Raspberry Pi RP2040 spotted in super tiny unofficial Game Boy handheld

Raspberry Pi
(Image credit: Elliot Coll)

The compact resolution of retro games makes them an ideal candidate to land in tiny handheld projects like this super small Game Boy handheld, shared by maker Elliot Coll over at YouTube. According to Coll, he was looking through Aliexpress when he came across this extra small retro gaming emulator handheld that appears to feature a Raspberry Pi RP2040 microprocessor.

Coll explains that the product listing appeared to feature a custom PCB that, upon close inspection, appears to have an RP2040. The listing was for around $85 (USD) and came with very little in the way of instructions. The device sports a typical D-pad as well as A, B, Start and Select buttons.

The original Game Boy processor was known as the Sharp LR35902 and it could reach up to 4.19MHz. It's not surprising to see an RP2040 behind the operation, as it can reach up to 133 MHz. That said, it's unclear exactly what software is used to handle the emulation or ROM files.

The cartridge slot on the back works as a microSD card slot and is where all your (presumably legally obtained) ROMs are loaded. It uses a LiPo battery for power, so a LiPo charging module is a must to make it usable in a portable sense. The closest thing we've seen to this before is a Thumby, which is also RP2040-based and resembles an original Game Boy.

Although it isn't clear exactly what operating system or firmware the device is running, we can see a few menu options with Chinese text. It took a little trial and error for Coll to sort out the input options and how to navigate the menu. Overall, the unit works well as a retro gaming handheld. However, it's so small that Coll had difficulty seeing the games on the tiny screen. If you want to get a closer look at this Raspberry Pi project and see it in action, check out the video shared on YouTube by Elliot Coll.

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.

  • usertests
    That looks smaller than a Game Boy Micro. Retro gaming for ants.
  • domdfcoding
    A dump of the firmware (easy with an RP2040) should provode some hints as to what it's running.
  • Cralex
    I have one of these, and I was able to poke around with picotool.
    Here is the output of picotool info -a:
    Program Information
    features: USB stdin / stdout
    binary start: 0x10000000
    binary end: 0x10084914

    Fixed Pin Information

    Build Information
    sdk version: 1.5.1
    pico_board: pico
    boot2_name: boot2_w25q080
    build date: Sep 26 2023
    build attributes: Release

    Device Information
    flash size: 2048K
    ROM version: 3I was also able to dump the firmware. I believe it is likely to be a fork of Pico-GB by YouMakeTech on github, although I'm not positive. I have not been able to find the codebase for this specific firmware yet.
    Firmware Dump