Archive | September 2005

Gameboy Micro Faceplate Hacking Progress

Drawing power from the EXT port on the back of the micro, I installed a green LED under the faceplate. I also scratched a design into the black faceplate – the paint on the top comes off easily with a pocket knife. The light doesn’t diffuse enough to illuminate the whole design, so I purchased a bunch of tiny surface mount LEDs. They should arrive early next week.

Replacement black faceplates won’t be available until November, so I’m going to try to clean the paint off of another faceplate and paint it black. I should be able to try that on Monday.

Keith Kerlan(thanks Keith!) has been helping a lot with bouncing around ideas and such.

I emailed Nintendo about the mysterious jack and they haven’t been any help, yet. One rep thinks it’s a rivet. 😦

Gameboy Micro Faceplate Hacking Progress

I’ve been busy with family stuff for the past few days, but I’ve made some progress:

It turns out that my triwing screwdriver IS small enough to work on the micro’s screws. I just had to push hard enough while turning. I disassembled it and tested the leads heading into the connector. There is definitely 1.7 volts headed into the connector, but I still haven’t been able to get a reading from the jack itself. I now have some homemade test leads that are probably thin enough and I’ll try again tonight.

Update (9/28/05): Just tested with my new thin leads. There is no power coming from the strange jack.

Japanese Gameboy Micro Faceplate (Concepts?)

Nintendo Japan has a flash app that shows 160 faceplates for the micro. Judging from the lack of a finished feeling to most of them, I’m assuming these are concept art or contest entries.

This one is a neat idea – imagine getting a custom-drawn, signed faceplate from your favorite artist!
microface.jpg

More here.

Nintendo DS Homebrew WIFI Progress

Stephen Stair say’s it’s smooth sailing from here on out on his WIFI project. We’re all rooting for you, man!

Field of work Completion Level
Receiving data: 100%
Transmitting data: 85%
Interrupts/Data Queuing: 95%
arm7/arm9 communication structure: 100%
802.11b implementation (arm7): 85%
TCP/IP [integrating lwIP] (arm9): 20%
API for other wireless functions (arm9): 90%

Twelve Games I Love

Starfox – I spent many 90 minute sessions in college beating the crap out of this game. I loved finishing it over and over.
WarioWare Twisted – Genius. It combines the fast paced, yet rewarding minigame-after-minigame-after-minigame approach of the original with a perfect-fit, knock-your-socks-off technology.
Beyond Good and Evil – This is definitely the first action/adventure game I played that had me enthralled from start to finish. The new Prince of Persia series probably did that better, but BGE doesn’t take itself as seriously and, because of that, the characters and scenes stick in my head much more clearly.
Zak McKracken and the Alien MindBenders – This game really opened my eyes to how humor can find a home in really solid, challenging games.
Paradroid – As a kid, I played the heck out of this game on my C64. As an adult, I read the excellent dev diary of its construction by Andrew Braybrook. It’s a great game with an excellent use of the one button C64 controller and even a killer mini-game that’s a mix of strategy and reflexes. I’ve often called Paradroid the spiritual ancestor of Grand Theft Auto. I mean that in a good way.
Yar’s Revenge – This, Joust and Combat stick out as my favorites on the Atari consoles. Yar’s had deep gameplay, with limited graphics. I still play it today. (And now it’s available for the GBA, too!!!)
Psychonauts – Just killer. Again, humor in a challenging, solid game. And the authors managed to mix up the action with lots of little differences here and there while maintaining a cohesive experience. I could single out several of the levels in this game as favorite games on their own! The Milkman Conspiracy, Lungfishopolis, and the one with the Bull are just excellent.
Nintendogs – This and Harvest Moon(Friends of Mineral Town) are the only two video games my daughter plays – she loves them!
Joust – Joust was my first multiplayer experience (other than pong). Damn fine game.
Spiderman 2 – I get butterflies in my stomach when swinging through the city as Spidey. I’m serious – I can FEEL the movement and it makes me queezy. I never made it through to the end because I LOVE swinging around. They say Ultimate Spiderman is more of this goodness. Let’s hope so!
Lumines – This game has single-handedly brought me VERY close to buying a PSP about a dozen times. Luckily, my coworkers have it and I can get my fix that way. Also, there is an excellent homebrew version for the GBA.
Tempest – I was never very good at this game, but it’s the only game I could imagine buying an arcade version of for my home. I just may do that sometime.

Gameboy Micro Faceplates that light up!!!

OK, I picked up a Japanese Gameboy Micro tonight at Network Video in Burlingame, CA.

There is a jack accessible to the faceplate (under the faceplate, above the a button) that says V-5(5 volts, I assume) on the circuit board.

Questions: When will Nintendo or Third Parties release Smart Faceplates? Where can I buy a plug for the jack shown on this image(upper right hand corner)? [image is from this set of photos]

Update: Here’s a pic of the micro without a faceplate. The jack is above the a button –
micro5v.jpg

Update: I haven’t been able to get a reading on the jack. The connection is really small, so I’m having trouble getting a clear shot at it with my multimeter. Meanwhile, my triwing(Nintendo uses ‘tamper-proof’ screws to keep us out) screwdriver isn’t working on the super small screws on the micro, so I can’t test the connections on the board, yet.

Update(9/26/05): I ordered a new triwing screwdriver yesterday. Hopefully it will arrive soon and will be small enough to open the case.

Update(9/26/05): Discuss at gbadev’s forums.

Update(9/26/05): Discussion at WarpPipe

Update(9/28/05): It turns out that my triwing screwdriver IS small enough to work on the micro’s screws. I just had to push hard enough while turning. I disassembled it and tested the leads heading into the connector. There is definitely 1.7 volts headed into the connector, but I still haven’t been able to get a reading from the jack itself. I now have some homemade test leads that are probably thin enough and I’ll try again tonight.

Update (9/28/05): Just tested with my new thin leads. There is no power coming from the strange jack.