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Game Boy Macro - Unofficial DS Mod

SmiteOfHand

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May 28, 2014
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About a year ago I got in touch with someone who mods broken DSes to effectively turn them into a "Game Boy Macro" (he calls it simply Macro, I assume for.. reasons), using the backwards compatibility of the DS for GBA games, while removing the top screen and rewiring the internal components so the unit will continue to work without them. A large Game Boy Micro, if you prefer. Game Boy Micro XL?

You could call it a day there and have a perfectly functional unit, but he takes it a step further by rebuilding the case, giving it a new coat of paint, and turning it into a nice little unit. I just got mine in and thought I would share.





Since it is a DS there isn't much to say as far as game compatibility or screen options. You can look that info up for the DS and apply it here. I am not completely clear on the rules for unofficial mods so will withhold linking to any info for now, though there is a very long waiting list as it is just one poor guy working out of his garage.

I was able to choose the colors I wanted and was bound by moral code to get 'Famicom Red' in there somehow. Was a little worried a black/white front and red backing would clash in a weird way, but I think it came out great.
 

jblank83

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Feb 13, 2013
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If he's rebuilding the case, why didn't he drop the X and Y buttons?


Looks like he can do that if you want.

Quick google reveals the site to be...
http://gameboymacro.com/

Pricing isn't cheap. It's $130 for the work and hardware, plus another $5 for shipping. Cost drops to $110 if you provide the DS. Special colors cost an extra $10 per color. Standard colors are white, grey, black, red. Looks like he can also add a microusb charge port or replace the DS card slot for a stereo out port.
 

Justinh

Member
Nov 7, 2013
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375
The gba cart sticking out of the unit still bums me out...

Yeah, that's what I see the most when looking at this. Too bad you can't do something where you can push it in further or something.

Looks neat, but I think the backlight modded OG GBA is still the coolest thing GBA related.
 

mothball

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Dec 3, 2009
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Pricing isn't cheap. It's $130 for the work and hardware, plus another $5 for shipping. Cost drops to $110 if you provide the DS. Special colors cost an extra $10 per color. Standard colors are white, grey, black, red. Looks like he can also add a microusb charge port or replace the DS card slot for a stereo out port.

think i'm good with the cheaper version i saw the other day

 

Seven Force

Banned
Aug 15, 2010
16,850
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Huh, I have a spare DS Lite I'm not using that I wouldn't mind getting modded into this. Thanks for the heads up!
 

SmiteOfHand

Member
May 28, 2014
2,038
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360
Looks like he can do that if you want.

Quick google reveals the site to be...
http://gameboymacro.com/

Pricing isn't cheap. It's $130 for the work and hardware, plus another $5 for shipping. Cost drops to $110 if you provide the DS. Special colors cost an extra $10 per color. Standard colors are white, grey, black, red. Looks like he can also add a microusb charge port or replace the DS card slot for a stereo out port.

Huh, I have a spare DS Lite I'm not using that I wouldn't mind getting modded into this. Thanks for the heads up!

He has the full instructions of how to do it yourself on his site. I suck-ass at electronics work so opted not to destroy some DSes in the process.

http://gameboymacro.com/macro-tutorial-ds-lite/
 

-shadow-

Member
Sep 22, 2015
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Looks surprisingly good. But that GBA cartridge sticking out is a bit of a waste...
 

Tempy

don't ask me for codes
Feb 6, 2005
13,695
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It's a mod I'd like to do someday as well. Making the case nice will take a while though.
 

Kindekuma

Banned
Jan 15, 2015
5,214
2
0
Looks surprisingly good. But that GBA cartridge sticking out is a bit of a waste...

Agreed. That's why I like the OG DS since the GBA cartridges were flush with the hardware, seeing the cartridges stick out a bit bothers me for some reason.
 

DarkLegion

Member
Aug 12, 2011
2,174
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I had a broken DS that I tried to do this with, all I ended up with was a DS that didn't work.

Lol my DSlite has the cracked hinge problem and ended up breaking off. Always wanted to do this but after your story.. I probably won't
 

leroidys

Member
Dec 14, 2008
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Hmm, cool idea. I'd be in if the bottom screen wasn't the crappy DS lite bottom screen and if the cart sat flush with the case.
 

7DollarHagane

Banned
Oct 18, 2013
11,436
4
0
That's awesome. The ds lite screen is pretty comparable to the gba sp 101 screen so this is a great and cheaper way to get a decent gba player. Ds lites are cheap and plentiful.
 

L.O.R.D

Member
Apr 14, 2011
10,166
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825
really ?
Looks like he can do that if you want.

Quick google reveals the site to be...
http://gameboymacro.com/

Pricing isn't cheap. It's $130 for the work and hardware, plus another $5 for shipping. Cost drops to $110 if you provide the DS. Special colors cost an extra $10 per color. Standard colors are white, grey, black, red. Looks like he can also add a microusb charge port or replace the DS card slot for a stereo out port.

if i am paying $140 , he better make the GBA cartridge go all the way inside the unite.

i better getting this instead for way less cheaper





it's the Revo K101 , a clone GBA , and it's cost around $70.
 

Timeless

Member
Dec 11, 2012
2,105
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0
Yeah, that's what I see the most when looking at this. Too bad you can't do something where you can push it in further or something.
If you buy a DS lite slot 2 flashcart you should be able to run GBA ROMs from it. That would sit flush in the unit.
 

