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Handhelds Entertainment Games Hardware

Gameboy Emulation on your MP3 Player 105

webmind writes "As some may know there is an open source firmware for the Archos jukebox and the iriver h1x0 harddisk mp3 players called Rockbox. now for the iriver version there is also a gnuboy port.. no more lugging around loads of gameboy cardridges, just upload and play."
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Gameboy Emulation on your MP3 Player

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  • Sounds great (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Breakfast Pants ( 323698 ) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @01:24PM (#11794709) Journal
    These things always sound great.. and then the control sucks. SNES emulation on pocketpc's sounds like it would be awesome as hell.. until you find out the direction pad can only press one direction at once and therefore can't get diagonals..
    • --
      --> Nothing wrong with no diagonal control ;)
    • yeah. can't understand whats the point of the limitation to limit it to 4 intentionally(instead of 8).

      with phones too(s60, n-gage has non-selfblocking direction pad so you can get the diagonials, but 6600, 3650, 6630, 7610 have self blocking direction pad. it's a design choice, kicker is that there's no need for it to be self blocking to help the menus and such, as programs on s60 start by default with keyblocking enabled on all buttons and the software can ask for nonblocking mode).

      • My Motorola phone (V300/Triplets) also has a multidirection input keypad. Problem is, since it's not standard it's not part of the spec and it's handled in an additional Motorola API, kind of like sound on Nokia is handled by Nokia-specific APIs, or at least traditionally has been. (I have some Nokia games that work on my Moto, and some that don't.) Consequently, I don't have any games that actually use it, even Splinter Cell or Rainbow Six 3 (and I've tried like four different versions of that.)
    • Tetris (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Idimmu Xul ( 204345 )
      I'd love to see the Rockbox port for the H3x0, who cares about diagnol controls, being able to play Tetris, possibly against multiple opponents using the USB port and hub that it comes with would be totally awesome!
    • That's only crappy old iPaqs and some other models. My Dell Axim (yes, yes, I've turned to the dark side, whatever, I can't help the awsome multi-media features, no, I don't want to start a PocketPC vs. Palm debate), so to continue, my Dell Axim works fine with SNES emulation. And damn is it fun.
      • On my palm zire 72s snes emulation is fine too, with nice diagonal control goodness. And To all you palm users who are stuck paying for various emlulators, check out , the swiss army knife of emulators, with gb, gbc, nes, snes, genesis & master system emulation.

        try udmh (google) if you don't have enough memory to run snes roms.
  • Ow. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 27, 2005 @01:25PM (#11794723)
    Talk about horrible controls. It's makes the original NES controller look comfortable.
    • Re:Ow. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo ( 153816 )
      The original NES controller WAS comfortable. The Famicom controller was a little less precise and didn't have the same feel IMO, but the original NES controller was a joy to use. You just had to develop a useful strategy for holding it. :) What other controller allowed you to get good results in button-mashing games by putting your thumbnail between the buttons and rubbing it back and forth like you were trying to polish something?
      • No way. The only thing more uncomfortable than NES controllers was Atari wrist sticks. The NES 2 button wasn't even diagonal at an angle, your wrist really hurts after a while.

        Only thing good was that it was tough as nails. I have never heard someone needing a NES controller replacement. Nowadays controllers are toast after a year.

        • Dreamcast controllers are horribly uncomfortable as compared to the NES pad. Maybe you were pressing too hard. You don't have to grind it into powder to move your characters around.

          The durability of course WAS the best thing about it. I used to bang mine off the floor when I was really pissed off at a game. BANG! It would sound like something broke, but the controller was fine.

          • Ouch,

            never mention the Dreamcase controller again.

            I still have blisters from the memmory card holder hitting my knuckles.
      • by Grym ( 725290 )

        Are you kidding?

        I used to rub my left thumb raw on the old NES controllers all the time. They were only good for on run through Contra... tops.


  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 27, 2005 @01:26PM (#11794733)
    Just buy a gameboy. They're affordable and play all of the games perfectly.
  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <> on Sunday February 27, 2005 @01:27PM (#11794742) Homepage Journal

    no more lugging around loads of gameboy cardridges, just upload and play.

    This has been possible for a long time. The Game Boy Advance with a GBA flash cart can emulate [] the Game Boy monochrome system; a single flash cart can hold up to 32 MBytes or 64 MBytes of GB ROMs.

    There is also something called the GB Bridge, which translates between GB mono/GBC wire protocol and GBA wire protocol, letting the GBA run GBC games using its GBC hardware, but it doesn't work with most of the newer flash carts.

  • yes but.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 27, 2005 @01:27PM (#11794746)
    a cooler hack would let me play mp3's on my old gameboy.
    • Re:yes but.. (Score:5, Informative)

      by tepples ( 727027 ) <> on Sunday February 27, 2005 @01:35PM (#11794814) Homepage Journal

      a cooler hack would let me play mp3's on my old gameboy.

      For the old Game Boy systems, there is an MP3 player called SongPro. For the GBA and GBA SP, there is the GSM Player [], which uses GBA flash carts.

      • You can't play mp3s with a GameBoy; not enough CPU. The best you can do is use the GameBoy as an oversized remote control and power source for an mp3 player (which is what these players do).
        • The best you can do is use the GameBoy as an oversized remote control and power source for an mp3 player (which is what these players do).

          The GSM player decodes GSM Full Rate audio in real time in software.

