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Nintendo’s Efforts Beat, With A Keychain-Sized Functional Game Boy

Nintendo itself has played its part with devices like Game Boy Micro in the past, but now an intrepid modder has just taken the whole miniturisation thing to an extreme with a Game Boy that’s so small it’ll happily fit on a keychain.

This is likely the world’s smallest fully-functional Game Boy Color, able to play all the games using the tiny direction pad and buttons, with onboard display and battery as well as in the original form factor. This is an incredible hack that presents a tour de force in hardware and software. This will easily rank in the top 5 hacks you have seen this year.

Nintendo GameBoy keychain
Nintendo GameBoy

Making a ‘handheld’ gaming device of this size had both ironically large problems, both in software and hardware. On the hardware side, finding a screen small enough to fit in the constrained space and yet has enough pixels to match the GameBoy Color was like a wild goose chase. In the end, the Sprite settled for a 1-inch $3.80 OLED screen with a 96×64 resolution, quite lower than GBC’s 160×144. For the microcontroller, he opted for an ESP32 that has a dual-core 240 MHz processor and 512 KB of RAM, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

Sprite_TM had to play around with the device a bit in order to get it to run Game Boy emulator, GNUboy, on such limited hardware. At the end of the day though, the mini-handheld not only runs Game Boy games, but even the DOOM.

As a bonus, the little gaming device was able to run the DOOM, the ultimate test of whether something is a computer or not. Of course, the performance was nowhere near playable, but at least it runs. Almost ironically, it could play Witcher 3 just fine. Of course, that is just smoke and mirrors, as it was done by using a remote desktop accessed via VNC.

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