Video Game Historian Uncovers First Working WorkBoy in Over 25 Years

Video Game Historian Uncovers First Working WorkBoy in Over 25 Years
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Nintendo's Game Boy was a popular piece of hardware to make accessories for. Whether it be the Game Boy Camera or the Handy Boy, there were many that were either made by Nintendo or from a third-party tech company and while some either saw mainstream success or horribly crashed and burned, others never even saw the light of day on store shelves. Enter Fabtek's WorkBoy.

This Game Boy add-on was created for the parents, specifically to those who wanted to do a bit of business work on the go in lieu of, at the time, an exorbitantly expensive laptop. Despite some promotional work from the lead-up up to its release that never came, DidYouKnowGaming?'s Liam Robertson went on a journey to learn more about the accessory that never was.

Embedded at the bottom of this article is the video itself which I highly recommend you watch in full. However, if you're in a bit of a rush, there are a few key points to highlight.

The WorkBoy was accompanied by a Game Boy cartridge for its software. While this may not sound surprising, Liam Robertson stated that in all of its promotional images, not once was there any mention of a cartridge.

When Robertson got ahold of the WorkBoy prototype keyboard from Fabtek's Frank Ballouz, it unceremoniously failed to work. However thanks to the recent Nintendo "Gigaleak", Robertson was able to write the beta software onto a writeable cartridge and get it working for the first time in decades.

Once it started working, it was uncovered that the software featured a total of 12 applications, including:

  • Clock
  • Calculator
  • Phone Book
  • Thermometer (it didn't display the current temperature, it just showed the conversion between celsius and farenheit)
  • Measurement Unit Conversion (from various measurement units to the next, e.g. feet to metres, pounds to kilograms, etc.)
  • Currency Conversion
  • Personal Budgeting Tool
  • Minitranslator
  • World Map
  • Four other applications that weren't specified, however were said to be related to the World Map.

Fabtek's WorkBoy never saw a release as production was pulled mere months before its planned release. This was due to the expected price of US$89.95, whilst the Game Boy was US$89.99 at launch and only saw multiple price drops as the years passed. Secondly, the Sumitomo Chemical company's factory was subjected to a fire, skyrocketing prices of chips that the WorkBoy was expected to rely on.

As previously mentioned, I highly recommend you watch the source video above as the wealth of work and research that went into it is outstanding.