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Turn Your Old Game Boy Into the Ultimate Retro Controller With This Custom Cartridge


Illustration for article titled Turn Your Old Game Boy Into the Ultimate Retro Controller With This Custom Cartridge
Image: insideGadgets

As playing retro games on modern consoles has become more popular, so has the accessories market dedicated to reviving classic controllers that promise to make the retro gaming experience feel more authentic. But why buy the same hardware again when there are clever ways to repurpose your old controllers? This cartridge even turns the original Game Boy into a wireless gamepad.

I realize Tetris existed well before Nintendo’s Game Boy hit the market, but the portable version of the classic tetromino-stacking game that shipped with every Game Boy still feels like the defacto version to me, and playing Tetris with that familiar hardware in hand magically increases my stacking skills by ten-fold. That’s probably why I’m so impressed by this hack from Alex Iannuzzi of insideGadgets. Without having to modify or upgrade the original Game Boy or GBA hardware in any way, he managed to design and build a game cartridge that turns the handhelds into wireless controllers for other consoles and computers.

Iannuzzi has documented the design and engineering of this custom cartridge on his website, including links to the code he developed, and the schematics of the actual hardware. Someone with similar hacking skills could probably recreate this cartridge themselves, but for simpletons like myself, Iannuzzi also sells pre-assembled versions on his site.


The current version of the Gameboy TX Cart, which sells for $23, uses the larger cartridge designs that the Game Boy and Game Boy Color relied on. They can also be used in the Game Boy Advance or GBA SP consoles, but the cartridge will stick out of the top. A smaller GBA version of the Gameboy TX Cart is en route, but it will reduce the range of its wireless antenna from about 26 feet down to just 13 feet. You’ll also need to cough up $14 for an accompanying wireless receiver that either connects to a computer’s USB port, or the controller ports on the Nintendo GameCube and Wii. Iannuzzi has also promised a version of the receiver for the Super Nintendo, so it might time to dig out and dust off your Super Game Boy cartridge.

[insideGadgets via Hackaday]

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This just reminds me of the rage I have for the GBA only having two face buttons. Made all the SNES ports needlessly complicated.

This made me wonder if somebody had done it with the PSP and... they had.  Now if only you could hack it to display the minmap.