7 Game Boy Accessories You May Not Have Heard Of

The Nintendo Gameboy celebrated its 30th birthday this year (something I wrote about for Distant Arcade). There were plenty of official Game Boy accessories made for the device, like the Gameboy Camera. But there were some oddities in its history and I’ve compiled a list of 7 you may not have heard of.

1. Game Boy Pocket Sonar

Game Boy Pocket Sonar

There were many fishing games released for the original Game Boy but in the real world, there was an accessory to help locate living aquatic life. The Game Boy Pocket Sonar, made by Bandai, used sonar to locate fish up to 20m underwater. It even had a fishing mini-game. Unfortunately, the add-on was only released in Japan but it does hold the accolade of being the world’s first sonar-enabled gaming accessory.

2. Handy Boy

Handy Boy

Buy Handy Boy on Amazon

With a screen size of only 4.7cm x 4.3cm, the original Game Boy kept things small. But there was always the possibility of eye strain if, like me, you had a 6-hour gaming session without breaks (I was 9 and banned from playing it for the rest of the weekend). The Joyplus Handy Boy was an official accessory with a magnifier, added light, amplified speakers, and the facility to add a thumb joystick, with or without the speakers and magnifier. What’s more, you could fold it all away when you were done.

3. WorkBoy

WorkBoy

All work and no play made Jack a dull (and psychotic) boy but for video game distributor Fabtek, they wanted to merge the two worlds together. Enter the Workboy. The problem with the Workboy was it never actually came out. It was advertised in Nintendo Power but didn’t see the light of day. Had it graced the world with its presence, it would have featured a keyboard, a clock, day planner, currency and temperature converter, and a calendar. The price? Around $80.

4. PediSedate

This one is just plain weird. The PediSedate system was an add-on designed to calm children before potentially traumatic experiences like the dentist or a hospital operation. A dose of nitrous oxide (better known as “laughing gas” or “nitro”) was administered for this purpose. That was the aim anyway.

5. Game Boy Radio

Gameboy Radio

The clue’s in the name. It was made in China but there’s very little information on the device. It used the Game Boy as a power supply and didn’t interfere with the Game Boy itself.

6. GB KISS & GB KISS LINK MODEM

gb-kiss

In 1998, Hudson Soft released the GB KISS LINK, an infrared modem that allowed you to connect a Gameboy to a Windows PC to transfer game data. The GB KISS LINK came with two 3.5″ floppy disks: one with drivers and the other with 29 mini-games. Before emulators, this was the best way to get save states to your computer for future use.

7. Singer Izek

singer-izek

Have you ever felt the urge to play video games while sewing on a machine? Me neither, but someone at Singer might have when they created the Singer Izek “Computerized Sewing Machine.” But you didn’t actually get to play games. Instead, you plugged your Game Boy Color into the machine and used it to pick a stitching pattern using a special cartridge. Needless to say this didn’t catch on.

Update: I just found this boom Box Boy FM Radio for Game Boy Color/Pocket which looks cool.

Let's make like a tree and split?

Banana split

I write a weekly newsletter called Everything Is Made Up and I sign off with a variant of the phrase “I’m gonna make like an X and Y”. To keep things fresh, I use a website and work my way through the list.

That website is rec.humor.funny, “the net’s oldest and most popular comedy publication and newsgroup”. It also claims to be the world’s oldest blog, even older than Jason Kottke’s brilliant site. Jokes have been posted to the site since 1987 which predates the World Wide Web by a few years (and my birth). That’s old in internet years.

Some of my favourites:

  • Make like a banana and split (Carlton Banks said this on an episode of The Fresh Prince after a wonderful comeback to a black fraternity member who called him a sellout)
  • Make like a drum and beat it
  • Make like a tire and hit the road
  • Make like the devil and get the hell out of here
  • Make like the Red Sea and split
  • Make like lightning and bolt

Buy This Radical TMNT Pizza Cutter and Spatula Set

TMNT Pizza Cutter and Spatula Set

I grew up on the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series (known as Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles in the UK because they thought ninjas were too dangerous for kids). Their pizza love inspired mine and here we are in 2019. That’s why this immediately caught my eye.

ThinkGeek are selling a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Pizza Cutter and Spatula Set as a “GameStop/ThinkGeek Exclusive”. According to TG, it “adds some flair to boring kitchen items (and sheathes)”. I particularly like the faux-wooden handles like the Turtles’ weaponry in the original series.

