I am a retro-computer guy, not a retro-gamer. Therefore, I am not always aware of all the goodness out there for retro-gamers. Luckily, a friend of mine – merci Stephan – shared with me his excellent experience with the GPi Case by Retroflag he acquired recently. In the past, I tried a few vintage gaming systems re-spins with more and less success. Usually less. Even worst, in a moment of weakness, I felt for those abominations of pocket games compendiums promising you 300+ games for less than $30. Avoid them! I gave up on the topic and passed my way every time I’ve seen one. But because my friend is usually of good advice regarding retro-gaming, I went ahead and bought the case. Keep in mind that it is just a case. So, I re-used a Raspberry Pie Zero and a 128GB micro SD card from another project to provide the core of the console and the image. On my friend’s advice, I went with a 64GB image available on the French forum http://www.open-consoles.com/. I am sure you can find similar ready to use images in English speaking forums. After a few minutes of etcher to burn the image, you are done on the software side. And the image put together by Dindon is excellent with ~9.6K ROMs and is well done (http://www.open-consoles.com/t12145-image-retropie-gpi-case-64go-dindon-level-2-2v2-de-9600-roms). Nice job!
To the hardware now
The Gpi Case looks and feels like a Game Boy classic with few differences. The main being the four burgundy buttons instead of the two. The main direction button seems a tad smaller and is the only flaky part of the case. Besides, it is pretty well built and quite easy to assemble. Everything happens in the cartridge. This means that you don’t have to touch the body. The 2.8” color backlit LCD has a resolution of 320 x 240 pixels and is very sharp. The case has a speaker, and you can use a headset for stereo sound – if supported by the emulated system. The cartridge splits into two shells. First, connect the Pi Zero to the daughterboard (part of the kit) via the USB port. Screw the Pi back in the shell, position the SD card cover and the daughterboard on top, close and screw the top shell of the cartridge. Insert the micro SD card and you are done with the assembling.
Does it worth it?
I’ve spent a few hours by now going through likely less than 2% of the games. And I am delighted. I am not sure if I will ever be able to test and enjoy all the games. But up to now, I am quite happy with my Game Boy on steroids. And if I am bored, I can reboot the Game Boy and dive into another game console! Final note: true to the original Game Boy, three AA batteries are needed to power the beast. A USB cable (also part of the kit) can be used as well if you happen to be close to a power plug.