Game Boy Video Out Adapter


A bit light on the details, but we enjoyed seeing this video out device for the Nintendo Game Boy. A parallel cable connects to a modified Game Boy and transmits signals to the adapter which is housed in an old VHS cassette. We gather that some Super Game Boy hardware does the signal processing but from there your guess is probably better than ours.

[NeX] mentions that he originally wanted a screen to be included in the cassette. We’ve seen custom portables with small screens before, but he’s also developed a bare bones hand-held without a screen so that’s where the inclusion in the cassette would have been handy. We also wonder how the images will look on a big TV of the 50+ inch size. [NeX] has been pretty busy with the hacking lately, don’t miss the wire porn of his homemade Game Boy project.

[Thanks Jose]

23 thoughts on “Game Boy Video Out Adapter

  1. Wow, impressive.
    Details or it dint happen :D

    Wel, a every day HAD like me still want more than just a video. It looks real, and I have a supergameboy adapter doing nothing.

    First post Awesome

  2. pretty cool, but forgive me, what is the point of having a handheld unit connected to a portable screen

    TV out yea sure get some excite bike on a big screen, but trying to juggle 2 screens that will look bad in daylight to play on the go???

  3. Anyone remember the in-store demos that did the exact same thing? As I recall the attached Game Boy was mostly enclosed, making it unclear how the video connection was made. I believe it was pre-super gb.

  4. I’ve been watching this on 8bc for a couple of days now and I’m really starting to get pissed off at how many people are saying this is the most revolutionary stuff ever to grace the chip community. He’s just hooking wires up to places they were originally meant to go, but in a slightly different package than the Game Boy itself.

    The Super Game Boy is essentially just a Game Boy CPU and cartridge connector in an SNES cartridge. All he did was wire the pins from one Game Boy’s screen to the pins from another Game Boy’s screen.

    The “Modular Game Boy” is just a Chopped down PCB with a DB-25 connector sending the pins for the missing functionality to other devices (which do nothing but perform the same function, mind you), when the functioning hardware was already there. Anyone could have done it, but nobody did because it’s basically useless. Maybe it’s a fun project for someone to play around with, and I don’t blame him for doing it once because he had a broken game boy, but there;s no use for it.

    The video out, okay. I can see how that could be advantageous in a live performance setting where one would want his own screen to fool around with LSDJ while on stage as well as let the crowd see on a projector or TV.

    But please. This isn’t the second coming of Jesus.

    If I cut all the traces from my Game Boy CPU on the PCB, then soldered wires directly to the components that those traces go to from the CPU, no one would be impressed. You’d tell me to fuck off. But if I then took the PCB away, apparently I’d be a god among men.

  5. Oh, also:

    @”We also wonder how the images will look on a big TV of the 50+ inch size”

    Whatever a Super Game Boy looks like on said TV.

    I’d be rather impressed if he actually used the screen’s data (which is very simple stuff, by the way) provided by those pins, decoded it, then encoded it as a composite out or something. Hell, you should be able to do this on one chip no problem.

  6. Oh wow. I want more technical details now! Is he using the SGB itself to play the games or has he interfaced the Game Boy to it in a way where it just passively displays the video and plays the audio?

    It’s a bit of a big deal because the SGB doesn’t play Game Boy games 100% accurately, IIRC it’s a degree faster or slower than the actual Game Boy hardware.

  7. @DanAdamKOF

    Actually, LSDJ was programmed to adjust the frequency tables for the Super Game Boy in the same way as it does for the Game Boy Color. Not the same tables of course. Thus, when played on the SGB, it’s all tuned up and the right speed. The very same reason it doesn’t speed up to around 200% and raise one octave when played on the CGB. =]

    Though you are correct, the SGB isn’t perfect. In my experience, the main difference (possibly just in LSDJ though) is the way it handles legatos, pitch bends, and vibrato. It doesn’t seem to know when to stop changing the pitch.

    That said, even the CGB is a little bit off (too much for me). I’ve found that all of my CGBs skip around 10-40% of the notes played in their noise channels. Not a good thing for music. Though again, I have only really bothered to test with LSDJ, so it could be a problem there.

    The gist of it: DMGs are just the superior Game Boys.

  8. hey everyone, my first time on hackaday, some very interesting projects on here. its nice to see some interest on my project.

    but also its a bit of a shame about some of the negativity. i do these projects because i want to and because i want to learn from them. i post them on the net because i feel people would enjoy reading about them. but i am not trying to prove anything so i am not interested in putting more effort in proving it.

    but i will say one thing to this guy Chris, please feel free to replicate my project, if it is just a super gameboy and i inject the data from my gameboy where the original CPU of the super gameboy data goes, then you should have no trouble doing the same thing. or you might come across a few problems, size being one of them.

    anyway thanks to all you who posted positive comments, i have more projects in progress that i think people will be interested in, but the attitudes of people like Chris make me reluctant to share them.

