You Can Now Emulate NES and Game Boy Games on the Nintendo Game and Watch

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You Can Now Emulate NES and Game Boy Games on the Nintendo Game and Watch

Because of its well-known internal hardware and a lot of hard effort by committed hackers, the Nintendo Game and Watch have been hacked.

Some ingenious sleuthing has set the framework for homebrew game creation for Nintendo’s vintage throwback machine.

Your Favorite Retro Games on the Nintendo Game and Watch

stacksmashing, a YouTuber, has posted a series of videos on how to hack the Nintendo Game and Watch. It’s not an easy procedure, but NES and Game Boy emulation is now operational, along with the usual Doom version.

Because of the electronics used by the Nintendo Game and Watch, this hack is conceivable. The STM32H7B0 is a member of the widely used STM32 chip family. These chips are found in many hobby microcontroller boards and may be read and edited through the chipset’s debug pins. The device is linked with a 1MB SPI Flash chip, which may also be used to collect data from the main CPU.

Fortunately, the Nintendo Game and Watch PCB exposes all of the pins needed for reprogramming the STM32 processor as pin headers. However, accessing the chip’s firmware proved problematic since Nintendo had put manufacture flags that prevented direct reading of the device – a security feature of the STM32.

Hardware Detective Work Pays Off

The lack of firmware access made it difficult to run modified ROMs on the hardware, however stacksmashing still had access to the chip’s RAM and the independent SPI Flash chip. He was able to figure out what encryption was used for loading ROMs using data obtained from RAM and SPI Flash, finally changing it to run a modified version of Mario Bros.

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The next step was to figure out how to extract the Nintendo firmware from the chip so that it could be backed up. Without this step, any effort to reprogram the device normally may result in it permanently not operating, “bricking” the console.

They discovered that by executing a bit of modified code from the SPI Flash chip, they were able to unload the whole firmware for the Nintendo Game and Watch after collaborating with Konrad Beckmann, a hardware hacker from Sweden.

Everything was now in place for them to hack to their hearts’ content, certain that they could undo their alterations at any moment. Konrad Beckmann took advantage of his newfound freedom immediately on Twitter:

After a tremendous amount of effort, custom emulators began to take form. The current emphasis is on creating an easy-to-use homebrew configuration for the Nintendo Game and Watch.

While still in its early stages, stacksmashing’s GitHub website contains the homebrew Nintendo Game and Watch code and instructions.

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