Modder adds a hinge to Game Boy for the ultimate retro upgrade

It looks out of this world.
Ameya Paleja
The Game Boy with a hinge
The Game Boy with a hinge


41-year-old Allison Parrish spent her summer fiddling with old Game Boys and modifying them for a modding contest. Her idea of adding a hinge to a Game Boy didn't start off as a joke; weeks of persistence and help from several modding enthusiasts have brought the Game Boy with the hinge.

In a detailed blog post, Parrish recounts her journey of how her mod Game Boy went from a concept to an actual piece that turns on and lets one enjoy the game in a very different fashion. It also gives us a brief glimpse of the kind of person Parrish is and how there is a world of unknowns out there to explore for each and every one of us.

Daring to do different

Parrish has been following the Game Boy modding scene for a few years and has found that no-hinge mods of Game Boy SP are the ones in vogue these days. Although she did not take to Game Boy as a kid, the hinged handheld console became her companion on long commutes after her college days.

Daring to do something against the trend and for the sake of her own nostalgia, Parrish decided to hinge up the old Game Boy. Her journey into modding also began earlier this year after she installed an after-market IPS screen on her GameBoy SP. A few videos of watching YouTubers fix broken consoles, and Parrish began to do it herself, and soon enough, she was hooked.

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Unhinged by the hinge

For her summer mod challenge, Parrish decided to put a hinge on a Game Boy Pocket and began by cutting the motherboard into two halves with a craft knife and nothing else. The challenge was now to put them back into new custom-made shells and connect them together.

Modder adds a hinge to Game Boy for the ultimate retro upgrade
The many measurements for the hinge

Parrish went through multiple iterations of the shells, but the real troublemaker turned out to be the hinge. Even after she decided to use off-the-shelf hinges from the Game Boy SP, she needed precise measurements of the support structures, and the 3D printer she was using to prototype was not very good at replicating these small detailed parts, the blog post said.

The process, however, required Parrish to spend time with a digital caliper and then replicating them on a designing tool like FreeCAD. The modder confessed that she enjoyed the process and had to stop herself from time to time since she "was having so much fun".

Modder adds a hinge to Game Boy for the ultimate retro upgrade
Parrish's efforts into learning CAD produced great results

Try, try till you succeed

The outside shell on the top was also equally challenging, and Parrish needed to do some original thinking to get it right since SPs don't house cartridges on top. Once she cracked it, she also needed to make her own PCB, which was the first time she did it in her life.

Modder adds a hinge to Game Boy for the ultimate retro upgrade
The flexible PCR designed by Parrish

While all this seems rather straightforward, Parrish did go through multiple iterations of her designs, and they needed to be put together and had to click. Undoubtedly, she has a long list of people to thank who inadvertently became part of her journey.

Modder adds a hinge to Game Boy for the ultimate retro upgrade
The mod-Game Boy in a clear shell

If you would like to begin your journey into Game Boy modding, Parrish has a list of items that you will need and a step-by-step instructional manual here.

If you are still not impressed, Parrish's effort won the Summer Modding contest in the Technical category.

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