Justinh

Member
Nov 7, 2013
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375
If you buy a DS lite slot 2 flashcart you should be able to run GBA ROMs from it. That would sit flush in the unit.
eh, that's not my sort of thing, though...
and if I were to spend this much money, I'd probably just go a little further an OG GBA and a backlight mod kit or something.

Interesting. Does it have speakers?
It appears he moved the speakers from the top screen half to the bottom half somewhere. I thought I saw something like he was making "speaker-holes" or something on the site...
edit: Oh, it looks like the speaker holes are on the back.
 
May 4, 2014
11,145
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The speakers are the thing I am most curious about. Can anybody who owns one confirm that he actually relocates the speakers?

Edit: Posf above mine got updated with sufficient info!
 

CDX

Member
May 31, 2012
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If he's rebuilding the case, why didn't he drop the X and Y buttons?

maybe they're mapped to L and R? good for fighting games and such on gba

Yeah.

With this mod, can L and R be mapped to both L R and the X and Y face buttons? Or just be mapped to X and Y instead?

Only having 2 face buttons was one of the things that always bothered me about the GBA.

It seems like it'd be a waste to keep those 2 extra buttons but not use them somehow.
 

Pancakes R Us

Member
Aug 24, 2007
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Looks neat, OP. I'd consider it if I didn't think that the AB button setup on DS is shit for GBA games. I prefer the slant of the buttons on GBA/SP models.
 

SmiteOfHand

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May 28, 2014
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The speakers are the thing I am most curious about. Can anybody who owns one confirm that he actually relocates the speakers?

Edit: Posf above mine got updated with sufficient info!

I'm gonna type up some impressions after I have spent real time with it so any other curiosities let me know and I'll make sure to address it.

I played through a Grand Prix in F-Zero and was able to place 1st so I am pleased with it so far, but there are a few non-obvious things I'd like to address like the way removing the top screen changes the ergonomics and weighting. Also I have my SP, micro, and AGB-001 handy so will do some comparing. Spoilers: GBA SP is one of my favorite handhelds of all time.

With this mod, can L and R be mapped to both L R and the X and Y face buttons? Or just be mapped to X and Y instead?

I'm not a hardware guy, but from my understanding of how controller input works I can't see any reason this would not be possible. As it is right now the XY are vestigial.
 

Pancakes R Us

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Aug 24, 2007
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I'm gonna type up some impressions after I have spent real time with it so any other curiosities let me know and I'll make sure to address it.

I played through a Grand Prix in F-Zero and was able to place 1st so I am pleased with it so far, but there are a few non-obvious things I'd like to address like the way removing the top screen changes the ergonomics and weighting. Also I have my SP, micro, and AGB-001 handy so will do some comparing.



I'm not a hardware guy, but from my understanding of how controller input works I can't see any reason this would not be possible. As it is right now the XY are vestigial.
I look forward to your impressions.

I just had a thought about my dislike of the DS for GBA games being due to the button setup. Since this guy customises quite a bit, I wonder if he can remove the XY buttons and then put the B button where the Y sits and the A button in the space where the B button currently sits. I think GBA games would be a lot easier to play this way.
 

7DollarHagane

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Oct 18, 2013
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Seems like he's charging a lot because its a custom job. The revo is made in some Chinese factory dirt cheap and doesn't display at native resolution either.

We don't know if revos will start failing in a year or two due to bad solder, bad capacitors, bad flash memory, etc.

This is at least real nintendo hardware that will probably still work in 20 years.
 

Tempy

don't ask me for codes
Feb 6, 2005
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Seems like he's charging a lot because its a custom job. The revo is made in some Chinese factory dirt cheap and doesn't display at native resolution either.

We don't know if revos will start failing in a year or two due to bad solder, bad capacitors, bad flash memory, etc.

This is at least real nintendo hardware that will probably still work in 20 years.

Shocking fact: The Nintendo DS is also made in a Chinese factory for dirt cheap! :p
 

L.O.R.D

Member
Apr 14, 2011
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really ?
Seems like he's charging a lot because its a custom job. The revo is made in some Chinese factory dirt cheap and doesn't display at native resolution either.

We don't know if revos will start failing in a year or two due to bad solder, bad capacitors, bad flash memory, etc.

This is at least real nintendo hardware that will probably still work in 20 years.

you forgot the DS also doesn't show native resolution too. and it's made in china.

also , my REAL Nintendo DS lite shoulder button start to failing in less then 1 year , my 3DS shoulder buttons is not responding at all.

"nintendo hardware"
 

RomanticHeroX

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May 11, 2009
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The bottom screen of a DS has the touch mesh on it and looks noticeably blurrier because of it. The form is neat but unless he removes that or switches the screen I don't know why you would do that.

Edit: This sounds really negative! Sorry for the negativity, I think it looks cool. I'm really just wondering if the mod addresses that.
 

Orayn

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Jul 4, 2010
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you forgot the DS also doesn't show native resolution too. and it's made in china.

also , my REAL Nintendo DS lite shoulder button start to failing in less then 1 year , my 3DS shoulder buttons is not responding at all.

"nintendo hardware"

The DS does show GBA games in native resolution by leaving a small border around the whole screen.
 
D

Deleted member 20920

Unconfirmed Member
if i am paying $140 , he better make the GBA cartridge go all the way inside the unite.

i better getting this instead for way less cheaper





it's the Revo K101 , a clone GBA , and it's cost around $70.

They look really good. Maybe I'll get one soon. But I have only like 2 GBA game carts.
 

Herbs

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Apr 30, 2015
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Nice and a great idea and I love people fixing up old consoles but I love the AGB-001 that I mod myself with the 101 screens.