Want your very own Raspberry Pi Game Boy, a retro-style handheld game console that you can take anywhere?
There are many options available, from adapting an existing case to sticking a Raspberry Pi in a printed Nintendo Game Boy 3D printer.
Read on to learn all about building your own Raspberry Pi Game Boy and building your own from a kit.
Which Raspberry Pi model should I use for my Game Boy case?
Almost all Raspberry Pi models can be used for a Game Boy style project. However, each of them has its own advantages and disadvantages.
- Raspberry Pi A A: Lower CPU and RAM speeds, and fewer USB ports, Pi A models should do the job, but most cases won’t.
- Raspberry Pi B/B+ A: From the original Pi B to Raspberry Pi 4, the B board is the most suitable for emulation. The fastest option, B boards also have more connectivity options.
- Raspberry Pi Zero : compact but slow, no USB connection without adapter. Various Raspberry Pi Game Boy projects are based on the Pi Zero. Given how affordable the board is, this is your best bet if you’re new to the Raspberry Pi.
While other handheld circuit boards can be used in a Gameboy style handheld gaming system, the Raspberry Pi is the most suitable.
Accessories for Raspberry Pi Game Boy
You’ll need more than just a Raspberry Pi for a Game Boy style project.
- PiGRRL 2 PCB: This device allows you to control your Pi and games
- PiTFT display: 2.8 inch TFT resistive touch screen 320 × 240 pixels
- Charger PowerBoost 1000
- Lithium polymer battery
- Rubber buttons
- Audio amplifier: Adafruit PAM8302 is a good option
- mini speaker
- Optional Game Boy (or Game Boy Advance) style 3D print
- Assortment of switches and buttons, depending on the Game Boy case you choose
- Suitable stranded wires
Are retro games legal?
You may notice some confusion around retro games, especially with ROM purchases. In fact, these are disk images of cartridges, cassettes, disks and other game media from classic systems. The thing is, if you don’t have the original version, you can’t legally use the ROM.
So, take the time to use the retro games you already have or buy them on eBay or a flea market.
Three Ways to Build a Raspberry Pi Game Boy
What is the best way to build a Game Boy Pocket PC with a Raspberry Pi? You have three main options, each with a different difficulty.
- Adapt an existing Game Boy
- 3D print Game Boy case
- Buy Raspberry Pi Game Boy Bundle
Let’s take a look at some of the best Raspberry Pi game console builds you can carry in your pocket.
1. Revive an old Game Boy with a Raspberry Pi
If you have an old Game Boy cluttering up the drawer, it makes sense to rely on the original case. While you won’t be able to use the insides, there’s enough room inside to hold the Pi. You can even fit a spare, unused or 3D printed Pi Zero case to sit in it.
You must also find a place for the display and controller board. For an authentic feel, keep the original buttons.