Product Specifications

  • Officially licensed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles merchandise
  • A GameStop / ThinkGeek Exclusive
  • Pizza is life, so now you can make it more often
  • Materials: Stainless steel base Dimensions: 9 1/2″ tall x 4″ wide x 3″ deep
  • Care Instructions: Dishwasher safe
  • Ages 14+

At $29.99, it’s not that cheap but it’s officially licenced merchandise and it looks so cool. Grab the pizza cutter and spatula set today.

Update: Since ThinkGeek is no more, your best place to find the set is on eBay.

An interview with Dan Clarke

arkotype

I’ve been a huge fan of Dan Clarke’s work for years so it’s been a pleasure to have him join Cultrface for this interview.

What is favourite city in the world?

Tokyo – I went in my early 20’s and I’ll definitely be going back with my wife at some point. It feels like a different World in every way and I can’t wait to see it again.

What’s the most unusual item you take everywhere you go?

I tend to have a Nintendo DS Lite in my bag most of the time – Probably not that unusual in the grand scheme of things.

Why do you do what you do?

I’ve never known anything different — I try my best to make the things that I would want or like had someone else made them.

When was the last time you told someone you loved them?

I tell my wife and dog on most days.

Where do you go to relax?

A dog walk or a run is usually where I find that I do most of my thinking – I think it’s really important to dedicating time in a week to having some personal time.

69, 280, or 420?

280 — I like the symmetry of it.

How do you say goodbye in your culture?

In a bit.

(images courtesy of Arkotype)

What if Game of Thrones was aired in the 80s?

Game of Thrones 80s intro

Yes, I’m 5 years late and the series just finished but everyone was unhappy with the last season so let’s remember the good times. And mix them up with late 80s nostalgia.

YouTuber Mikolaj.Birek put together two Game of Thrones videos to make a fantastic 80s VHS intro. The font used for the titles was also used on Diagnosis Murder amongst other things so this is a late 80s/early 90s kinda mix but that synth soundtrack is pure 80s.

Stream it below, dude!

Game of Thrones - VHS Intro (UPDATED music)

GoT related: Original VHS GoT intro by Hunter L Sanders, 80’s style GoT theme remix by Steve Duzz, and Cleganebowl as a lightsaber fight

From fishin' to fashion: how fish skin is used for leather

Salmon skin

There are certain ethical issues with leather but perhaps this is a better solution.

Steinunn Gunnsteinsdóttir is the sales manager of Atlantic Leather, an Icelandic company that owns the only fish tannery in Europe. They’ve been making leather from the skins of salmon and cod (amongst other types) since 1994 and produce nearly a tonne of leather every month.

If that sounds like a lot, consider the fact this is all done by only 19 employees and the whole process takes nearly four weeks. There are advantages to using fish skin rather than the cow or lamb hide, as Gunnsteinsdóttir explains:

Fish leather’s actually nine times stronger than lamb or cow leather of similar thickness. This is because the fibres in fish skin criss-cross rather than (go) just up and down… it makes it much more durable leather for products that have to be really strong like shoes, belts and bags.

Snake and alligator skin are used for leather before but fish is a new one on me and it helps reduce use of the endangered species. But not for fashion houses Jimmy Choo and Dior who Atlantic Leather supply.

They aren’t the only fish leather makers in the world. Kenya is home to Victorian Foods where perch skin is the main material, fished from the largest desert lake in the world. Of course, it’s important that this practice doesn’t contribute to overfishing which has a dangerous effect on the marine wildlife and food for the populations that need it. But right now, it looks like a great alternative.

Fish Leather Development process at KIRDI Western Region Campus (KWRC), Kenya

(image credit: Ella Gordon)

The UN reports a million species are close to extinction

Elephants could be close to extinction in a matter of years

In a new report from the IPBES, one million species are threatened with extinction. The IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services is said to be the most comprehensive ever and also says the current global response is “insufficient”.

Some other takes:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions have doubled since 1980, “raising average global temperatures by at least 0.7°C (33.26°F)
  • Over a third of the world’s land surface and nearly 75% of freshwater resources are now devoted to crop or livestock production.
  • Plastic pollution has increased 10x since 1980

The report is lengthy but, in a nutshell, human beings are gonna fuck the planet up before the Sun, a giant asteroid, or an alien invasion will. My concern is governments will blame the general public and demand they do things differently via taxes and legislation without looking at the rich and how they are so wasteful and pollute the planet.

Major corporations contribute significantly to the problem but are often overlooked for reproach. Instead, countries with large populations of people of colour (Brazil, India, and many African nations) are blamed as well as overpopulation which is a smokescreen ideology perpetuated by the West. Yes, we can all make changes to keep the planet from dying but that energy has to be balanced and right now it hampers the working class and favours the rich (especially when tax breaks are offered for minimal effort in the cause). Michael Jackson told us in 1995.

