Game boy drum machine

[Jowan] sent in this excellent gameboy cartridge hack. The cartridge contains 1MB of flash and an 8 bit serial I/O interface. He’s using it to play percussion with some solenoids and a custom rom. If you guys like it, he might be convinced to put together a how-to on hacking the cartridge.


  1. steve diraddo says:

    now run the mario theme through it =)

  2. matt thomson says:

    a how-to would be GREAT, i’ve been looking for something like this

  3. David R says:

    A super easy way to do this using a Nintendo DS (66MHz ARM9 + 4MB RAM, much nicer than a GB/GBC) is by using the DSerial. It gives 18 GPIO lines, has PWM, ADC, UART with RS232 level compatibility, as well as a 2D tilt sensor for the heck of it. You can basically use it to interface to anything. Check it out here:

    I’m trying to build a NDS-based heart monitor with mine, check my blog to see my progress on it:

  4. wardy says:

    That’s great! A how-to would be awesome please! :D

  5. Silas says:

    AWESOME! I love projects involving GameBoys prior to the advance… A How-To would be great!

  6. Digital Master Tako says:

    HELL YEA!! add the rom hak.

  7. silic0re says:

    very innovative!

    the link port on the GBA SP can also be used as an RS232 serial port, but a level shifter is required to get the voltages correct.

  8. Paul says:

    That is officially the coolest thing I have seen today.

    I would love to have a how-to on er… how to do this.

    I have a gameboy color that is just gathering dust right now. This could be a fun way to get some more life out of it.

  9. jowan says:

    i started off with this version – GameBrain Ver 1
    which is taken from the ‘gameboy project’ . Much respect to the man, all his work.
    There is an amazing PDF on his site that does explain everything but it involves making your own, so, i will do a ‘how-to follow the pdf’ page asap. This will involve home etching and a parts list, and a few thing i felt the pdf left out, all pretty easy stuff, no smd, and cost about 5 quid per cart.

    You can do anything with these cart including sensors, actuators and communication such as serial and midi – woohoo

    Also the rom is on the page, it uses a basic shell then a really simple program written in GBBasic so lots of loops and bleeps, kiddy programming really but then i am an not techno wizard, i just love the creative use of technology. – jo

  10. mike says:

    It shouldn’t be hard to get some cheap drum triggers (tk-9 i think?) to trigger of a real drum kit and hook them up. I think they run ~10$ each…

  11. funktion says:

    great idea and execution. can’t wait for a tutorial!

  12. strider_mt2k says:

    Very nice work!

    _always_ great to see the Game Boy and DS hacks!!

  13. jowan says:

    Much updated version

    downloadable rom and audio files.


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