Rip and Tear With A Raspberry Pi Powered OG GameBoy

Raspberry Pi
(Image credit: Jeroen Domburg)

Jeroen Domburg from Sprites Mods has developed the ultimate Raspberry Pi-powered Game Boy handheld. The DMGPlus features a Raspberry Pi Zero W inside of an original Game Boy DMG-01 but the excitement doesn't end there. It can play games using original cartridges—even custom ones and, yes, that includes Doom.

Some of the best Raspberry Pi projects use original hardware and the DMGPlus project takes it to the extreme. We haven't seen too many projects that feature this much support for authentic components. From the outside, it looks 99% untouched save for a small change at the volume wheel. 

It uses the actual buttons, shell, link port and most impressively the original LCD screen. It can run on four AA batteries but Domburg also included an option for wired power via a barrel connector. Normal Game Boy cartridges can be used, so your classic games will work just like the original hardware, but put in one of Domburg's special cartridges and you can play the SNES classic Super Mario World, Sonic the Hedgehog for Sega's Genesis or play the PC classic Doom!

To pull off the project, Domburg created a custom 4-layer PCB to replace the motherboard inside the DMG-01. According to Domburg, it's essentially a drop-in replacement that doesn't require any wild shell modifications to fit.

An FPGA was necessary to develop the cartridge interface. It's responsible for the Nintendo logo and one of my favorite startup sound bites—ba-ding! Don't ask me to type out the startup sound for GameCube but on the subject of 3D platforms, the DMGPlus is capable of playing 3D titles using custom cartridges. In a video, Domburg shared an impressive playthrough demonstration of Doom on the handheld.

This project took years to complete but a full project breakdown is available for anyone looking to catch up on how the operation works in greater detail. In the meantime, we'll just be over here thumbing away at Tetris.

Ash Hill
Freelance News and Features Writer

Ash Hill is a Freelance News and Features Writer with a wealth of experience in the hobby electronics, 3D printing and PCs. She manages the Pi projects of the month and much of our daily Raspberry Pi reporting while also finding the best coupons and deals on all tech.