Game Boy-like Handheld Console Concept features a Massive Display and Rotating Controllers

It’s like if a Game Boy Classic and an iPad had a baby…

In the 80s, the Game Boy changed how we saw gaming. It condensed an entire gaming setup down into something small enough to fit in your hands – remember that game consoles and TVs were massive back then. However, 40 years later, not much has changed. The Nintendo Switch is still a small game console, albeit with better graphics. Designed to bring a more immersive gaming experience to those 90s kids who loved the Game Boy era, the PlayFusion is a concept handheld that offers a larger iPad-esque format with a bigger display and some interesting controls. Embodying an aesthetic that is retro yet minimalist, the PlayFusion is slick, evocative of a golden gaming era, and instead of conventional buttons and joysticks, has rotating controller modules that you can flip to choose between analog buttons, touch surfaces, and joypads.

Designer: Alex Casabo

The PlayFusion, as its name suggests, is a combination of old and new, classic and revolutionary. Designed for 90s kids who pretty much saw some of the best games life could offer, from Super Mario and Pokemon to NFS and Maro Kart, the PlayFusion is a console meant to revisit that glorious past, in the format of a device that also lets you explore the future of games. It’s a gaming-console way of saying “look how far we’ve come.”

The large display is quite a welcome change, with a 4:3 aspect ratio reminiscent of handheld consoles from the past, but also a hat-tip to the iPad, which Apple has been positioning as a great gaming-ready device. The large display is housed within a slim body (although not as slim as the iPad Pro) that feels great to hold and use, but by far the most interesting part of the PlayFusion is its controls.

Nothing captures the essence of ‘fusion’ more than the shapeshifting controllers on the PlayFusion console. Casabo’s attempt with the PlayFusion was to provide an experience that is simultaneously futuristic yet classic. The controllers exist as two discs on the base of the PlayFusion, that rotate on a horizontal axis. On one side, you’ve got cutting-edge touch-sensitive backlit controls. On the other, however, you’ve got NES-inspired red action buttons and a D-pad that gives you the old-school gaming experience.

The modern controls are sleek and reminiscent of the on-screen controls you’d find on mobile or tablet games.

The retro controls, on the other hand, are as NES as they get, with the familiar shape and color associated with the famed gaming console.

The overall PlayFusion concept is a slick, rectangular number that has a distinct Atari-ish aesthetic when you see the back. The front is dominated by that screen of course, which evokes the sense of a larger-than-life Game Boy with how the controllers are located right below the screen. The name PlayFusion feels almost like a call-out to Sony’s PlayStation, but I assure you that’s purely coincidental at this point.

The best part of the PlayFusion lies probably in its wishful thinking. It’s designed as an all-in-one device that features the best of gaming companies like Nintendo, Sony, and Xbox, all combined in one singular device (you can even see the various logos on the back). There’s really no way such a device could exist with the blessings of Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft (given how trigger-happy their legal departments are), so the only hope is of a PlayFusion that runs an emulator, bringing nostalgia to gamers across the world… with a touch of whimsy and a massive immersive screen!