PiBoy handheld turns Raspberry Pi 5 into an overpowered, color Game Boy

Experimental Pi's PiBoy DMGx
(Image credit: Experimental Pi / Pexels)

Cramming the Raspberry Pi 5 into a very convincing Nintendo Game Boy case is some feat of cooling technology, but it seems that Experimental Pi has managed it in the form of the $149 PiBoy DMGx.

Experimental Pi's PiBoy DMGx

(Image credit: Experimental Pi)

The case is very much a homage to the original Nintendo Gameboy. The form factor screams Game Boy, but this case also has space for the Raspberry Pi 5 (or Pi 3 / 4 via an optional adapter) and a 4500 mAh LiPo battery.

The Game Boy had only two buttons for input (A and B), Select and Start, and a d-pad. But PiBoy DMGx has six buttons (Z, Y, X, C, B, A) an analog stick and d-pad. Around the back we have L and R shoulder buttons, just above the battery compartment. The number of buttons hints to the number of systems that this unit can support. Z and C suggest N64, but we are missing one button for full compatibility. Gamecube is a possibility given the button selection.

The large, 3.5-inch LCD screen shares a design aesthetic to the original Game Boy, rounded corners, and a severely rounded bottom right corner. But that is where the similarities end. The PiBoy DMGx has a full-color screen, versus the monochrome screen of the Game Boy (which was awesome in daylight, but really bad in low light). 

The Raspberry Pi 5 is sandwiched inside the case and we can see the USB and Ethernet ports at the top of the case. We can see cooling vents on the rear and a quick glance of the features shows that it comes with a cooling fan, probably something similar to Argon's THRML Active Cooler

At the bottom is a stereo headphone output and a USB C port for charging and firmware updates. By firmware updates, we assume this is for Experimental Pi's custom PCB. We wonder if this will be based on the Raspberry Pi Pico's RP2040, as this chip is being used in a plethora of retro gaming consoles and projects.

Being based on the Raspberry Pi 5, the PiBoy DMGx can emulate many different consoles and home computers from the late 20th and early 21st century. Of course it can emulate the Nintendo Game Boy, any 8 or 16-bit console is easy for the Raspberry Pi 5. 

Sony's PlayStation 1, Sega's Dreamcast and the Nintendo 64 should be easy to emulate given the power of the Pi 5. Later consoles, such as Sony's PlayStation 2 and PSP can be emulated with the Pi 5. How well it performs depends on the game. Some run better than others. You should be able to emulate some Gamecube and DS games, but we wouldn't push passed that era without a much more powerful machine.

Right now, the PiBoy DMGx is not listed for sale, but a $150 price tag is reference on the page, so it is either out of stock, or not yet released. 

Les Pounder

Les Pounder is an associate editor at Tom's Hardware. He is a creative technologist and for seven years has created projects to educate and inspire minds both young and old. He has worked with the Raspberry Pi Foundation to write and deliver their teacher training program "Picademy".

  • JSmith555
    Don't buy one of these! The company behind them has awful support, hardware issues as far as you can see, and the company is known to disappear for weeks on end, aswell as forgetting orders