Instructables

The GameBoy DS - Play any Nintendo handheld game (Part 1)

My project works on this equation, Nintendo DS + GameBoy Color + GameBoy Advanced SP parts = GameBoy DS

When the Nintendo DS first came out, I was pretty excited. I was especially happy to hear about the GameBoy Advance slot. When I got my DS, I was sad to find out that the Advance slot could not play original GameBoy games.

After a few years, I decided that it would be really cool to put my DS inside an original GameBoy shell. After a little bit of time working on that project, I remembered my wishes that the DS would play old GameBoy games. In order for my GameBoy DS to play any Nintendo handheld game ever made, I decided that a GameBoy Color would be the best option. It was also a lot smaller to save space.

My original idea with only the DS inside would have turned out to be only a little larger than a normal GameBoy. However, after adding the GameBoy Color it is almost the size of two GameBoys stacked up.

This turned out to be a little harder than I expected, but I have pretty much pulled it off at this point.

The total cost of this project was roughly $130-$150. It was probably about two months of work overall. I normally only had an hour or two a day, so it would have gone faster if I did not have to worry about work and all that.

Here are the needed supplies for this project:
- Original GameBoy
- GameBoy Color
- GameBoy Advance SP
- Soldering Iron
- Hot Glue Gun
- Basic Electronics Knowledge
- Patience
- A Steady Hand
 
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gazp11 months ago
Great tutorial! I have a kind of irrelevant question though.
I am trying to fix my gameboy color (it has a broken power switch). I do not want to desolder the old switch as it is a tough job for me, all i want is to "bypass" it by soldering a new custom switch and sticking it on the outside of the console. My question is, which of the four pads of the switch (1, c, 2 and 3 ) should be wired to the new switch and how should they be wired? I mean i can't figure out how the switch works and i am afraid that wiring the wrong combination will destroy my device. I asked because i saw on the tutorial that you have already tested how the switch works. thanks in advance!!
skittlespider (author)  gazp11 months ago
Thank you! I am glad you liked my instructable.

As to the question you asked, I am not exactly sure how to answer it. Really I just figured my switch problem out through trial and error.

I would assume that bypassing the power switch would not be too difficult. Maybe try attaching some wire to the parts of the switch that connect to the main board. Then you might be able to simply attach the wires to the same spots on the new switch.

Not sure if any of that helped or not, but it could be worth a shot.
gazp skittlespider10 months ago
thanks for the reply!! There is no danger of harming the device with trial end error though? I mean if you connect two pads that you werent supposed to connect? And if theres no danger, should i check the pads (1, c, 2 and three ) in pairs?

Thanks again!!
skittlespider (author)  gazp10 months ago
I won't make any promises about the danger, because I may have just gotten lucky. (On another project I did short out a fuse on a SNES, and that was no fun). However, considering the amount of modifications that I made to my GameBoy Color, those things seem pretty well built.

I think I tested one area/button at a time, but testing in pairs might work too.
gazp skittlespider10 months ago
thanks again for the quick response. I clicked on the picture that shows how the switch is wired and i see you have written: "This is the broken power switch with the wires running into it. I figured out that the top pin and the third one down were what made the switch work." . So, you mean it is pins one and three? The pins from left to right are 1, c, 2 and 3. I am close to the solution due to your precious and helping tutorial :)
Just an idea, but have you thought for a less permanent project to modify an existing case and integrating the gameboy and gameboy advanced sp onto the outside of a case for say, a 3DS to get the same effect but not permanent?
IvanoBlood1 year ago
oh okay. thats good to hear, i'll keep looking for your next part of this project, Excellent work. Greetings.
IvanoBlood1 year ago
Hello, first i'd like to say that this is a really great idea, i know this is from 2 years ago, but, you still in the project? or it's done?
skittlespider (author)  IvanoBlood1 year ago
Thanks!

