Game Boy Zero Guide Part 1

It took me a little while to start gathering parts for this guide, but I got my DMG-01 in the mail this week, so we can finally get this started!

This first part isn’t too technical, so there won’t be much of a writeup to accompany it.  Here are the tools I used (having a nice variety of Dremel bits helps a lot):


The process of drilling/dremeling/grinding everything is pretty time-consuming and tricky to do without messing up your case, so take your time!

And just to reiterate, if at all possible please get a BROKEN original Game Boy to use for this!  You’ll be essentially gutting it anyway, so if you use one that has a fried CPU, bad screen, etc. it will probably be cheaper and won’t ruin a perfectly good DMG-01.  🙂

This is about what you should have when you are done:

IMG_2263 IMG_2261

Don’t worry if the cuts on the battery compartment are a little rough.  Our battery door still works and will cover all that up anyway.  🙂

I hope this was helpful!  I set up forums today on the site, so if you have any questions or want to show off your work on this or any other project, stop by!

In the next guide I’ll show you how to cut out the parts you need on the controller board, how to add the X/Y buttons to it, how to tap into and wire it up to a Teensy, and how to program that.  At the end of that guide you’ll actually be able to plug in your Teensy to your computer and use the front half of the GBZ as a controller to test it!

Be sure to enter to win the one I’ll be making in these guides!

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  1. Yaniv
    April 18, 2016

    You are awesome. Thank you!!

  2. Jon
    April 18, 2016

    Great first video man! I’m so excited to see how you do the rest!

  3. CandyManCriminal
    April 18, 2016

    almost done with this step
    getting that battery area and the screen area out is STRESSFUL

    i nicked my face plate, too 🙁

    • April 18, 2016

      🙁 Sorry. Yeah, it is stressful – especially when you’re being recorded!

      • CandyManCriminal
        April 18, 2016

        on the upside
        other than my dremel bit getting melted to the case for a bit the button holes came out flawless ;D

    • Matty
      April 18, 2016

      They sell gameboy shells on amazon for around $15 U.S.

  4. Jeff
    April 18, 2016

    This is fantastic, thank you! Keep up the great work.

  5. chiz
    April 18, 2016

    Excellent first installment Wermy! Thanks! Looking forward to the next videos 🙂

    I wonder, in widening the screen bezel area, is it possible to leave about 1mm of the recessed plastic and put a screen protector very much like the original Game Boy? I feel that a thin acrylic sheet shaped like the original Game Boy screen protector should still fit without sacrificing much screen real estate.

    • April 18, 2016

      I actually had the same idea on the first one. 🙂 If I had a more precise way to cut a piece of acrylic I would totally do that! I tried it by hand though and it didn’t turn out great (to put it nicely).

  6. monoKuma
    April 18, 2016

    oh that’s so great!
    For all like me, who never did something similar, this will be a awsome 🙂
    Thanks so far and all that will be 😉

  7. george tsali
    April 18, 2016

    Amazing job!! I can’t wait for the next part!!

  8. Guido Santos Pereira
    April 18, 2016

    Instead of buying a Broken Gameboy, can’t you just get a Gameboy Shell? Or do we need the Board?

    • CandyManCriminal
      April 18, 2016

      some parts are needed from the inside

      • Guido Santos Pereira
        April 18, 2016

        Because I wanted to follow this Project.
        But I don’t know where to find a Broken GameBoy.

      • Steve
        April 22, 2016

        Which parts exactly?

  9. Yaniv
    April 18, 2016

    I have a bunch of Dremel bits, but none like the ones pictured. Could you let me know exactly which bits you used? I tried using one of them for the trigger part but it’s getting a little messy in there. Thanks!

      • Yaniv
        April 18, 2016

        Thanks for the quick reply! I probably should have just done that 😛 Thanks for the info, I’ll see what I can find to match em.

  10. kean.tran.86
    April 18, 2016

    Wermy your dremel skills are much better than mine! You made it look so smooth and easy (it was not). Was able to finish the 1st step unscathed but it was pretty nerve wracking. Also I’m not sure if this was mentioned but that plastic STINKS so for future note, will use in well ventilated area.

    • Yaniv
      April 19, 2016

      phew, thought it was just me with the stinky plastic!

  11. LemGambino
    April 18, 2016

    Hmm. I wonder if I can make this from my old, crappy yellow GB I have laying around…If it’s still around. Either way, thanks for posting this!

  12. Mario Marcio
    April 18, 2016

    Wonderful… I´ll certainly build mine and post the phots to you.. I´m anxious here for the part 2.
    You need to put the link for the parts (buttons) you used, or you could sell us the kit

  13. Mario Marcio
    April 18, 2016

    Yeah… this is really important, please make a list of all the parts / itens we´ll need to buy to be prepared to build this project following your videos.
    Long Life & Prosper !
    Mario Mario

      • Hugo
        April 25, 2016

        For the capacitor when I asked 33nF, seller asked me how many volts as they have a range.

        How many we need?

