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 realise 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 $US23 from Inside Gadgets, uses the larger cartridge designs that the Game Boy and Game Boy Colour 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 7.92m down to just 3.96m.
You’ll also need to cough up 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.