Modify a GameBoy Advance to run PlayStation games

The Game Boy Advance is for many the best portable console that Nintendo has made to this day. It is also a classic in the world of modding of consoles. We thought there was practically everything with it, but a user named Rodrigo Alfonso on YouTube surprised us all recently by showing a Game Boy Advance unit capable of running playstation games first generation.

Improving the perfect Nintendo console

The original Game Boy Advance is hardly faulty. its design it is compact and fits in virtually any pocket. At the same time, it is a console ergonomic that fits well in the hands and is really comfortable. Most people who modify consoles focus solely on their only shortcoming, which is the screen. They replace it with a backlit one and that’s it. But apparently, to Rodrigo Afonso it seemed a small thing and decided to go a step further. Without further modifying the console, he wondered if it would be possible to make his Game Boy Advance run slightly more ambitious games. And of course, he succeeded.

To achieve his feat, Rodrigo Alfonso programmed a software called GBA Remote Play, which is available on their GitHub page. Then he designed a plastic casing where he could fit a Raspberry Pi, a battery and a modified cartridge. The Raspberry Pi is powered by the battery and runs, how could it be otherwise, RetroPie. The doctored cartridge acts as a bridge for the console to boot via Cable Link. And it is that hackers discovered relatively recently that this port has a vulnerability that allows both boot the console from the same to send a 240 × 160 pixel video stream. A real genius.

Game Boy Advance as a device streaming

Set works as a service streaming, very similar to Sony’s PS Remote Play, only that, in this case, the streaming device is glued to the console. Its software is the key to the whole matter, since in addition to communicating both parties, it is in charge of compress video and audio from the Raspberry Pi and send it in real time to the Game Boy Advance through the Link cable port. When the player responds by pressing the buttons on the console, GBA Remote Play interprets that “input”, translates it so that the emulator understands the order it has to do. The action is then processed and the video is compressed back to the console. With this system, the Game Boy Advance is able to play any game that it can run on RetroPie, whatever the platform. Its creator shows some examples with games of PSX, SNES and Mega Drive.

If you are interested in this experiment and want to do it on your own, you are in luck. Rodrigo Afonso has published a guide both on GitHub and a tutorial on YouTube so you can create your own Game Boy Advance with Remote Play. The video is quite fast paced and the process has many steps, but it is well detailed in the guide that you have published in writing.

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