        Thank you

  14. Aravind Vinayakan
    April 19, 2016

    I’m not sure how much a broken gameboy costs, but another alternative is a replacement case from Kitsch-Bent. They only cost $15, and are designed to be identical on the inside as original DMG shells. If anyone is interested, I’ve posted a link below.

    • CandyManCriminal
      April 20, 2016

      except you need some of the gameboy internals

      • Aravind Vinayakan
        April 20, 2016

        That is an excellent point that I did not consider! Still, replacement housing is an option for those with cosmetically damaged DMG’s.

  15. DirtyBeagles
    April 20, 2016

    Thank you so much for these videos. I am trying to make one myself and there really has not been anyone putting as much effort as you are in helping others. Thanks! I cannot wait until the video screen section.

  16. April 20, 2016

    Thanks for this post and your fantastic project.

    Fatal error: Cannot use object of type stdClass as array in /var/app/current/application/models/entry_methods/rt_entry.php on line 262


    • April 20, 2016

      Hey thanks for the heads up. I’ll send the Rewards Fuel guys a note and see if they have any insight.

  17. April 20, 2016

    This is so sick, i love it. Too bad, the raffle app you use seems to be bugged. Twitter isn’t working :/

    However… Regardless of if i win or not – Are you willing to re-create this thing, if i pay you? Could really need one for my 4 y/o son.

    Please contact me, if there’s a possibility.

  18. April 20, 2016

    Why did you use a Teensy instead of the GPIO?

    • April 20, 2016

      I like having it separate from the Pi, and there was room for it. Having it separate makes it easy to upgrade the OS, change how it behaves (HID Joypad vs keyboard, etc), upgrade to a new Pi, all that. Also makes it much easier to test – can just plug it into a regular computer (not that the pi isn’t a regular computer…). 🙂

  19. Yaniv
    April 21, 2016

    Question.. in the video ~ 2 min 45 seconds, you’re doing the right angle thing for the usb.. what usb is that? didn’t see it in the parts list.. am I missing something? 😐 Thanks!

    • April 21, 2016

      Hey sorry I should have mentioned this – the PowerBoost board from Adafruit actually comes with a USB type-A port meant for soldering onto the PowerBoost. But we don’t need it on the PowerBoost, so we can use it for the external USB port in stead. 🙂

      • Yaniv
        April 21, 2016

        Ah! My bad for not actually opening all the packages (figured I’d do it as each part of the guide comes out). I see it now! Thank you for clarifying! Sounds much cooler as an external usb! 🙂

  20. san
    April 22, 2016

    Thanks for Part 1.
    I can’t wait part 2

    You are Great!

  21. santi
    April 22, 2016

    What GPIO # for you use Audio Out?

  22. Justin
    April 22, 2016

    Is there room inside of that thing to fit the raspberry pi 3?

    • April 22, 2016

      The only way you could fit it physically would be to remove pretty much all the ports except HDMI. But even if you did that, the pi 3 takes a LOT of power and generates a ton of heat. I would definitely not recommend it for this project.

  23. Jens
    April 22, 2016

    Parts list? Where? 😮

    • Tim
      April 23, 2016
      I just found it a bit ago unfortunately many of the parts are currently out of stock from the places listed, and will either have to wait to get them or will have to find another place. Hoping that someone will say if the do find the parts in stock somewhere.

  24. Tim
    April 23, 2016

    I was looking at the parts list and wanted to know if I should get if I need 1/4 or 1/2 W resistors???? Also any advice on where I could get a screen? most of the places that I have found the model that you use is sold out currently have found all the other parts.

  25. Gameboy
    April 23, 2016

    Please release the part 2 today.

  26. D
    April 24, 2016

    If I continue to wait patiently for part 2 I may explode, so AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

    • April 25, 2016

      Should be up in a few hours. 🙂

      • CandyManCriminal
        April 25, 2016

        awesome =D

  27. Shannan
    April 28, 2016

    This is probably the coolest thing I have seen in a long time. Thank you.

  28. Yanick
    April 28, 2016

    From Québec. Tu est un génie man! J’aimerais être capable de faire tout ça. Can’t wait for your third vidéo!

  29. David Hayes
    April 28, 2016

    Rewards Fuel seems to have broken….

    Try to Sign Up… Email already taken… fine I tried to do an email entry, but had no email from RewardsFuel.
    Try to Sign Up with Facebook… Rewards Fuel 500 error with undefined function jason_encode
    Try to Sign Up with Twitter… Rewards Fuel 500 error with an undefined function in oauth.

    I just want to try to win this glorious beast! 🙁

    • April 28, 2016

      Sorry. 🙁 I’ve emailed them and they said they are aware of the problem.

  30. Holokron
    April 30, 2016

    I cant wait to start building one. I just want to wait till hehas videos on the step by step build of the Gameboy Zero.

  31. Joseph Stanton
    July 6, 2016

    Hey I would like to know if I could get a parts list and sites so I could buy the stuff to try to build this for myself. This is an awesome build and I’m into the gameboy. Thanks

  32. Steven
    July 15, 2016

    Hey is there an updated tutorial with it being made with the new parts?

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