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    Another weird Game Boy peripheral: fish-finder sonar.

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      Quality and cost-effectiveness are significant issues for companies developing their own hardware. The GameBoy meets both of those compared to the alternatives.

      Reminds me of this patient https://patents.google.com/patent/US5876351 relating to the use of the GameBoy in ECGs (something I believe was actually applied in the German market). There is even a presentation citing ECG software with custom hardware here https://webpages.uncc.edu/~jmconrad/ECGR6185-2013-01/Presentations/Chitale_Paper_Presentation.pdf

      I often see people disregard these sort of things because it was sold as an entertainment system for children but the belts and braces of it is that the GameBoy was/is a decent ARM based machine with great battery life and built like a god damned tank!

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        I was just at the Louvre and they use a Nintendo 3DS for their entertainment guide. Cheap to replace, easy to program for, durable since it’s designed for kids to drop, built-in wifi and update mechanisms; probably the best choice you could make in proprietary hardware.

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          Actually, in 2011, Nintendo and Satoru Iwata (RIP) were really into 3DS and interactive museum. Nintendo gifted 5000 to the Louvre and helped develop the software for its use as a audio guide. As a volunteer in a computer and video game museum, that sounds like the perfect solution for us. However, I am not sure we can convince Nintendo to be that generous to us.

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            I figured it had to be some kind of partnership but didn’t realize it was that intense. Maybe not Nintendo, but I’m sure you could find homebrew game developers who could set you up with a system (and used Nintendo DSes to hopefully keep the spend down) that would work for your museum.

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          Game Boy and Game Boy Colour were not ARM-based, they used a Z80 clone with some operations removed built by Sharp. The Game Boy Advance was the first ARM-based Nintendo handheld, based on the ARM7TDMI, and included a full Z80 chip for Game Boy backwards compatibility.

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            gbcpu is not “a Z80 clone with some operations removed”. This is a mistake that has propagated forever.

            As far as we know, we (#gbdev) think it was based on some “core” Sharp has for many custom jobs. The actual chip name is LR35902 and should always be referenced as this, or as “gbcpu” or similar.

            included a full Z80 chip

            No. They included the gbcpu, actually some gbc revision. There is a good chance it will not play some original Game Boy games (I say “good chance” because I have no references, but I’m pretty sure this is fact).

            I will be happy to answer any more questions. I love this little device for the nostalgia factor, its history, simple architecture, cheap price point, and retrocoding.

            If people made software today like they did during those times, we would have blazing fast applications and way better battery life. It is sad in a way. Our phones could probably run so much longer.

            I’m waiting for the day someone also creates an avr-like handheld.

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              Sorry for oversimplifying. As far as I understood though, the LR35902 is a Z80 derivative with certain operations missing (and a few others added). If this is wrong, could you point to some documentation of how exactly an LR35902 differs from the Z80/8080?

              I recently got an ODROID GO, which is a Gameboy-like handheld with a backlit color LCD and an ESP32, which is a really nice MCU with WiFi, Bluetooth and a bunch of GPIO neatly exposed in a sturdy enclosure.

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                If you google “The Ultimate Game Boy Talk”, there is a diagram in it that shows exactly what is missing and what is extra :)

                It is not a derivative though. It’s simply based on some internal core Sharp re-uses. As I said, this is misinformantion that has been casually spread for a long time now.

                Another extremely similar chip from Sharp is SM8521. http://pdf.datasheetcatalog.com/datasheet/Sharp/mXuyzuq.pdf

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              You’re right. I was thinking of the GameBoy SP with its ARMv7 :)

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                Not trying to be a smart ass, but ARM7TDMI is (confusingly) an ARMv4 core, ARMv7 is a newer architecture used by ARM Cortex cores.

                I will never understand why ARM chose this confusing naming for their cores & architectures, but there it is.

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                  I did not know that. It’s quite interesting to see the internal workings of these devices; especially with what they were able to achieve with them at the time.

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            What a cool bit of history!