Sadly I ran into a major technical issue and the project has been sitting unfinished for a few years now. I do plan to try and finish it up though. I think I have figured out a solution.
ashannon12 years ago
excuse me, not trying to be rude, but wouldn't it just be easier to buy a gameboy advanced, and a 3/DS and play original/color/advanced gameboy games on the GBA, and the DS games on the 3DS?
skittlespider (author)  ashannon12 years ago
Yes, that would be A LOT easier.

But I was trying for something that is useful and cool instead. (Plus I had never seen anyone do anything like this before.)

Trust me, the method you suggested would be easier to manage and would work just as well.
Yes! Pure genius! More gaming menageries from the man! Just off topic, but what did you do with the Gameboy "guts"?
skittlespider (author)  mechaninja2 years ago
Thanks mechaninja!

I actually still have the GameBoy guts in a ziplock bag. I couldn't bring myself to throw away a working GameBoy, so I am keeping it for potential future projects.
steam punk gameboy? wooden casing with brass fittings? if youve ever seen warehouse 13 then like the talky box thingy style. just a suggestion.
Do I feel a case mod coming?
skittlespider (author)  musick_082 years ago
Could be. I want to do something cool with it.
Hmm, what if you vacuum formed and created your own case for it? There are also a lot of hacks for them. The possibilities are endless
Could have tried wiring a third screen and all the needed buttons off the ds board for the game boy games. might have slimmed it down a bit.
*never mind, re-read the beginning, I thought it was supposed to be mainly a case mod, not a case+hardware mod.
skittlespider (author)  tinmankingkinney2 years ago
Yeah, I bet that idea would work out. It would definitely be smaller.

It did start out as a case mod though.
achris43213 years ago
You did great on this but wouldnt it be great with the bemo mod because of space?
just wondering,could you remove the DS gameboy cartridge slot and put one from a gameboy advance in? If so,you could play gameboy color and originals like that. Because the DS gmaeboy slot has plastic tabs on the sides and block them.
Haha. Now you should try putting in a 3DS!
skittlespider (author)  MrMistermister3 years ago
Yeah, maybe next time.
pokekris993 years ago
I might mix this idea with the DIY Beemo idea.
Beemo Video Game:http://www.instructables.com/id/Adventure-Times-BMO-Roommate-GBC-Mod/#step1
skittlespider (author)  pokekris993 years ago
Sounds pretty ambitious. Good luck to you!

I came across that Beemo a while back, he did an amazing job on that!
Wheres the second screen for the DS?
skittlespider (author)  MrMistermister3 years ago
Both screens are on the inside. You can see how the DS portion looks in the frist picture on Step 5.

The screen on the front is the GameBoy Color
Ohhh okay I see how it works :D
skittlespider (author)  MrMistermister3 years ago
Yeah, when I find the time to finish the project, there will be more DS related pictures. This portion of the project was focused more on the GameBoy Color parts.
Drigax3 years ago
Hmm...ever consider using a GameBoy advance or GameBoy micro instead of the more bulky GameBoy color?
You wouldn't have had to worry about the real estate as much, and the only major issues would be wiring a cartridge slot to the exterior of the GameBoy shell.
skittlespider (author)  Drigax3 years ago
I will have to keep that in mind if I try something like this again.

I was thinking about using the entire GameBoy Advance SP (instead of just the light from one) and a DSi to make the unit smaller. Plus the screens would all look a lot better quality too.
pandadude3 years ago
I gotta agree with you, when I got my DS a few years back I was so annoyed that I couldn't play Gameboy color games.
skittlespider (author)  pandadude3 years ago
Yeah, I think more video games systems should offer backwards compatibility.
mwwdesign3 years ago
Great! Maybe use a flat strip of metal and curve it, instead of using cardboard, then 'fill' over it with plastic strips?

skittlespider (author)  mwwdesign3 years ago
Yeah, that could work.
zack2473 years ago
well i cant say that you chose form over function, but it still gets my vote for creativity!
skittlespider (author)  zack2473 years ago
Thanks for the vote. I thought it was a pretty creative idea too.