Turning A DS Into A Game Boy Advance

The venerable Game Boy is dead – and has been for a long time – after being replaced by the DS, DSi, DSi XL, and the 3DS. That doesn’t mean there’s nothing of value to the old Game Boy catalog; Pokemon Red/Blue is still as much fun as it was 15 years ago, and the game play of Advance Wars is still superb.

[Maarten] over at Bureau voor Gamers decided to put a modern twist on our old friend by taking a first-gen DS and converting it to a proper single screen Game Boy (Dutch, Google translation).

The donor machine was a broken first gen DS with a broken top screen. [Maarten] removed the top screen, did a tiny bit of Bondoing, moved the speaker, and gave his new toy a bright orange paint job.

Now [Maarten] has a modern version of the best portable system ever created, packed full of more powerful hardware and a much more capacious battery. Sure, it’s not a build that requires rewiring everything, but it’s still an awesome build for GBA aficionados.

15 thoughts on “Turning A DS Into A Game Boy Advance

    1. Haha came here to say the same thing. I’m convinced the only reason the DS wasn’t fully backwards-compatible is because Nintendo was still selling GBA variants at the same time.

  1. I had a friend that broke the top screen of his DS so he ripped the top off to use it as a GBA. It didn’t work after that for anything… I never said he was a smart friend. Anyways, neat little hack, good way to sort of recycle hardware rather than throw it out. Personally I would prefer the gameboy micro given the choice.

  2. Remember that only game boy advance games run on the DS, nothing older.

    So, if you want to actually play Pokemon blue, you will need to hang on to some variety of game boy advance (or older unit).

    if the DS has been hacked to run unsigned code, then a flash card plus a game boy emulator will allow you to emulate GB/GBC games on a DS, which, reportedly, works quite well.

    1. It works pretty much flawlessly, yes. Lameboy is the best I’ve seen so far.

      Only Issue: That needs the top screen. The bottom is used for emu stuff, and the top has the game.

    2. You don’t need all that unsigned-code bollocks nowadays, that was back in the days of twisting GBA carts, in slot 2, into playing DS games.

      Nowadays you get a Supercard (recommended!) or an R4 or whatever. Stick an SD card in the Supercard, stick the Supercard in Slot 1, and Bob’s yer uncle. Simple as loading any normal cart.

      They’re working on the 3DS version. Currently they can get DS and DSi games playing on it, but no native.

  3. I wanna do this with my nds lite. Topscreen=dead, and gone, so it won’t power on. Should I run a wire from the ribbon cable connector’s + and- to a load of a couple of ohms for example?

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