For millions of gamers of a certain era, Nintendo’s Game Boy was the first handheld they owned. The chunky device offered impressive battery life (when used with quality AA batteries), an excellent collection of games and even local multiplayer with select titles.
Technology advanced over the years and eventually, the classic Game Boy was succeeded by faster, smaller devices with better features. But for some, like YouTube modder wermy, there’s nothing quite like playing games on the familiar handheld.
Using a Raspberry Pi Zero, wermy gutted a classic Game Boy to create what he calls the Game Boy Zero. Sure, others have used a Raspberry Pi to modernize Nintendo’s handheld but few (if any) offer the level of functionality and customization we see here.
The YouTuber replaced the monochromatic display with a full-color unit, drilled a couple of extra holes on the face of the system for additional buttons (which were swiped from an original NES controller), replaced the link cable port with a USB port, added a micro USB port for charging, replaced the contrast dial with a mini HDMI port and even added rear “bumper” buttons.
The original headphone jack was left alone and still disables the system’s speaker when headphones are connected.
On the inside, wermy retrofit a 2,000mAh lithium polymer battery where the AA batteries would typically go. Behind that, you’ll find a USB hub with a Bluetooth dongle attached and a trio of small buttons to adjust the screen.
The mods don’t stop there, however, as he took apart a standard game cartridge and wired up an SD-to-microSD card adapter. The cartridge reader from the Game Boy was then wired up to the SD card pads on the Raspberry Pi. Having done that, he can insert a microSD card into the modded game cartridge and plug that into the Game Boy just as you would with a standard game on a stock unit.
The system runs RetroPie and by using Emulationstation, he can play a wide range of games. Nicely done!