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Raspberry Pi Pico GameBoy 🕹️

Make your own GameBoy with a Raspberry Pi Pico and start coding retro games in MicroPython or C++

Today we are making the Raspberry Pi Pico GameBoy, a DIY game console that looks like the original Nintendo Game Boy released in 1989! But the comparison stops here.

For less than $20, you can make your own game console and start coding games! Retro games are probably the funniest way to learn how to program!

The Pi Pico GameBoy is a DIY game console based on the $4 Raspberry Pi Pico microcontroller. The Raspberry Pi Pico GameBoy can be programmed in MicroPython, a special version of Python made for Microcontrollers, or in C++ for better performance.

The screen is a 1.54-inch LCD with a resolution of 240×240 pixels and 65K colors. There a 6 buttons: 4 for the DPAD + 2 action buttons. The buttons are 6x6x6mm micro push buttons. The sound is provided by a simple piezo buzzer.

The case and the buttons have been designed in Fusion 360, a 3d modeling software from AutoDesk. The case is 3D printed and is about 3:4 of the original Nintendo Game Boy: It fits nicely in the pocket! Do you remember how big the original Nintendo Game Boy was?!

The buttons are kept at a 1:1 scale otherwise they become too small for “old kids”!

Raspberry Pi Pico GameBoy Specs

Pi Pico GameBoyOriginal Game Boy (1989)
Size111x68x25mm (3:4 Scale)148x90x32mm
Weight85g220g
Screen1.54 inch LCD IPS2.6 inch LCD STN
Display size30x30mm47x43mm
Resolution240×240 pixels160×144 pixels
Color support65K Colors4 shades of “gray”
PowerUSB4xAA batteries
SoundPiezo BuzzerSpeaker + headphone
InputsEight-way control pad
2 action buttons (A, B)
Eight-way control pad
4 action buttons (A, B, Start, Select)
Volume potentiometer
Contrast potentiometer
Power switch
CPURaspberry Pi Pico
RP2040 133MHz dual ARM Cortex-M0+ cores
Custom 8-bit Sharp LR35902
4.19Mhz
Memory264KB RAM + 2MB Flash8KB internal RAM + up to 128KB game cartridge RAM + 8KB RAM for LCD display

What you need to make the Raspberry Pi Pico GameBoy

In order to make the Raspberry Pi Pico GameBoy, you will need the parts below.

1xDownload .STL files for the Raspberry Pi Pico GameBoy on Cults
1xRaspberry Pi Pico
1xWaveshare 1.54inch LCD Display Module
IPS, 65K RGB Colors, 240×240 resolution, SPI interface, Embedded ST7789 Driver
6xMicro Push Button Switch, Momentary Tactile Tact Touch, 6x6x6 mm, 4 pins
1x9042 Mini Piezo Buzzer Speaker 3.3V
1xSolderless Breadboard
1xSolderable Breadboard
1xDupont Wires Assorted Kit (Male to Female + Male to Male + Female to Female)
1xPreformed Breadboard Jumper Wires
SUNLU PLA+ 3D Printer Filament
Grey, Red, and Black or the colors of your choice!
4x
4x
4x
M2x4 mm bolts
M2x6mm bolts
M2x8mm bolts
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Slicing the parts

I printed these parts in Sunlu PLA+. My print settings (Ultimaker Cura):

  • Layer Height: 0.25 mm
  • Line Width: 0.4 mm
  • Wall Thickness: 0.8 mm (=2 walls)
  • Top/Bottom Thickness: 0.75 mm (=3 layers)
  • Infill Density: 20%
  • Infill Pattern: Cubic
  • Printing Temperature: 230 deg C
  • Build Plate Temperature: 70 deg C
  • Enable Print Cooling: Enabled
  • Fan Speed: 100%
  • Initial Fan Speed: 0%
  • Regular Fan Speed at Layer: 2
  • Generate Support: Disabled
Recommended print orientation

Electronics

Raspberry Pi Pico Game Boy Pin Assignments
Raspberry Pi Pico Game Boy Circuit Diagram

Assembly

See video above

Games for the Raspberry Pi Pico GameBoy

Download the source code for the Pi Pico GameBoy on GitHub

Makes

Change Log

  • 20220322: Initial Release (v39)