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Game Boy Emulation PI

Posted: Wed Jul 02, 2014 6:15 pm
by Samglo
So I know there are a lot of posts about portable Pi's and Portable gaming stations but I figured I would post this before I started spending money and get it all wrong anyway.
So the idea is that I want to build a postable raspberry pi capable of emulating my old game boy games, ideally it needs to be in a small form factor and resemble an original game boy, but i am flexible in its appearance.
What I have so far:
- The Pi.
-Soldering Iron and deSoldering Kit.

What Im thinking:
- This for the screen: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00H ... EKEXULHMZR
- This for the power supply: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00J ... UFHLIHCEI0

What I am having trouble with:
- The Buttons/D-Pad, I know ideally I need 6 buttons and a D-Pad to emulate the console but I don't know where to beginne.
- The case, Should I try and build my own using a project box or should I use some CAD software and have one 3D printed?

I took an electronics course at school but that was a while ago, but I have a fairly good soldering skill. And I have dabbled in Python programming but I have never done more than a few basic tutorials.
This project would mean a lot to me, mainly from the nostalgia perspective, I recently found my own game boy colour and started playing some of my old games, basically I would like to be able to play all of the on a nice screen with a quick and easy way of switching between them. Any help is appreciated. Thanks for reading.

Re: Game Boy Emulation PI

Posted: Thu Jul 03, 2014 1:45 am
by Shadow Link
There's two popular ways of adding buttons:

1) Use some buttons and a Teensy, which enable it to act as a custom USB keyboard
2) Wire the buttons directly to GPIO and use Adafruit's retrogame utility, no extra hardware required

As for the buttons, they could be anything from simple tactile switches on perfboard, to a PCB with silicone pads. You could even hack up a cheap controller for the board.

There's actually a project page on Adafruit that might be the perfect guide for you: PiGRRL. Keep in mind, it only uses a D-pad and 2 buttons, plus start/select. If you want to add more, you'll have to modify the STL file they provide, solder the additional buttons, and do a little editing to the retrogame utility. It's a good place to start though! Also of interest is Ben Heck's Portable Pi. Here's Part 1 and Part 2.

Re: Game Boy Emulation PI

Posted: Thu Jul 03, 2014 5:09 am
by Samglo
Thanks for the quick and helpful reply, I will check the videos out now :-)

Re: Game Boy Emulation PI

Posted: Thu Jul 03, 2014 5:44 am
by j0z0r
Thanks for that PiGRRL link Shadow Link, that's something I have been wanting for a while now; a good 3D printed case. I hope they sell the cases separately, as I don't think I'm gonna have a 3D printer anytime soon.
As for OP: Great choice of screen. I have been using some of the cheap backup LCD from Ebay, and they don't last. Maybe I just have bad luck. As for cases, you could sacrifice an old Gameboy, someone has made a mod with about all of them now so you can google around and see how they did it for their particular application. I'm doing a somewhat similar project, more like a backpack retro console with screen built in, and I think I'm going to use one of those small tackle boxes. Easy to get in and out of, but waterproof once sealed. Whatever you decide to do, keep us updated. I enjoy seeing these builds

Re: Game Boy Emulation PI

Posted: Thu Jul 03, 2014 5:50 pm
by NBonaparte
Just a note, PiTFTs don't work with emulators using OpenGL ES (which includes almost all emulators). PiGRRL (https://learn.adafruit.com/pigrrl-raspberry-pi-gameboy) and Cupcade (https://learn.adafruit.com/cupcade-rasp ... t/overview) only run MAME and NES, so if you want to have a large selection of emulators, I would suggest using composite (e.g. 3.5" LCD) or HDMI (this is larger and quite expensive but looks really nice: http://www.adafruit.com/products/1928).

If you want a lot of emulators, RetroPie (http://blog.petrockblock.com/retropie/) is a good choice.

Re: Game Boy Emulation PI

Posted: Fri Jul 04, 2014 1:06 am
by toxibunny
you can buy gameboy cases from ebay - much cheaper than having one 3d printed. also, there are a few pi-in-a-gameboy projects online, if you check google...

Re: Game Boy Emulation PI

Posted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 7:26 am
by mrpi64

Re: Game Boy Emulation PI

Posted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 8:57 pm
by lithium630
NBonaparte wrote:Just a note, PiTFTs don't work with emulators using OpenGL ES (which includes almost all emulators). PiGRRL (https://learn.adafruit.com/pigrrl-raspberry-pi-gameboy) and Cupcade (https://learn.adafruit.com/cupcade-rasp ... t/overview) only run MAME and NES, so if you want to have a large selection of emulators, I would suggest using composite (e.g. 3.5" LCD) or HDMI (this is larger and quite expensive but looks really nice: http://www.adafruit.com/products/1928).

If you want a lot of emulators, RetroPie (http://blog.petrockblock.com/retropie/) is a good choice.
Doh! I just ordered the PiTFT for a similar project. I was going to use a 3.5" LCD but I thought the PiTFT would look more original. Anyone know what systems MAME can emulate on the Pi?

Re: Game Boy Emulation PI

Posted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 7:22 pm
by mclaren212
http://www.xodustech.com/projects/raspb ... boy-pocket tutorial on how to make a game boy pocket hope it helps

Re: Game Boy Emulation PI

Posted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 6:22 pm
by Samglo
Thanks for all the feedback everyone, I am well and truly under way with my portable emulation device, my next question for you all is that I want the device to as portable as possible and still run all my old gameboy games, at the current stage I have the pi set up with the portable power pack running smoothly, I also have RetroPi and Emulation Station installed and it runs ok, the emulators are powerful enough for my needs and Emulation station makes navigating everything easy, but now I need a screen for my device, I assume TFT is out of the question because of the lack of OpenGl, so my question is does a Smaller than 5" HDMI Screen exist? or would composite be easier? and 'NBonaparte' screen subjection is nice but a 5" screen would mean a lot bigger device?

Re: Game Boy Emulation PI

Posted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 2:37 am
by NBonaparte
A 3.5" LCD would probably suit your needs the best (maybe something like this: http://www.amazon.com/3-5-Inch-TFT-Moni ... uctDetails).

Re: Game Boy Emulation PI

Posted: Sat Aug 02, 2014 7:53 pm
by Kaneyb
Would someone be able to make me one And I will obviously pay them the amount for the components and their time