The Gameboy line of handheld systems from Nintendo have been wildly popular, but lack one major thing – a video output. This can be troublesome if you’d like to view the games on a bigger screen, for more comfortable gaming sessions or detail work like producing chiptunes. One option is to use the Gameboy Player for the Gamecube, however that system’s age means you’re out of luck if you want a crisp, clear picture on a modern digital display. Wouldn’t it be great if you could get HDMI output from a Gameboy Advance Instead?
When it comes to working with video signals, FPGAs can’t be beat. [Stephen] leverages an FPGA in this project to read the GBA’s video signals and convert them to the modern digital format. Unfortunately, it’s not a seamless install – limited space means the GBA’s screen must be entirely removed, replaced with the adapter in a manner resembling the terrifying Facehugger.
Packaging aside, the output from the device is nothing short of stunning – the graphics are absolutely crystal clear when displayed on a modern HDMI television. This is because the FPGA is capturing the exact digital output from the GBA, and piping it out as HDMI – there’s no analog fuzziness, conversions or noise to spoil the image. Output is a tasty 1280×720, upscaled from the GBA’s original resolution. For more details, check out the forum thread where [Stephen] runs through the build.
The only thing missing is details – we’d love to know more about the exact hardware used, and any trials and tribulations during the build! As far as we can tell, the build doesn’t stop at just video – a SNES controller is used instead of the original buttons, and we have a feeling sound is being passed over the HDMI channel as well sound is piped to the TV from the GBA’s headphone port.
It’s great to see these projects for old hardware come out – modern hardware has the muscle to achieve things previously unthinkable on retro consoles. We’ve seen similar projects before – like adding VGA to an original Game Boy.
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
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.
Tired of messing with the hardware of the Didj you picked up? Now you can use it for gaming on that last road trip of the summer. A Game Boy Advanced emulator has been ported for use on both the Didj and the Explorer. You’ll have to dig up a copy of the original bios for a GBA as well as some ROMs, but the rest seems pretty straight forward. We are still holding out hope for Doom or Quake on the Didj, but this will help us wait a bit longer.
[Steve] wanted to do some ARM development and set his sights on the Game Boy Advance as a development package. In order to get his code onto the device he build an Arduino-based communications cable. It is necessary to have a microcontroller involved because the GBA uses a peculiar 16-bit serial communications protocol. This cable is an adaptation from the 8051-based cable developed by [Matt Evans] several years ago. [Steve’s] got it working by porting the 8051 assembler over for the Arduino, but we’d recommend adding a level converter to his hardware setup to step down from the Arduino’s 5v logic to the 3.3v logic the GBA expects.
He didn’t make up a wiring diagram, but in the code comments [Steve’s] laid out the connections as follows:
Arduino 8 to GBA SO
Arduino 9 to GBA SI
Arduino 10 to GBA SD
Arduino 11 to GBA SC
That’s it, follow the README in his source code package and you’re on your way to some ARM development.
[Hounjini] was poking around at the Game Boy Advanced bus of his Nintendo DS lite and figured out how to use it to connect an Arduino to the DS. For testing he’s soldered an IDC plug to the cartridge cover pin interface but this only requires four connections. The Arduino can both send and receive data from the DS lite as shown in the example videos after the break. The data access is made possible by making the Arduino look like a controller that the DS is happy to talk to.
Homebrew developer [yaarglafr] recently released this video of his Protein DScratch in action. You can download a demo version here. The program simulates DJ scratching on the DS with an intuitive interface much like the ones on the touchscreen turntables we discussed the other day. It works well with any of the major DS slot devices; just run a DLDI patch on it and you’re good to go.