How to Build a Raspberry Pi Game Boy and Where to Buy a Kit

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How to Build a Raspberry Pi Game Boy and Where to Buy a Kit

Do you want your own Raspberry Pi-powered Game Boy, a portable handheld vintage gaming machine that you can carry anywhere?

There are several choices, ranging from customizing an existing casing to putting your Raspberry Pi in a 3D printed Nintendo Game Boy.

Continue reading to discover all you need to know about making your own Raspberry Pi Game Boy from scratch or from a kit.

Which Raspberry Pi Model Should You Use for a Game Boy Case?

Almost all Raspberry Pi models are suitable for Game Boy-style projects. However, each has benefits and cons.

  • Raspberry Pi A: With a lesser CPU speed and RAM, as well as fewer USB ports, the Pi A variants should suffice in most instances.
  • Raspberry Pi B/B+: The B board is best suited to emulation, from the original Pi B through the Raspberry Pi 4. B boards are the quickest alternative and offer additional connection possibilities.
  • Raspberry Pi Zero: small, yet slower, and without USB connection without an adaptor. Various Raspberry Pi Game Boy projects are centered on the Pi Zero. Given how affordable the board is, it’s your best option if you’re new to Raspberry Pi.

Other hobbyist PCBs may be utilized in a Gameboy-style mobile game system, but the Raspberry Pi is the best choice.

Additional Hardware for a Raspberry Pi Game Boy

For a Game Boy-style project, you’ll need more than just a Raspberry Pi.

  • PiGRRL 2 PCB: This board allows you to control your Pi and games.
  • PiTFT Display: a 2.8-inch TFT resistive touchscreen with 320×240 pixels.
  • PowerBoost 1000 charger
  • Lithium Polymer battery
  • Rubber buttons
  • The Adafruit PAM8302 audio amplifier is a fantastic choice.
  • Mini speaker
  • 3D printed Game Boy (or Game Boy Advance) style casing is optional.
  • Depending on the Game Boy casing you pick, a variety of switches and buttons
  • Suitable stranded wires
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A soldering iron, wire cutters, and a microSD card with RetroPie (a retro gaming suite) loaded are also required.

Is Retro Gaming Legal?

You may be aware of some ambiguity around retro gaming, particularly the purchasing of ROMs. These are basically disk images of vintage system cartridges, cassettes, disks, and other game media. The problem is that you can’t legally use the ROM unless you possess the original edition.

So, utilize old games you already possess or purchase them on eBay or at a flea market.

Three Ways to Build a Raspberry Pi Game Boy

What is the best approach to use a Raspberry Pi to make a Game Boy handheld? You have three major alternatives, each with various degrees of difficulty.

  1. Adapt an existing Game Boy
  2. 3D print a Game Boy case
  3. Purchase a Raspberry Pi Game Boy kit.

Let’s take a look at some of the top Raspberry Pi gaming console designs you can carry about with you.

1. Revive an Old Game Boy With Raspberry Pi

If you have an old Game Boy lying around in a drawer, it makes sense to use the original casing. While you won’t be able to access the internals, there is enough room inside to house the Raspberry Pi. You could even modify a spare, unused, or 3D printed cartridge case to fit a Pi Zero.

There should also be space for the display and the controller PCB. Keep the original buttons for a more realistic look.

The video above shows how to use an old Game Boy casing while keeping all of the original inner components. If you like the original gadget, this is the way to go.

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2. 3D Print Your Raspberry Pi Game Boy

Do you want to 3D print a case? If you’re having trouble fitting a Raspberry Pi inside your old Game Boy without making modifications, consider building your own case. This Adafruit project demonstrates what you need to do and where to place the different circuits.

The ultimate product is a contemporary, 3D-printed Game Boy that is powered by a Raspberry Pi.

The STL files for 3D printing may be found on this dedicated Thingiverse page.

3. Find a Raspberry Pi Game Boy Kit

Want to prevent potentially costly blunders such as purchasing the incorrect components or a 3D printed enclosure that does not fit?

A Gameboy kit for your Raspberry Pi is the answer. With all of the essential components, you should be up and running in 90 minutes. The Raspberry Pi Gameboy is now ready to use.

Raspberry Pi Zero Game Boy: EZ-GBZ DIY Kit

Most likely, all you want is a kit to simply build and play classic games. If so, consider the EZ-GBZ kit, which includes a Game Boy-style PCB, all controllers, a speaker, and a display. Simply connect your Raspberry Pi Zero (or Raspberry Pi Model A board) to the GPIO.

You’ll soon have a nice-looking Nintendo Game Boy in your hands, powered by your Pi Zero.

Pre-Assembled Shortcut: Gameboy Zero

Do you want to play but don’t want to create a project from scratch or from a kit? The Gameboy Zero, available on Etsy in both colorful and clear casings, is the appropriate answer.

When placing an order, you may choose between conventional Game Boy buttons and purple SNES buttons. This is the most genuine Game Boy experience you’ll get without firing up an original, thanks to a Raspberry Pi Zero.

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A Game Boy Kit Without the Raspberry Pi

Finally, if you want a nice modular Game Boy-like vintage gaming experience but don’t mind the Raspberry Pi, try Clockwork’s Gameshell.

This is a terrific small gadget that is especially suited to Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, NES, and MAME games. It is a modular device that even contains an HDMI-out connector. Other platforms may be installed, and the device has a PICO8 game kit for creating your own games. You can even use the Gameshell to run Kodi!

Want to know more? Check our review of the Gameshell.

Play Retro Games Anywhere on Your Raspberry Pi Game Boy

Do you want a pocket-sized Raspberry Pi-powered Game Boy-style gaming console? You should have a decent sense of the best choice by now. You may either modify an old Game Boy, 3D print a casing, or purchase a Raspberry Pi Game Boy kit.

Whatever option you choose, the end product should be a portable gaming system that can be played anywhere. You might restrict your options to Game Boy and Game Boy Advance games. Alternatively, you might embrace the whole collection of vintage games at your disposal. That will surely keep you occupied!

As previously said, you’ll need to employ a vintage gaming suite to get your Game Boy-esque Raspberry Pi up and running. While RetroPie is an option, vintage gaming on the Raspberry Pi offers much more.

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