    • uhm.. well you'd need a mp3 decoder, a DAC, a compactflash or sd adapter and some basic rom code for the interfacing.. would be my guess
    • Didn't the original GB have an 8MHz CPU? Somehow I doubt even a 96Kbps MP3 would be playable on a processor that slow, and the speaker probably isn't capable of such fine sound output.
      • Don't worry -- your Britney Spears albums will sound virtually the same in 2-bit mono gameboy sound... at least to me.
        • Britney Spears albums will sound virtually the same

          Shh! Don't give the NES remixers [] any ideas...

          in 2-bit mono gameboy sound

          "2-bit sound" can sound better than a CD. Even SACD uses pulse-density modulation at 1 bit per channel, heavily dithered during mastering and low-pass filtered at the output.

    • I actually got something like that from bestbuy, its called music player advance. It only has 48MB of space though, sounds choppy and cant fast forward or rewind.
    • As mentioned by temples, Songpro is a cart capable of playing mp3s that accepts SD cards (2). It can support up to a total capacity of 512 MB. As far as I know however it only works in the GBA, not the GB. I own one and it has worked quite well for myself.
      • I'm pretty sure there was a SongPro for Game Boy a long time ago, but it came out so close to the release of the GBA that people forgot about the GBC version entirely.

  • by game kid ( 805301 ) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @01:27PM (#11794748) Homepage
    ...people will actually play Tetris with something besides the classic tracks? BLASPHEMY! (Unless it's a Lil Jon song that says YEEAAAHHHH after every 4-line combo.)
  • This is another way of using Open Source to difuse the use of hardware and earning $$$ money without the software license.
  • by SubDude ( 49782 ) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @01:29PM (#11794766)
    Can I get my Gameboy to emulate a cell-phone?
  • by vision33r ( 829872 ) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @01:34PM (#11794805)
    I've owned 3 ipods that I had to get rid of because of consistent freezing and deteriorating battery life. My iRiver iHP-120 over 1 yr just performs rock solid. Yes, it is not white so noobs thinks its not a MP3 player but I don't have to take out of my pocket and finger circle to find songs. Just 1-2 clicks on the iRiver remote control does a dandy job. Now with people working on modding the firmware this little gem of a MP3 player is like the Linux of MP3 player and Ipod is the Windoze.
  • Path of Technology (Score:4, Insightful)

    by page275 ( 862917 ) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @01:39PM (#11794833)

    Well, it will come to the point where there is a portable device that contains all features of a PDA, a cellphone, an mp3 player, a game machine ...

    ... Well, just sounds like a notebook with a telephone attachs to it.

    • You're thinking of smartphones. They are PDAs with cellphones, and most of the newer ones can play MP3 audio. The only things keeping them from being game machines are bad controls (what's comfortable for use as a replacement for a Game Boy isn't comfortable for use as a phone) and lack of titles (due to phone network operators that own your phone and the lack of Nintendo branding).

    • You just described the N-Gage, but it's a lot smaller than a notebook PC.
  • right, now let's see this working on the ipod. sure, it's only got two directions instead of four, and just two colors ("on" and "off", as it would happen), but it's got buttons to spare (well, one). ..okay, bad idea. but some games (tetris, notably) would actually work. what kind of processing power does the ipod have, anyway?
    • Gameboy Emulator for iPod []. It's in progress anyway.
    • What about the iPod photo? And how about a controller that would plug into the docking port of the iPod photo and give you a GameBoy like button layout and maybe even a cartridge slot. the iPod photo screen is similar size to a GBC screen.
    • Re:ipod (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Storlek ( 860226 )
      just two colors ("on" and "off", as it would happen)

      The mono iPod has four shades at least. The borders between the days in the calendar are a light gray; and the back of the cards in solitaire are a darker gray. Add "on" (black) and "off" and you have four colors. (Incidentally, the Gameboy uses a four-color grayscale display as well.)

      EveryMac has some very detailed tech specs about the iPod; the fourth generation [] model has dual 80MHz ARM processors and 32 megabytes of RAM, which I would imagine is more
      • wow, that's actually much more processing muscle than i would've expected. heck, the DS runs on something like a 33mhz ARM7 and a 70mhz ARM9. well, why has nobody done this yet?
  • Thanks for destroying rockbox's website. Does anyone know if the h1x0 port got anywhere or are they still at the "Debugger goes where?" stage?
    • From what I've read, it boots on a H1x0 and runs, though doesn't play anything because they haven't yet coded the software codec infrastructure. (The Archos hardware Rockbox was originally written for uses a hardware MP3 decoder.)

      I haven't had a chance to play with it, though, as I have a H340, which they haven't yet started porting the port to.
    • Site works over here. You can see their progress here [].
    • It's coming along.

      Several people are working on optimising the codecs to run at >100% realtime, and others are poking at the technical issues of supporting audio buffering and playback.
      There's progress being made bit by bit each day as people have spare time from work/lives/family/whatever.
      Don't expect it to happen overnight, or next week, but it'll get there, probably sooner rather than later. (one codec is close to approaching 100% atm (flac i think). Tremor (vorbis) has some weird bottleneck and is s
  • With diligence and perseverence, and devices like this; We can finally end the scourge of productivity in our LIFETIME.

    Quick someone nominate the inventor for the nobel prize.


  • The Rockbox firmware linked in the article only works for the Archos Jukebox and Recorder series. Has anyone heard of any similar re-writes for the Archos Multimedia AV120?
  • no, really just nifty.
  • whole project looks great, unfortunately I can't use it (yet) on my iRiver-iH120; Rockbox does not support remote's LCD right now (my main LCD is damaged; I really shouldn't put my player into my back pocket and go the party!). As soon as remote is working, I'll give it a shot.

Programmers do it bit by bit.