This modder turned a Game Boy Advance into a portable emulation station for playing SNES, PS and Mega Drive games


In short: A YouTuber and modder named Rodrigo Alfonso used his impressive modding and hacking skills to make a Game Boy Advance work on Mega Drive, PlayStation, and SNES games. To do this, he used custom cartridges featuring a Raspberry Pi 3 running an emulator.

Nintendo’s Game Boy Advance has always been one of the most flexible consoles. From speakers and displays to case and pay-per-view, there are plenty of custom components to choose from if you want to upgrade the handheld console. However, none of these upgrades compare to what modder Rodrigo Alfonso did.

In a video posted to his YouTube channel, Alfonso gives us a quick step-by-step procedure of how he modified a cartridge and his GBA to run non-Game Boy games. He also has published a demo showing a few games running on the modified console, including PlayStation’s Crash Bandicoot: Warped and Spyro: Year of the Dragon; Battletoads and Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars for the SNES; and Snow Bros from Megadrive.

In short, Alfonso upgraded the 20-year-old 16-bit GBA to a 32-bit console via overloaded cartridges. For the most part, the GBA was in stock, so to achieve this the modder made some heavily customized 3D printed cartridges and installed them with a Raspberry Pi 3 with RetroPie.

Games are rendered at a maximum resolution of 240×160, but users can scale it down to 120×80 to increase the frame rate. To fill the GBA screen while showing half-resolution games, users can use a 2x tiling technique or play with the black borders around. Alfonso also states that those who like the look of older CRT monitors can use scan lines to create artificial black lines between each row of frames. The video stream is sent through the Game Boy Advance link port.

For those interested in technical details, Alfonso Explain its impressive feat in depth on GitHub.

Masthead Credit: Jose vicente


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