Hack together a Game Boy from a Raspberry Pi Zero that’s so much better than the original

Since the Raspberry Pi Zero launched in November of last year, we’ve been waiting for a project to take full advantage of its tiny size and massive compute power.

YouTube content creator wermy (no real name given) has produced a work of art by replacing the innards of an original Game Boy with the Zero, and making it so much better.

The result is the Game Boy Zero, an unassuming handheld that can play Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, NES, SNES, Sega Genesis games and more.

So, how did he do this? First the Game Boy had to be gutted to make space for the Zero. Even the screen was scrapped and replaced with a colour 3.5 inch composite display. The new additions continued with two additional face buttons (adding in X and Y) as well as two more discrete inputs in the back screw holes which add L and R.

There’s also an external USB0 for plugging in a mouse and keyboard as well as mini HDMI for pushing to a bigger display (turning this little unit into a PC unto itself).

There’s added Bluetooth thanks to a spare port. The headphone jack remains and will shut off the speakers if it is in use.

The battery (a 2 000 mAh lithium polymer battery, not those pesky AAs) is charged by way of micro USB. Even better: the battery is where it should be and can be accessed through the original battery cover at the back.

Keeping the newer components in place with the old continues with the cartridge and what wermy likes most about his creation. He managed to take apart an original cartridge and solder the contact point to a micro SD card reader. This means that all the games and software remain in the old cartridge, so you need to plug it in before you can play. To make it compatible, the The pins from the cartridge reader where  soldered to the SD card paths on the Zero.

Finally there’s the software, which is (surprisngly) the most basic part of the build. It’s running the tried and trusted emulator suite RetroPie which can play games up the to Game Boy Advance generation relatively well.

If you want to make your own, the creator has several resources we’ll link to below. he’s also taking questions on Reddit and through YouTube comments, so post one there if you have any. But we feel we should mention that a similar project can be done by putting homebrew software on devices such as the Nintendo DS and PSP, so you may want to start there.

[Source – wermy on YouTube]



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