A hacker makes a cartridge to connect to wifi

A few days after celebrating the tenth anniversary of the PS Vita, the Game Boy recalls its status as a cult portable console, and offers itself a new lease of life thanks to the trick of a hacker eager for knowledge.

While the period is peculiar to idleness and other backlogs from the back of the sofa, some remember the terrible fate that awaited the technophile children and adolescents of the late 1990s, deprived of their wired connection to the Internet when they left. on holiday. Fortunately, the Game Boy was there to break the monotony of car journeys. But today, surfing what was called at the time “the web” directly on the most monochrome of portable consoles is no longer a dream.

We say wifi, suddenly?

Because no one is required to do the impossible, a hacker by the name of Sebastian Staacks has just unveiled the project on which he worked “for a long time”: a Game Boy cartridge that allows you to connect to the Internet in wifi . In a (very) long article explaining his approach and the operation of his invention, he immediately specifies the limits of the latter:

This is a basic 32KB Game Boy cartridge with an ESP8266 microcontroller to capture WiFi. With it, you can access the Internet or your local network on your Game Boy, or send data from it. Esince the ESP8266 can do a lot of preprocessing for the console, a Twitter client is just as possible as a Reddit browser. If you implement one. And it’s not a generic browser, but you can implement services on the ESP8266 relatively easily and write simple code, running on the Game Boy as an interface.

For now, the Wifi cartridge allows you to send messages and consult any page of the Wikipedia encyclopedia, which is already remarkable for a hardware released 32 years ago!

Boy, what a surprise!

The most tech-savvy and lovers of brain juice with pulp will be able to feast on the reflection of Sebastian Staacks, transcribed step by step: from bus and communication problems between the different elements of his cartridge to the conversion of data via the CPU. everything goes through the careful writing of the code.

Better: the hacker publishes the complete list of ingredients necessary for the development of this recipe in order to reproduce it at home! Notice to amateurs: to manufacture your Game Boy Wifi cartridge, around thirty components are necessary. Fortunately, the code can be downloaded directly at this address. We leave the last word to the courageous craftsman:

In the end, I just wanted to prove to myself that I understood the old hardware well enough, and open it up to modern tools. In terms of utility, all newer devices provide better results. And it must be said, the Game Boy screen is so bad that it is difficult to use it. But I hadn’t had so much fun working on a project in a long time, and pulling out the console made me smile.

What class, right? what do you think of this amazing project? Let us know your retro thoughts in the comments below!