  9. Hey NeX, nice job.
    I’ll be watching your pojects’ posts at 8bc (modular GB? interesting idea) and would be really pleased if you show some schematics or technical info on this video out.

    Thanks anyway for showing the device working on vids, it looks good.

  10. Chris, you really seem to have an axe to grind. You (and others with similar comments) seem to think that something shouldn’t even be posted on the Internet if it’s not up to your exacting, ill-defined standards.

    I have an idea. Let’s define a standard for Hackaday project postability:
    1. LED Hacks – NOT OK! LEDs are stupid, only require connection to DC voltage, and are certainly not worthy of being called “hacks.” However, as the number of LEDs increases, the project’s worthiness increases proportionally. Note that any use of charlieplexing, however trivial, makes an LED project OK to post, and in some cases “Awesome.”
    2. Nixie tubes – OK! Automatic front page. Because in Soviet Russia, decommissioned outdated hardware is sold to you! Plus, they glow and are not LEDs.
    3. Steampunk – OK! Hey, it’s fucking brass! Brass screws and pipes are what butters Hackaday’s bread.
    4. Resoldering and PCB cutting – OK, unless you’re doing something that SOMEBODY ALREADY DID ONE TIME SOMEWHERE, OMFG. Also, if you have not done something sufficiently awesome with it (as defined by the afterpost comments), most definitely NOT OK.
    5. Arduino (PIC, et al.) Projects – OK, but it had better DO something, or it’s a WASTE of an Arduino. The Arduino is endangered, so you can’t just buy as many as you want, to do any THING you want with. Also, if at any time the number of Arduino projects posted in a given week exceed an arbitrary number (usually 5 or 6), then Arduino is definitely NOT OK. Find another project to work on! And FFS, DON’T POST ABOUT IT ON THE INTERNET, at least until the number of Hackaday posts about it decreases.

    Please try and remember that these projects are not SUBMITTED to Hackaday. The Hackaday editors go out and FIND this stuff. If you really think it’s that bad, write an email to Mike Szczys and tell him you think his taste in hardware projects sucks. Also, tell him why you think it’s an easy, stupid, useless project. Because I certainly don’t want to hear it.

    Oh, and, “nobody did because it’s basically useless.” Welcome to Hackaday.

    – Mike (not Szczys (holy crap, that’s a lot of consonants))

  11. @Mike “Please try and remember that these projects are not SUBMITTED to Hackaday.”

    Doesn’t the article thank “Jose” (I assume Jose Torres)? I figured that implied that he sent Hackaday a link to this project.

    @NeX: Regarding trying it myself, I’ll give it a shot. The main problem I have is getting my Super Game Boy open without damaging it (I don’t have a gamebit) because it’s a BRAND new one (not even marks on the pins) and I’d rather not damage the case.

    I’m not trying to say you shouldn’t have tried this, or that it’s total crap. I did say that some of it is ostensibly useless (which I still kind of feel) but that’s not to say it’s a total waste of time. It’s good to work on projects, and it feels great to finish them, even if they’re blinking lights in arduinos (@Mike #1). But I’m just rather annoyed at how crazy and amazing everyone — on 8bc especially — seems to think this stuff is. I’ve been rather rude about it, and I apologize for that. You did a good job on it, accomplished your goal, and kept it tidy. I think this has a lot of potential to be a lot more (less, as the case may be) than a Super Nintendo and Super Game Boy crammed into a case. Please correct me if I’m wrong about what it is.

    If you take the knowledge you gained from this project, and put it towards the more daring project of getting this functionality on a small board with a microcontroller or something on it, and use all of your own design instead of already-working hardware, I will be the first one to shake your hand… over the internet… and say it’s worthy of applause.

    I did go overboard trying to illustrate my point, there’s no denying that. Again, projects are good, big or small. I just don’t really like how incredible everyone seems to think it is.

  12. @NeX “if it is just a super gameboy and i inject the data from my gameboy where the original CPU of the super gameboy data goes, then you should have no trouble doing the same thing.”

    Well, after an hour or so of working on this, I was able to make my SGB display ALMOST perfectly. I just need to work out a sync issue. The only obvious roadblock for me right now is that my multimeter and by extension my continuity tester is at school right now. I’ll bring it home tomorrow and then I’ll probably be able to finish up.

    Thanks to Nitro2k01 ( ) for the information on the video pins and protocol. There are a few more pins to deal with than he mentions, but maybe my multimeter will help me and I’ll figure those out tomorrow.

  13. @Chris,

    thanks very much for your reply and email, i am glad we straightened things out. i am really interested in your version of this project i would love to see how you have done it and how you have overcome some of the problems that i did.

    in the future i will attempt to make this into some kind of microprocessor powered home made device, but for now this will do the job. i just wanted what was on the gameboy to be on the TV as well, which is slightly different from a super gameboy, because it is only on the TV.

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