The old original Game Boy has been used in a lot of interesting gaming projects in modern times, but what if you want to mess around with the hardware to do something productive like cryptomining?
YouTube channel stacksmashing has done just that. You may recognise that name for the channels various other projects involving hacked Nintendo hardware. In November 2020 we featured a project from it where Doom was running on the severely underpowered Game & Watch.
So what was done on the Game Boy to get it mining? The first port of call is a custom cartridge that lets any code be run on the old hardware. This will allow some community made software to get things going, but the problem here is the internet connection.
For this the Game Boy’s Link Cable was used. A modified version of this cable was connected to a Raspberry Pi Pico to get everything online. Some firmware to get the two talking was needed too.
But that’s just about it. Anyone expecting a full hardware replacement or some trickery will be left disappointed here.
What is very expected here, and correct, is the poor performance that the Game Boy was able to offer. At the rate at which this setup works stacksmashing offhandedly mentions that it should only take a couple of quadrillion years to actually mine a Bitcoin.
Aside from the coil whine of the Game Boy in operation stacksmashing also points out that this setup doesn’t suck down electricity like most other mining setups, but instead sips power from the original four AA batteries.
Don’t start thinking about the price of those batteries compared to the reward from mined Bitcoin because this project falls firmly into the “can it be done?” section instead of “should it be done?”.
We’d love to see some madman combine the computing power of a few hundred Game Boys to try and mine anything significant on such old hardware.