Want to Fly Your Drone With an Old-School GameBoy?

In recent weeks the world has been subjected to another wave of viral nostalgia. Pokemon Go has well and truly brought the old series back into the mainstream, and the craze doesn’t look like ending anytime soon. Which makes us wonder whether retro gaming does have a future, at least when it’s combined with the latest technology…

gameboy drone tech

Paparazzi UAV

It was a matter of time before nostalgia entered the drone industry. And we don’t mean the guys that claim to have built a drone you can play Pokemon Go with. We’re referring to a recent story of ingenuity involving an old-school GameBoy controlling a Parrot ARDrone2.

Over on the Paparazzi UAV blog, Gautier Hattenberger has taken recycling retro tech to another level. After finding an old GameBoy at his parent’s house, “the first thing that came to my mind,” he said, was “can I fly a drone with this ? (and also where is my Mario Bros cartridge).”

From there he decided to to take matters into his own hands. And with a few ingenious alterations, it soon became clear that flying a drone with an old-school GameBoy was more than possible.

Using a GameLink – a Nintendo accessory that keen gamers will remember allowed for co-op play and competition, Hattenberger connected the GameBoy to an Arduino microcontroller and an FTDI semiconductor.

After that, Hattenberger says, “a small program on the ground station converts this into actual commands for the drone.”

gameboy drone

Paparazzi UAV

And as for the inspiration behind this little tech project? Hattenberger said: “So I spent some time searching the web to see if I could find some idea to solve my problem. And if it seems that [although] piloting unmanned aircraft with a Game Boy is not so common, you can find everything you need to program it!”

From the video footage it looks like a pretty effective control system. If you fancy having a go yourself, Hattenberger has released the entire source code on Github. Good luck!


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