This 33-year-old classical console has been used for various experiments over the decades. From online multiplayer to bitcoin mining, perhaps it’s because of its versatility, there seems to be nothing that Game Boy cannot do. He had already caused a commotion in the last month of 2021 when he equipped a Game Boy with a WiFi function, but that was just the start.
A determined coder and a hardware aficionado, Sebastian Staacks managed to make Grand Theft Auto 5 run on an original Nintendo Game Boy. This is nothing short of amazing, that console can fit literally in the palm of one’s hand.
It’s appropriate to call him a hardware enthusiast at this point due to his awe-inspiring works. There Oughta Be, his popular blog, is chock-full of technical wonders from smart garage doors to an automated dehumidifier, a mold eradicator. He likes to experiment with all sorts of hardware. Not long ago, he started poking into the gaming scene by tinkering with Game Boy.
Recently, Staacks has injected the gaming scene with a dose of nostalgia. Game Boy enthusiasts and gamers alike were left in awe when he managed to create a WiFi Game Boy cartridge leading to him being able to stream the latest games on the device. He got Grand Theft Auto 5 and Doom running on it as well. He went on to describe the process in his extensive blog.
Staacks Became The Game Boy Whisperer
Staacks states, “A few weeks ago I created a Game Boy cartridge with built-in WiFi,”. He continued, “Now I taught it to stream video and play games—in full resolution. At 20 fps. On an unmodified original Game Boy.”
My WiFI cartridge on the @analogue Pocket.
It works right away, but with a small timing problem: Those horizontal glitches are not present on the original #gameboy. Still, I am very impressed that the Pocket is so close to the original.https://t.co/tBC05jGYBP pic.twitter.com/sU9B2BikO2
— Sebastian Staacks (@diconx) January 15, 2022
Staacks talked about the evolution of this project, “When I presented my WiFi Game Boy cartridge a few weeks ago, I only had very few simple text-based demos. This post and especially the accompanying video now deliver more. I might have gone a bit too far, as I managed to stream full-resolution video and even play games via WiFi”.
Although he went on to explain every nook and cranny, it’s too complex for an average gamer, like me. It’s unlikely that many will replicate this amazing endeavor. There is a YouTube video by Staacks for those who dare to venture into this rabbit hole. The video is presumably easier than following the instruction manual.
The video begins when Staacks is exhibiting game demos on the Game Boy. It is a technical showcase running on 1989 hardware, that even at its birth was being unfairly ridiculed as out of date. As expected of that classical device, the game doesn’t look the most beautiful when it comes to graphics. It boasters a complete 20 FPS, so that is admirable for what it is.
Staacks goes on to express his triumph while sounding like a villain. He says:
“With this new demo, many other demos almost become obsolete. I can display anything and I can control anything that can be displayed on and controlled by my PC. Of course, the interface and image are almost unusable this way, so some dedicated implementations might still be interesting. And also, I did not touch audio here, which unfortunately was a big oversight by me when designing this cartridge.”
Grand Theft Auto 5 is the main focus, it’s a big feat to get an open-world game running on a classical console. Staacks‘ WiFi cartridge came with instructions for others who were daring to build their own. One of his followers ended up going for choosing the ‘satan hunter simulator’, also called Doom.
— Jesse Doherty (@systemoflevers) January 11, 2022
I can’t help but find it ironic how most gaming PCs can’t run GTA 5, yet a little handheld device managed to do it. Perhaps we can force our old PCs to run the game too. The most efficient way I can think of is to decrease the quality of the game as much as possible through mods.
On the whole, this feat is quite an inspiration for gamers that are willing to investigate their dust-covered old consoles. Not to long ago, a user ran the original Tomb Raider on the Game Boy Advance. It may incline others to tinker around with the hardware and try to create cartridges or gadgets of similar nature. What do you think of this development? Let us know in the comments below!