From the release of the DMG-01 in 1989 until the final Micro variant hit store shelves in 2005, the Nintendo Game Boy line represented the epitome of handheld gaming for hundreds of millions of players. But that’s not to say there weren’t a wide array of other handheld systems that aimed to chip away at the Japanese gaming giant’s monopoly. SEGA and Sony released high-tech systems that brought impressive technical innovations, while Tiger Electronics famously took the opposite approach with ultra-cheap handhelds that leveraged simplistic games based on popular children’s franchises.
[Chris Downing] had to make do with these budget Tiger games as a child, and now as an adult, he’s determined to made things right with the Tiger Boy Advance. As the name implies, this retro hybrid combines the look and feel of a branded Tiger game with the power and software compatibility of a legitimate Nintendo Game Boy Advance (GBA) circa 2001. It even sprinkles in some modern niceties, like USB-C charging and a backlit display. While most of its charm is probably lost on anyone who didn’t grow up within a fairly narrow range of years, the video below seems to prove that even modern kids can appreciate this one-of-a-kind creation.
From an electronics standpoint, the system is essentially just a gutted GBA crammed into a 3D printed approximation of an old Tiger game from around the mid 1990s. But what makes this project special is the nostalgia-fueled attention to detail that [Chris] brings to the table.
Take for example the custom manufactured faceplate that combines artwork from some of the era’s best known games. Getting the image printed on the back of the CNC-cut piece of clear acrylic proved to be quite a challenge, but the final result looks incredibly professional. Instead of using the GBA’s stock buttons and directional pad, [Chris] decided to 3D print replacements that mimic the look of the original Tiger controls. It all culminates in a device that perfectly recreates the unique look of the original Tiger games.
Some will argue that he’d have done better to equip the system with a Raspberry Pi Zero 2 and the latest build of RetroPie, and frankly, it’s easy to see the appeal of going that route. But [Chris] didn’t make this for us, he built it to encapsulate a very specific time from his own childhood. We’re just glad that the technology now available to the individual maker allowed him to turn this particular dream into reality.
Continue reading “Tiger Boy Advance Is A 90s Kid Dream Come True”
Early last year, a very unique Game Boy Color showed up on Chinese shopping site Taobao. Rather than the rather anemic-looking display of the original GBC, this version was modified with a modern IPS LCD. Even in the pictures shown on the product page, it was clear the display on this unit was far more advanced than anything Nintendo ever packed into a Game Boy. The retro gaming community went wild, and soon the site was overwhelmed with orders. The majority of the sales were canceled by the seller, and it’s believed as few as 75 of these hacked GBCs were actually shipped out.
Thanks to one of his viewers, [Colin] was able to get his hands on one of these extremely rare customized handhelds. Clearly a man after our own heart, his first inclination was to tear the thing apart and see how they built it. While he had a fairly good idea of how they managed this hybrid of modern and classic technology, there were a couple of surprises inside.
The device has a completely stock main board, and as such works and plays like a normal GBC. But upon flipping the main board over, [Colin] found a nest of thin magnet wire connecting the new display controller to individual buttons on the front panel. As he later confirmed when he reassembled the system, this allows the user to adjust the display’s brightness by holding “Select” and using the directional pad.
As for the screen itself, the big surprise was that it’s clearly pulled out of a relatively recent smartphone. The screen is physically much larger than the opening in the GBC’s front panel, but through some software trickery the image is displayed only in the area that’s visible to the player. [Colin] managed to get a hold of a few contacts “in the know” who confirmed to him that both the hardware and software for the display controller were specifically created for this application, and are unlikely to be duplicated by anyone else.
Considering most of the Game Boy hacks we cover are about somebody jamming modern hardware into them, it’s an interesting change of pace to see a group that was so adamant about retaining as much original hardware as possible while still managing to improve the user experience.
[Thanks to Doc Oct for the tip]
Continue reading “Investigating The World’s Rarest Game Boy”
If you’re bored with the Game Boy Color’s offerings, it’s understandable: it’s been around for nearly 20 years, and doesn’t get a lot of new releases these days. [Antonio Niño Díaz] spent over a year coding a game for the GBC: µCity, a Sims City style game. He designed the graphics and even wrote his own music.
[Antonio] did all the programming in Assembly Language, creating modules for managing traffic and the power grid, building creation and destruction, as well as disaster simulations. He has extensive notes in his GitHub page detailing each module and describing how it all works together. He’s given it a GPLv3+ license, so hack away.
The ROM works on emulators, but [Antonio] has verified it works on the original hardware; it just reduces the number of saved cities to accommodate the handheld’s lesser stats.
Hackaday loves our GBC: we’ve written up DIY coprocessors for the GBC, adding an audio amp, and even making a solar-powered Game Boy.
Continue reading “Writing A New Game For The Game Boy Color”
We are continually amazed by the things people do with LEGO and Technics, especially those that require incredible engineering skill. There’s an entire community based around building Great Ball Contraptions, which are LEGO Rube Goldberg machines that move tiny basketballs and soccer balls from one place to another. Except for a few rules about the input and output, the GBC horizons are boundless.
Famed GBC creator [Akiyuki] recently built a GBC module that’s designed to show the movement of strain wave gear systems. These types of gear systems are used in industrial applications where precision is vital. Strain wave gears are capable of reducing gear ratios in a small footprint.
Continue reading “LEGO Strain Wave Gear Is Easy On The Eyes”