B.M.O. GameBoy Color Case Mod

August 2013

My fiancee's and mine's anniversary was approaching, and I wanted to build an extra special gift. One of my fiancee's favorite television shows is Cartoon Network's Adventure Time, and one of her favorite characters is B.M.O. the living video game console. I decided that I wanted my fiancee to have her very own B.M.O. But this one would be functional. 

To make the B.M.O functional, I wanted to fit a GameBoy Color. This way she could also play some of her old GameBoy games I knew she had lying around. To begin, I bought this GameBoy Color off of eBay for $10, and immediately set forth tearing it apart.

The first thing I did after taking it apart was use a Dremel and cut out the battery compartment, then fix the battery terminals in place. I felt that this would be much easier than designing my own battery compartment, and I was able to keep the latching lid with the Nintendo sticker on it. 

I then tackled the most difficult task of this project. B.M.O.'s game cartridge slot is front loading, whereas the GameBoy Color has a rear top loading cartridge design. This 32 pin cartridge slot would have to be desoldered, extended, and moved to the front. 

After some time, I was able to successfully remove the cartridge slot from the GameBoy PCB. I then took several sections of Cat.5 cable, removed the sheathing and untwisted the pairs, and wired them up to the cartridge slot. Some more RTV silicone was used to hold the wires in place after I tested it. 

And here is a video confirming it does indeed work correctly after extending the cables. I knew some electronics, specifically LCD screen driver cables, tend to have timing issues with longer cables. I was happy to find that the extension I did worked flawlessly. 

After I knew the case mod would work in theory, I designed the case, and sent it to Shapeways to be printed. This would be the first ever piece I designed to be printed. It had port holes for the screen, cartridge slot, arms and legs, as well as the speaker. The back plate was designed so that I could glue in the battery compartment I cut out of the original GameBoy. I also added a hole for a DB-9 port, which I used to add an external controller (since the 3D printed buttons on the case are only for show).

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the finished back plate, but it was assembled by placing the battery compartment in the hole of the printed back plate, adding plenty of JB weld, and after it cured, sanding it so that all the lines would flow smoothly. At this point, the only thing I needed to do was to install the everything in the case, which had more room than necessary, in order to keep B.M.O's aspect ratio correct. I did end up destroying the original GameBoy power switch just before closing up the case, so I had replaced it with a generic rocker switch. 

For the external controller, I ended up just "pin-jacking" the buttons on the GameBoy face, and on a replica NES gamepad. 

After the gamepad was done, All I needed to do was use some blue felt to make B.M.O's arms and legs. The Arms are sewn to each other so that they can't fall out, but I purposely left the legs detachable so that B.M.O could sit upright on my fiancee's desk. Below is the final product, and I am happy to report that my fiancee absolutely loved it!