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Someone turned a retro iPod into an even more retro Game Boy with a Raspberry Pi

An Apple Game Boy?
Last Updated on July 9, 2024
Someone just merged a retro iPod with a Game Boy and it is mighty impressive - Image Source: Hackster
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2004 was synonymous with a lot of cool, and now nostalgic, pieces of tech – some may argue none more so than the iPod. Well, a new project by Russell Tabata breathes new life into these classic devices, transforming the once beloved music player into a retro gaming console.

Yes, Tabata’s creation, dubbed the “Apple Game Boy,” combines a 4th generation iPod with a Raspberry Pi Zero 2w, the magic ingredient behind most modern retro gaming setups. This lets the iPod run RetroPie, a popular emulation software that allows users to play games from a wide range of consoles.

The Apple Game Boy – Image Source: Russell Tabata via Hackster

Main features of the Apple Game Boy

The Apple Game Boy boasts several impressive features:

FeatureWhy it is useful
Custom Boot AnimationIt’s a great touch for fans of both Apple and retro gaming.
Click Wheel ControlFull control over the emulated games. Tabata even expanded functionality beyond the standard five buttons, allowing for more complex gameplay through click wheel gestures.
Modern ConnectivityMicro-USB charging replaces the old iPod dock connector, and Bluetooth connectivity adds a layer of convenience.
Open-Source InspirationTabata openly credits the work of Guy Dupont and Ricardo Sappia, highlighting the collaborative spirit of the retro tinkering community.

More than just nostalgia?

While other solutions exist for playing Game Boy games on older iPods, Tabata’s approach offers several advantages. It doesn’t just primarily focus on Game Boy emulation, the Apple Game Boy can handle games from various consoles. This makes it a one-stop shop for retro gaming enthusiasts who crave a taste of different eras.

Secondly, the original iPod screen lacked color, but the Raspberry Pi integration allows for vibrant visuals, enhancing the overall gaming experience. Lastly, the Raspberry Pi offers greater processing power and flexibility than the iPod’s original hardware. This opens doors for future development and customization.

Is the Apple Game Boy for you?

If you’re a tinkerer who enjoys working with electronics and has fond memories of both iPods and retro consoles, the Apple Game Boy is a great project that should pique your interest. Tabata even hints at a potential YouTube video showcasing the build process and gameplay, offering valuable guidance for those interested in replicating his creation. We’ll definitely have to keep an eye out.

If you’re interested in more, we’ve seen loads of retro-inspired devices powered by the humble RasPi, including this Game Boy Advance, or more recently, the Olimex Neo6502 with retro emulation built-in.

Tom is a tech writer with a detailed view on ensuring the best buying advice, most useful information, and latest news makes its way into PC Guide's articles.