brand new, FPGA-based Game Boy Color handheld called the “Chromatic”, from Modretro.  This was created by Palmer Lucky, with the goal of creating an “heirloom grade”, “perfect” way to play the Game Boy Color.  In the launch video above, he even stated: “I don’t see this as a way to make money, I see this as a way to make the world’s best tribute to the Game Boy”.  With a price tag of $200, let’s hope he’s right.  Pre-orders are open now and they’re due to ship by the end of the year, however you’ll want to note some uncommon stipulations to the return policy, which I’ll discuss below:

Pre-Order Here:

This is certainly an interesting project and I hope it lives up to the hype.  I personally think most people might be better suited getting an Analogue Pocket, as the price is very close and it offers a lot more.  That said, if your favorite handheld games are from the GB/GBC era, this might be the perfect choice, for nothing other than it’s backlit LCD screen that’s the exact resolution as the original;  That means no more “pixel grid” filters, it’ll just look the way it’s supposed to.

There’s also some new games available for pre-order and I’m not sure if they’re only for the Chromatic, or if they’ll work on all GBC’s.  It’s specs (copied below) mentions compatibility with “Chromatic game cartridges” and the games are listed as:  “Platform: Chromatic, Development Platform: GB Studio”.  Your guess is as good as mine, as to what that means.

I don’t believe I found any other info on the USB-C video output, or the rechargeable battery pack that’s mentioned in the listing as well.  I’ll reserve judgement until trusted people in the handheld scene review it, but while I am interested in the Chromatic, there’s a LOT of bold promises in that launch video.

Also, it’s worth noting that according to their FAQ, pre-orders can’t be returned and any damage done in shipping isn’t returnable.  Now, this may just be badly-worded legalese that means “you’ll have to contact the shipper for insurance claims”, however their entire “Returns and Exchanges” section talks a lot about not being able to return or exchange the Chromatic and basically says no returns at all for international buyers.  That would rightfully concern many buyers, so if you’re on the fence about this product, maybe wait for reviews to come in?

Here’s all the specs from their website:


  • World’s only 160×144 pixel sunlight readable 2.56″ IPS LCD
  • Share gameplay moments with USB video out
  • FPGA-based emulation to play games exactly as their creators intended
  • Tetris ® & © 1985~2024 Tetris Holding
  • Ultra-durable PBT buttons


  • Custom ultra-loud speaker module
  • 3.5mm headphone output


  • Backwards compatible link cable port
  • Backwards compatible IR link
  • USB-C lagless video out


  • Comes with 3x AA batteries for ultimate flexibility
  • Also compatible with custom lithium ion pack, rechargeable through console


  • Compatible with Game Boy® and Game Boy Color® game cartridges
  • Compatible with Chromatic game cartridges

Dimensions and Material

  • Console: 5.2x3x1.2 inches, 6.2 oz
  • Magnesium alloy thixomolded shell
  • Super scratch-resistant sapphire front crystal

What’s Included

  • Chromatic
  • Chromatic Tetris cartridge
  • USB-C cable
  • 3x AA ModRetro batteries
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