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Guitarboy: The Game Boy guitar you never knew you needed

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Please insert a cartridge to generate riffs.

From Super Mario Land to Tetris, some of the most memorable game music ever was recorded for Game Boy using 8-bit sounds. For chiptune artists, Nintendo’s handheld console even became an instrument in its own right – but it’s never looked quite like this.

It’s called Guitarboy, and – like Christmas Day and our birthday falling on the same date – it’s both a working games console and a fully-functional guitar.

Ever felt that the Legend of Zelda was lacking in hot licks? Now, you can do something about it, adding your own incidental music while controlling the game as usual – albeit on the guitar’s giant, oversized body.

As well as fulfilling their regular Game Boy functions, the ‘A’ and ‘B’ buttons also operate as volume and tone dials as you’d find on a conventional guitar. Best of all, though, is the ability to switch outputs and run the Game Boy’s sound through the pick-ups; add a few effects pedals and you’ve got Super Mario as you’ve never heard it before.

Here, Guitarboy’s creator – who goes under the username Fibbef – demonstrates the capabilities of the instrument turned games console:

To create Guitarboy, he used a Game Boy emulator powered by a Raspberry Pi B+, alongside a 2,200 mAh battery which brings the the 5-inch LCD screen to life. The entire body is also handmade from pine, including plexiglass shell covers and a standard audio jack for plugging into an amplifier.

The invention joins a rich heritage of Nintendo hacks and mods, including the official Nintendo Playstation that never was, and the 100% unofficial Nintoaster. Fine company indeed.

Obviously, Guitarboy is a one-off and isn’t going to be available to buy, but, if you’re desperate to give it a try, you could always follow along with Fibbef’s instructions – the whole worklog was detailed on the Bit Fix Gaming boards.

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