How many grown-up hardware hackers whiled away their youth playing Tetris or Mario on their Game Boy? Fond memories for many, but unless you are lucky your Game Boy will probably be long gone. Not for [Gautier Hattenberger] though, he had an unexpected find at his parents’ house; his Game Boy Classic, unloved and forgotten for all those years. Fortunately for us his first thought was whether he could use it as a controller for a drone, and better still he’s shared his work for all of us to see.
Back in the day a would-be Game Boy hacker would have been deterred by Nintendo’s legal defences against game piracy, but with the benefit of a couple of decades the handheld console’s hardware is now an open book. Unfortunately for [Gautier], he seems to be the first to use one as a flight controller, so he had to plough his own furrow. His Game Boy Game Link serial port feeds an Arduino/FTDI combination that converts Game Link to USB, which is then sent to his laptop on which a small piece of software converts them to commands for the drone through the Paparazzi UAV framework.
All his code is in a GitHub repository, and he’s posted a video of his work which you can see below the break. For a child of the early ’90s, the mere thought that their handheld console could do this would have been mindblowing!
Perhaps unsurprisingly most of the Nintendo Game Boy hacks we’ve featured over the years have had a gaming flavour, so this is the first Game Boy flight controller. The hack we desperately wanted in about 1991 was a Game Boy oscilloscope cartridge, and though it seems that’s another one yet to be conquered we have featured the reverse: an oscilloscope as Game Boy display.
Thanks [Piotr] for the tip.