ByDylan Bonds, writer at
Lifetip: Pokérus is fatal to humans, but those sweet 2x EVs are worth it.
Dylan Bonds

Have you ever wondered: "Hey these portable handheld consoles aren't nearly small enough for my portability needs—I can't even fit them on my keyring!"

Probably not. But Sprite_TM (Jeroen Domburg) decided it was something worth looking at anyway, and the fan-favorite Gameboy is a great place to start.

Worst. Tetris run. Ever. [Credit: Hackaday]
Worst. Tetris run. Ever. [Credit: Hackaday]

Brief Tech Talk

This talented hacker had wanted to get to work on this pet project for quite some time, but decided to wait for better technology to become more widely available before building his tiny .

Price was also a factor which is understandable—in my opinion, using cutting-edge tech wouldn't be a feat quite as impressive as the $3.80 color 96x64 OLED screen that Jeroen Domburg ended up opting for.

Granted, the original Game Boy had higher resolution at 160x144, but with the other option priced at $720 no one could blame his choice.

Thinkpad for scale? [Credit: Hackaday]
Thinkpad for scale? [Credit: Hackaday]

The screen size was the centerpiece of his creation with all other hardware being chosen to comply with its specs.

A little problem solving

Domburg's chip choice—the ESP32, which he actually had a hand in officially modifying—made this hack incompatible with modern emulators, so he went with gnuboy, a gameboy emulator originally released in 2000. However, this too had issues with RAM requirements—or more specifically the tile-cache—which he managed to significantly reduce in to get the machine running.

Sprite_TM sliding in some humor in his talk [Credit: Hackaday]
Sprite_TM sliding in some humor in his talk [Credit: Hackaday]

The audio was another key issue but I'll let you discover some of the other cool fixes and tech specs from his amazing talk at the 2016 Hackaday SuperConference, available below:

Why does this matter?

Pushing the boundaries of technology is how we arrive at new breakthroughs.

What may start as seemingly pointless or mundane ideas often inadvertently give way to new advancements. For example, Leo Baekeland made the first synthetic polymer because he was looking at beetle resin, and anesthesia was discovered due to recreational use of nitrous oxide and ether (not the Pokémon item) at parties. From getting high at a gathering to saving people from a lot of pain.

The same concept may apply to this cute little Game Boy. Domburg's micro machine could feasibly lead to technological advancements used by more modern consoles, is essentially what I'm saying. And even if it doesn't aid in any future projects, a key chain Game Boy is certainly a novel idea cool enough to justify itself.

Here's some other examples of awesome video game ideas to inspire you:


Do you still think these kinds of inventions are pointless?


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