The Game Boy turned 30 years old this year. As such an incredibly popular system at the time, they’re still available on the second-hand market, but they are often broken. As Dave Darko explains in his recent element14 build video, the system has two boards — one which controls the display and takes button inputs, while the second contains the cartridge reader, CPU, SRAM, link port, and DC adapter. Since the display board is usually the problem, it seems like a shame to let all that hardware go to waste.
To give this main board a new life, Darko decided to convert one into a chiptune audio player, complete with user feedback on a modern greenish screen that wouldn’t look out of place at all in the era. To accomplish this, he created a custom Arduino-style board, and installed software originally written to control a UAV with a Game Boy on the custom cartridge. This allows the Game Boy board to transmit data to the Arduino via the Game Boy’s link port.
To complete the project, everything is housed in a beautiful 3D-printed case. While there was never an audio player like this in the 1980s or ’90s, if you were to see one then, you would really have to wonder where you could find them for sale!