As interest in retro gaming continues to grow, it’s getting harder and harder to find original hardware at a reasonable price. So while we applaud this clever hack that creates a truly big-screen Game Boy Pocket experience, we’re also saddened to see it required the sacrifice of ten Game Boys in total to make it possible.
Over the past month, we’ve seen how Sebastian Staacks’ custom wifi-capable Game Boy cartridge has allowed the handheld with the notoriously awful screen to learn some new tricks, including streaming and displaying video content like Star Wars, or even serving as a client for cloud gaming, realising the impossible dream of a Game Boy actually being able to play a modern title like GTA V.
YouTuber kgsws has pulled off some similar hacking magic with the Game Boy — specifically the Game Boy Pocket with its moderately improved black-and-white screen — but taken a completely different route to seize control of the handheld console’s screen. Using an oscilloscope to reverse engineer the GBP’s display protocol, kgsws was able to wirelessly stream the video signal to another device using an ESP32 wireless module, and they soon discovered that a more powerful Raspberry Pi was needed to stream game footage to another Game Boy Pocket.
But why stop at streaming gameplay footage to just one Game Boy Pocket when a Raspberry Pi has enough power to stream to multiple handhelds at the same time? That realisation led to kgsws wiring up nine other Game Boy Pockets in a 3×3 grid and creating what is undoubtedly the first big(ger) screen GBP experience.
Is it practical? Absolutely not. As novel as it is to see an embiggened Game Boy Pocket screen, there are huge gaps between all the panels that totally wreck the experience, not to mention the entire thing appears to be rigged up on a fragile frame made of repurposed coat hangers. Perhaps one day another hacker will take this idea one step further and build a truly supersized Game Boy Pocket using nine original displays more closely tiled, but appearances aside, it’s still cool to see people pushing the Game Boy hardware to do weird new things.