Gameboy ROM backups using an Arduino

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[Alex] collects retro gaming consoles. One day while playing a SNES title, his save games got wiped when he powered off the system. It turned out that the battery inside the game cartridge got disconnected somehow, and it got him thinking. He decided he wanted to find a way to back up his save games from the cartridges for safe keeping.

While cart readers exist, he says that they are hard to find nowadays, so he decided to construct his own using an Arduino. SNES cartridges are relatively complex, so he opted to focus on Gameboy cartridges for the time being. Before attempting to back up save games, he first chose to learn how to communicate with the cartridges in general, by reading the ROM.

He breaks the cartridges down in detail, discussing how they are constructed as well as how they can be addressed and read using the Arduino. He was ultimately successful, and offers up code as well as schematics on his site for any of you interested in doing the same. We imagine that save game reading (and perhaps editing) will likely happen in the near future.

Check out the video below to see his cart reader in action.

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GameBoy Advance Rapid Fire Hack

Ever find yourself in the middle of a Game Boy game and your hand cramps up?  Save that sore wrist for something else because now you can hack the Game Boy Advance to add Rapid Fire for the B button.  [William] has developed a way to do this by creating a simple circuit that generates a square wave on the B button when it is pressed.  To do this hack all that was needed was a short shopping list of:

  • A Couple NAND Gate ICs
  • 2n2222 NPN Transistor
  • 0.1uF ceramic capacitor
  • A Switch
  • 1M ohm resistor
  • Some Thin Wire

After that you’re off to the races as [William] documents how he goes about transforming the Game Boy Advance and includes a ton of great pictures and a schematic.  This operation ends with [William] placing the switch for Rapid Fire excellence next to the Right Bumper where it is inconspicuous and yet easy enough to access.

Via [HackedGadgets]

GameBoy Analog Meter

Boring game.

Here’s an interesting setup using a GameBoy Advance as an interface and power supply for a PIC microprocessor. He’s got the PIC connected to the serial port of the GameBoy Advance and is able to pass and retrieve data for display on the screen. You can see above that he is showing two analog values from the pic. You can download the schematic and source code and see a few more pictures, but that’s about it.

[via HackedGadgets]

Gameboy Color boot ROM

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It’s only been a week since the Super Gameboy’s boot ROM was dumped by [Costis] and he’s already at it again. This time he’s managed to grab the Gameboy Color’s boot ROM. He found the newer Gameboy Color’s hardware is able to cope with a clock speed up to 100MHz, so the original clock increase trick he used on the Super Gameboy wouldn’t work again.

Instead he discovered a quick disconnection of clock and power before 0xFF50 would make the Gameboy jump to a random area within the ROM. Then it was only a matter of entropy, luck, and some special NOP instructions until eventually he had the boot ROM. Keep up the good work [Costis].

Gameboy foot controller

[Joey] sent us a link to the newest version of his Gameboy foot controller. In the video above, you can see how he uses it to control the loops in the background while he plays his guitar through an 8-bit filter. That is an old video, using the previous version. He tells us that several gameboys were used in the construction. At one point, he had to replace the guts because the music was so loud it knocked his equipment over and destroyed it. We can’t help but feel just a tiny bit of excitement as memories of renting a NES cartridge for the weekend fill our heads when we hear these riffs. His music isn’t too bad either. There is a growing crowd of people that support “chip music”. You can see what looks like a decent sized gathering enjoying a show with a little bit of a history lesson after the break.

[This video, and the original version of the controler were posted about a year ago, good catch commenters]

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USB gameboy cart

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[Jose Torres] sent in his latest attempt at creating a custom Gameboy game cartridge. We’ve featured his projects before, and he’s come a lot closer over the last 2 years. He’s aiming to create an easy interface for homebrewers that doesn’t require any other special equipment. In this revision, he’s using a PIC and a memory controller to interface between an SD card and the Gameboy. The cart also has USB support for uploading files to the SD card and reprogramming the PIC. Because it’s just USB mass storage, it will work on almost any modern OS. He’s currently testing the device, but hopes to be selling them soon for $40.

Happy birthday Gameboy

In honor of Gameboy’s 20th birthday, Stupidinventions has released a video showing how to replace the screen. They tend to be a common weak point. Essentially, they just bought another , we’re assuming broken, Gameboy and swapped them out. Not a horribly complicated hack, but nice to know that it’s so easy. We have fond memories of the Gameboy, which came flooding back when he blew in the cartridge.  Happy Birthday Gameboy.