Modernizing The Game Boy Advance

[Zekfoo] decided to honor the Game Boy Advance’s 20th birthday by redesigning it at the circuit level to give it a more modern twist. To quote the project readme:

I really want to like the Game Boy Advance. Growing up with a GBA SP, I was spoiled by its clicky buttons, rechargeable battery, and illuminated screen. When I finally got my hands on an original GBA, I couldn’t be more disappointed by the stark difference in feel and function. While today’s retro modding scene has produced many improvements for the GBA (referred to from now on as its codename AGB), the console still has many quirks that simple modding hasn’t been able to fix, but that can be addressed in a circuit redesign.

The four-layer board looks great and there a number of modernized features.

For example, this new version is rechargeable. The unit has proper switches, which most people will prefer over the mushy membrane switches. There’s also a screen light and an improved power supply that helps produce cleaner audio, among other things.

We were disappointed that the repository only has images and audio files — if you want to duplicate the build you are on your own. He’s also done a clone of the Game Boy Color, but — alas — no design files there either. Still, a couple of good-looking projects.

We always enjoy seeing old products given a facelift. If you think you just need an emulator, they sometimes don’t exactly mimic real hardware.

9 thoughts on “Modernizing The Game Boy Advance

    1. Especially weird since he’s already done all the work, including making a Github project and documenting it. Sharing the design files should be 30 seconds. Guess he really wants it to stay a one-off.

      1. This!

        There’s a reason the pro controller uses membranes (along with most console controllers). The joycon uses clicky buttons to save space, definitely not because they’re better.

        Similarly, I’d guess the SP used them to save space. It was a compromise to make it more compact, not a feature.

  1. Got to disagree with the clicky switch thing. The face buttons on the SP always felt super cheap to me compared to the membrane buttons on the GBA. The fat DS stuck with the cheap buttons, much to my disappointment but thankfully the DS lite switched back to membranes.

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.