You can read the full report and the media release (which abridges everything) on the IPBES website.

Michael Jackson - Earth Song (Official Video)

James Corden did a Reddit AMA and it turned into a roast

james corden

Most Reddit AMAs are insights into the lives and works of influential people. Unfortunately, some people never get that far and they probably wish they hadn’t taken part.

James Corden might be one of those people. Along with five of his Carpool Karaoke team members, he opened the Reddit floor for questions and didn’t receive the discourse he was after.

It’s important to point out (or reiterate) that Corden is not a liked man for numerous reasons. I am one of them. I can’t speak for anyone else but I find him odious, unfunny, and a beg friend. That’s my unprofessional opinion but if you have a different view, let me know in the comments. That being said, Redditors shared my sentiment and let him have it. Here are some of my favourites:

Yikes is all I could muster when I read that one. It certainly reinforced my stance on him.

Roasted good and proper.

Oh dear, the stories just keep on coming.

Damn. There was zero let off for him. And, given the stories, he deserved it. The classic “no response is the best response” tactic wasn’t great but it would have confirmed all the stories: that he’s a dick. Reddit isn’t a paragon of virtue itself but I live for these kinds of moments. I mean… it’s the internet. What did he expect?

You can read the full AMA/roast here.

30+ Minutes of Vic Berger's Daytime TV & Advertising

30+ Minutes of Vic Berger's Daytime TV & Advertising

(Trigger warning: this video contains clowns and some really creepy puppets)

Entertainment company Super Deluxe may no longer be with us but Vic Berger very much is. We featured one of his creations for SD – the will.i.am one (which had been taken down but we’ve uploaded ourselves) – and now here’s another one.

This is a compilation of videos that were on Super Deluxe but were also taken down and they show Vic Berger’s take on daytime TV and advertising as he explains:

If you don’t watch daytime television, Ellen DeGeneres, Harry Connick Jr, Logan Paul, Steve Harvey and MORE show you what you’re missing. This compilation also features creepy children’s programming and commercials for products that may or may not actually help you.

It starts with Kanye’s appearance on Ellen, made even more surreal than the real thing, followed by a commercial for jawzrsize, Paula Deen on QVC, and… well, you’ll just have to watch for yourself to see the rest.

Vic Berger Presents Daytime TV, Advertising & Kids Shows

Yasuke - An African Samurai in Japan

Yasuke - An African Samurai in Japan

I watched The Last Samurai a few years ago and enjoyed it. While the movie was inspired by real life Westerners fighting in Asia and played up to the white saviour trope, it was enjoyable if not cliché. But this story is much more interesting.

Authors Thomas Lockley and Geoffrey Girard recently published a book entitled African Samurai: The True Story of Yasuke, a Legendary Black Warrior in Feudal Japan retelling the story of a retainer in feudal Japan who served under a warlord. The legend goes that Yasuke arrived in Japan in the late 16th century, having travelled the world after being kidnapped as a child. Being a black man in Japan caused a stir – many had never seen a man of his complexion. Being a polyglot made him even more mysterious. But his dark skin drew comparisons to Buddha. His presence was courted by Lord Nobunaga, a powerful warlord and Yasuke became one of his samurai. His ability to learn quickly helped him become a powerful figure in Japanese society.

Yasuke’s mythology has transcended centuries and Lockley and Girard’s book isn’t the first of its kind to tell his tale (there’s a book list below you can check out). In African Samurai, Lockley and Girard give an untold story of Yasuke’s life and travels, as well as a new chapter in Japan’s history. Now, yes, this is another story about people of colour written by white guys but it’s still beneficial that the story is being reviewed ecounted.

The good news is there is an upcoming anime about Yasuke and Lakeith Stanfield is set to voice the black samurai (excellent choice). It will be written by Boondocks’ co-director, LeSean Thomas and scored by Flying Lotus.

Update: Here’s are the visuals for the anime’s theme song, composed by Flying Lotus.

Yasuke | Official Teaser | Netflix

Reading list

(Please note the following affiliate links are from Amazon)

Facts and figures about the London Underground

London Underground sign

Back in the day, there was a train journey that had no barriers at either station. My home station eventually changed that but I always wondered what journeys you could make with the potential to just walk right on through without a ticket (I do not endorse this btw).

Who is Geoff Marshall?

