Let’s Build a Gameboy! Funnyplaying FPGA Game Boy Color Clone Review

In my latest video we embark on a fun project: building a Game Boy using a Funnyplaying FPGA kit. This no-solder kit costs around $120 shipped (affiliate link) is easy to assemble and when complete feels almost identical to the original Gameboy Color both in hardware and gameplay but with a significantly better IPS display.

My adventure began with assembling the kit, which included a motherboard, display, speaker, battery, casing, controller components, and buttons. The kit, sourced from the Retro Gaming Repair Shop (affiliate link) is made by a company called Funnyplaying, which manufactures close-to-the-original cases and other replacement parts for Gameboy hardware. You have a choice of many different hardware shells and button color combinations all very reasonably priced.

The assembly started with installing the display onto the casing, attaching the ribbon cable to the motherboard, and setting up the speaker. I found the kit very user-friendly, with the components fitting nicely into place. The kit comes with a rechargeable battery which is charged by the USB-C port on the bottom of the motherboard.

The assembly wasn’t terribly difficult but would have been made easier if instructions were included (they were not). The only real struggle I had was getting the tiny power cable in place.

I was pleased with how close to the original this felt when it was assembled. It doesn’t feel like a cheap knock-off!

I first tried some original Game Boy cartridges, which worked flawlessly, providing both the classic Game Boy and Game Boy Color experiences. I also tested the device with an older Everdrive GB flash cart. The FPGA kit recognized and ran the games from the Everdrive without issues. There is no SD card slot on this, so rom files can only be played through the use of a flash cartridge like the Everdrive.

Initially the Funnyplaying device boots up with its Gameboy Color core which applies a color palette to the original monochrome games. Pushing the volume rocker switch in will pull up an on-screen display that allows switching to the original Gameboy mode. Once in that mode it’ll display the original games in a green-hued color palette closer to the original display.

The onscreen display also allow for changing the color palettes – on the Gameboy Color core it’ll work similar to how the palette can be changed on the original device. In the original core it will allow the selection of palettes that match the original (default) along with a few of the other monochrome gameboy iterations.

Sound quality was great on this and very close to the original. The speaker, while causing slight vibrations in the case, produced clear audio. There’s also a headphone jack for connecting headphones or routing it to an audio capture device for streaming. I have a sound demo in the video so you can decide how close to the original it sounds.

The buttons and controls responded well, giving a sense of newness compared to the wear and tear typically found on original Game Boy units.

The Funnyplaying FPGA Game Boy kit offers a satisfying DIY experience for gaming enthusiasts, blending nostalgia with modern technology. This project, while not reaching the multifaceted capabilities of devices like the Analogue Pocket, provides an affordable, authentic way to enjoy Game Boy classics in a new light.

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