This Company Makes Game Boys Look Like New 1
Image: Damien McFerran / Time Extension

The Game Boy turned 35 at the weekend, which no doubt prompted many people to dig out their dusty handhelds from storage and turn them on for the first time in decades. We imagine some of those same people will have been dismayed to discover that their childhood handheld no longer functions as well as it did, with failing screens, unresponsive buttons and badly scratched cases being common faults.

This is where Milwaukee-based refurbishment firm Retrospekt comes in. Speaking in an interview with TechRadar, co-owner and CEO Adam Fuerst explains how the 40-person outfit operates. "For us, we're looking at products that were mass-produced, repairable, and have a cultural significance," he says.

Retrospekt also repairs and refurbishes Polaroid cameras and Sony Walkmans, but the Game Boy's popularity – combined with its recent anniversary – makes it a common item in the company's workshop.

Dealing with the Game Boy presents unique challenges for Fuerst and his team. These are devices which will have seen a lot of punishment during their lifespans, and many suffer from dying LCD screens and internal corrosion, the latter caused by batteries being left in place for years, if not decades, and breaking down.

A restored Game Boy or Game Boy Color will cost you £123, while one with a modded screen will set you back £185.

Fuerst explains that Retrospekt uses "New Old" sources for any original parts that might need replacing, such as the case or buttons. "But the brains of the units, we keep original," he tells TechRadar. "So we're not like remaking the dot matrix screen. Most of the parts that we produce are from taking ten units and making six units from them, and then you get donor parts from the other four, for example."

Fuerst is keen to stress that Retrospekt is focused on avoiding waste where possible. "What our value is to the community is not just to go and source working units and resell them, but it's really to get the stuff that's destined for landfill and that no one wants and is just quite frankly garbage without someone doing this labor of love on each unit. We want whatever leaves here to just look like a million bucks and to look as closely as it did to the original."