Geoff Marshall is a TfL enthusiast and created a page on his website dedicated to London Underground facts and figures. It’s particularly helpful for disabled people as not all stations have escalators or lifts. Also interesting to see how many stations are so close together in terms of journey time. Leicester Square to Covent Garden, for example, takes less than 40 seconds on average.

Check out Geoff’s YouTube channel for more content about TfL.

More Secrets of the DLR

Haarkon's Japan Travel Tips For First-Timers

Japan

It’s a (pipe)dream of mine to visit Japan before I die. But money’s too tight to mention and it’s not cheap to go. If it happens, I’d probably need some advice to respect the culture and not come off as too much of a Western ingrate.

Haarkon is the photography project of India Hobson and Magnus Edmondson and they wrote an article giving travel advice for people looking to visit the country. In it, you’ll find stuff on transport, accommodation, language, and general advice. I did find this passage interesting:

There is this huge preconception that Japan is mega expensive and we went bracing ourselves for that. In actual fact we found that it was comparatively cheaper than a lot of places we’d been to; Copenhagen, USA just for a couple. We’d say that it was probably similar to London. 

Similar to London? That’s expensive to me but I guess I don’t earn a great deal and if I did, I wouldn’t have trouble saving up for Japan. That said, a visit can be suitable for any budget so I’ll bear that in mind.

Read the full article on the Haarkon website.

And if that doesn’t suit, here are 10 tips from someone who lives there.

10 Must Know JAPAN Travel Tips No One Talks about ...like POLICE

The amazing photography of Roger "Sharpy" Sharp

The amazing photography of Roger Sharp

I have to say the closest I’ve come to an interest in surfing was watching Laura Crane on Love Island. Actually, I tell a lie – I used to watch Home & Away religiously when I was a kid. Those were the days. About the time I started was when Roger Sharp, known affectionately as Sharpy, started his surfing photography career.

“Growing up, I wasn’t into photography at all. It came to me towards the end of school, when I started playing around with a little waterproof Minolta compact. Then towards the end of university I bought my first SLR for £35 – a Russian battleship of a camera that I found in a junk shop.”

But the catalyst for his wonderful career wasn’t the most pleasant.

Around the same time, in 1994, I took off with some mates to France for a month, but on the second day I broke my collarbone in the surf. I was kinda forced to pick up my camera, instead of sitting on the beach sulking all day.

Sharpy discussed more about his past and some of his finest photographs from the last quarter-century on Mpora. You should definitely give it a read. And in the meantime, check out some of his fantastic photos below.

  • The amazing photography of Roger Sharp
  • The amazing photography of Roger Sharp
  • The amazing photography of Roger Sharp
  • The amazing photography of Roger Sharp

(All rights reserved by Roger Sharp; images taken from his Instagram account.)

An interview with Corbet Rutzer

Corbet Rutzer

I have been a big fan of Corbet Rutzer’s content for a number of years. I mean, look at this for a description:

I am a fearless communication ninja, social media maestro, brand expert and curation specialist with a chronic food and music habit.

Taken from crutzer.me

That speaks to me on so many levels. His work has featured for brands such as Thrillist and FRANK151 and he had a brief stint teaching Online Presence and Social Media at Vancouver Film School and Vancouver Community College. Corbet is for the kids.

Today, the content polymath took some time out of his day to answer our specially *patented questions.

(*They’re not patented.)

What is favourite city in the world?

NYC

What’s the most unusual item you take everywhere you go?

A worry stone.

Why do you do what you do?

For the love!

When was the last time you told someone you loved them?

This morning.

Where do you go to relax?

Outside.

69, 280, or 420?

420!

How do you say goodbye in your culture?

Later!

Chris Morris pranked a McDonald's employee during a pilot for The Day Today

Chris Morris on a pilot for The Day Today

The Day Today and Brass Eye were controversial in their time. But a lot of the depicted surrealism doesn’t seem so strange in 2019. In this pilot, you see Chris Morris without the slicked-back hair he chose for the final version and a middle section involving a round table political discussion. It’s very rough around the edges and some of it doesn’t hit as hard to the comedy bone but there is one funny segment.

A “submarine” was found “at the bottom of the Pacific” and The Day Today had successfully contacted one of the men on the vessel. Of course none of this was true and Morris had actually pranked an American McDonald’s employee who was oblivious. This was standard for Morris who regularly pranked people on the radio and infamously used the technique on Brass Eye. His acts involved celebrities and even a member of parliament who was duped into advocating a crackdown on “cake”, a fake drug created for the show.

Stream it below.

The Day Today - Second Pilot