The Pi-Pocket is a Gameboy Pocket with a Raspberry Pi inside
Raspberry Pi and retro gaming enthusiast Travis Brown has put these two good things together within the transparent chassis of an old Nintendo Gameboy Pocket handheld console. Thus he created the Pi-Pocket. Brown had to leap over various hardware hurdles to achieve the portable emulation console feat but the results look great.
Starting by looking at the hardware, Brown gutted an old Gameboy Pocket, sanding down the inner backplate and removing structure that used to house ye olde cartridges but making room for an SD-card slot. Into the chassis he fitted a Raspberry Pi Model B, a flat Li-Ion rechargeable battery, Colour LCD, and a Mini Audio Amplifier. Brown added that the joypad and buttons were interfaced with the Pi via Teensy 2.0 to provide simulated keyboard input over USB.
As it came the Raspberry Pi circuit board was too big and featured ports of little use for a console emulator system. Lots of ports and connectors were removed to make the Pi as minimal as possible for the job. Snips included the digital display and camera connectors, GPIO header, Ethernet, HDMI, composite video, USB ports and the analogue audio output.
The original Nintendo citcuit board was cut down to just the part that provided the input signals from the buttons and joypad. For display purposes a 2.5-inch 480 x 234 pixel screen was sourced, a notable improvement on the 160 x 144 greyscale screen of the 16 year old Gameboy system.
The Pi-Pocket goes beyond offering just a full colour upgrade it is actually a multi-console emulator thanks to the popular Raspberry Pi emulator front-end known as RetroPie. The portable system can run Linux ported titles such as Doom and Duke Nukem as well as Gameboy, NES, Sega Master System, Game Gear console games with aplomb. We are told that the Pi-Pocket can provide over three hours of portable gaming. The total build costs including any old or malfunctioning Nintendo Gameboy Pocket, Raspberry Pi, screen, Teensy 2, battery and 32GB SD card adds up to about US$140.