Anyone who remembers the original Nintendo Game Boy, which first shipped 30 years ago, will be fully aware of what a compact miracle it represented. Compressing an 8-bit game console into a durable, mobile design, the Game Boy seemed like an unsurpassable technical achievement at a time when a “portable” computer could weigh 16 pounds.
Well, time — and miniaturization — sure move on, as Houston-based hobbyist and animator Sage Hansen’s latest project makes abundantly clear. We’ve covered Hansen’s impressive work before. For his newest creation, 31-year-old Hansen has found a way to compress an entire game console inside an original Game Boy cartridge. That includes four buttons, speaker, display, battery, power button, and micro-controller with interchangeable games. While it’s not quite as powerful as the original Game Boy (less storage and worse sound), it’s still a pretty darn impressive tech demo.
“I loved playing the original Game Boy as a kid,” Hansen told Digital Trends. “But technology has advanced so much in that time that I had the idea that it might be possible to design a video game console that entirely fits inside [a single Game Boy] cartridge. I designed the circuit board layout and added the smallest electronics I could find. The Attiny85 microcontroller was the key to all of this. The console will play multiple games since each chip can hold a different game.”
Hansen said that he was inspired by his efforts by the multiple miniature homemade consoles he saw online. To the best of his knowledge, however, no one previously attempted this feat. “It seemed like a really fun and new idea,” he continued. “It was not at all easy for me, but I’m so happy with the end result.”
Hansen carefully documented the creation process and is putting together a comprehensive video showing the development of his miniature Game Boy (Game Baby?). He plans to share this to his 3DSage YouTube channel in the coming weeks — so if you’re interested in following in his footsteps you might want to subscribe so as to be reminded when it drops.
“[The original Game Boy] was before smartphones and the internet so the ability to play games anywhere meant everything to me,” he reminisced. “It was great for long road trips and vacations.”
Hey, if the kids of 1989 could have only seen us on the bus with a teeny-tiny games console like Hansen’s latest creation it would have blown their minds!