Arduinoboy mGB from trash80 on Vimeo.

Lovers of the sound of the original Nintendo Game Boy, the Minimoog of game systems with its distinctive, rich 8-bit sound, this may be the best solution for integrating it with other music gear.

Our friend trash80, aka Timothy, has completed a project with open-source code for the affordable, easily-programmable Arduino electronics platform. To make it work, he’s built his own custom cartridge, adding standard MIDI communication with other devices. An 1/8” minijack plugs into your Game Boy cart, but you get standard MIDI DIN on the other end for connecting to keyboards, computers, and the like. With all the code available, you should not only be able to build your own MIDI Game Boy, but apply some of trash80’s techniques to other MIDI hardware projects, as well.

Full documentation:

Flickr set

Code, project detail, and docs at Google Code

That’s the full Arduinoboy shield below:

Updated: As Smithers notes in comments, this is similar to the Pushpin project. Pushpin is actually quite a lot more compact, using only a MIDI cable. The downside: Pushpin requires a Game Boy Color, while this project works with the other Game Boy models. Also, the Arduino aspect may make this project a bit more accessible. Worth looking at both, of course.

  • dead_red_eyes

    Wow, that is seriously crafty.

  • whoo doggie

    That's pretty cool.

    I might buy an old gameboy to try this project for myself. :)

  • peter

    YOu will also need a gameboy flashcart to run the gb side software.

    Isnt the c64 the minimoog of chip synths? The game boy is more like the mexican strat…


  • A MIDI-Ready Nintend

    […] via Create Digital Music

    Lovers of the sound of the original Nintendo Game Boy, the Minimoog of game systems with its distinctive, rich 8-bit sound […]

  • Sean

    That is seriously awesome. I'd definitely hack up my old Gameboy for that.

  • tobamai

    Super spiff post.

  • Pingback: Arduinoboy : Hacked Gameboy with MIDI control | Key Of Grey()

  • DJ & Pro Audio E

    Man, the gameboy HAS TO BE te world's most adapted games console. I've seen gameboys used to launch mini rockets and to turn on the lights of a whole building, it's amazing.

  • lilith

    oh snap. I just might try this. I've got an OG gameboy w/a broken d-pad just lying around.

  • West

    Glad to see Trash is still hard at work. He was among the first people to introduce me to the chiptune movement, and I still find him to be one of the most talented musicians of that genre (if genre it be). His brother, Colin, is also an outstanding IDM/Glitch musician in his own right.

  • Smithers

    Hmm. Looks suspiciously like the very old Pushpin interface whose source was released into the wild almost a year ago. Why it's not mentioned?

  • Peter Kirn

    Why wasn't it mentioned? Because, while I had seen Pushpin, I forgot. :) Thanks for the tip!

  • trash80

    Suspiciously? Nothing of the sort!

    Its completely unrelated to pushpin.

    First off its based around Arduino as the Midi to gameboy serial converter. Secondly the code is completely different and uses a different method of communication– because of this, Pushpin *only* work with Gameboy Color.

    Ardunioboy works with DMG-01 (old gray),GB color,GB Advance,SP etc. "mGB" the gameboy software was written in C, Here's a llok at the source:

    Also, CDM mentioned Pushpin when the code was released.

  • trash80

    well not that its completely unrelated, being midi for gameboy and all. :)

  • d_enajetic

    Good work, but I'm not impressed. I bought a bunch of plungins that make those sounds (and many more) for only $5.

    Great plugins too. I get my Nintendo 8bit on quite often.

  • Tweakbench

    My software is fun & all.. but this is just awesome. Nothing can really get that PERFECT gameboy sound besides the real thing.

    Nice post!

  • Nicholai

    Yeah. Tweakbench is right. While i've had dozens of fun with his plugin Triforce in FL, the real deal is just uncomparable to anything software can ever do.

  • mike

    alright, could you send me a pre-made setup of this thing. I am willing to pay for it.

  • mike

    contact me at