Are you a retro gamer with an original Game Boy just lying around doing nothing? Well, firstly, shame on you — the Game Boy has a brilliant library of classics that you should be enjoying in any spare moment! Then again, perhaps you play your old-school monochrome games on a GBA, or maybe you’ve got multiple ‘Boys — Pockets, Lights, Colors — collecting dust around the house.
Well, YouTuber stacksmashing has decided to make use of the latent computing power sitting in the backs of drawers and cupboards all around the world. Yes, with the aid of a Raspberry Pi Pico serving as a Link Cable to USB adaptor, stacksmashing has managed to harness the massive power of the vintage handheld to chip away at the block.
This YouTuber has form when it comes to hacking Nintendo handheld hardware, including the Super Mario Game & Watch, but their latest project taps into the crypto-craze that’s gone mainstream over the last five years or so. Using the Raspberry Pi as a means to link the console to the Bitcoin Node, the cryptocurrency mining was done solely by the Game Boy itself, and — incredibly — it works.
However, as you might have guessed, it’s a little slower than the bleeding-edge graphics cards miners prefer to use for this sort of thing. As the video points out, you’ll be twiddling your thumbs for, oh, “a couple of quadrillion years” while you wait for your Game Boy to mine a single bitcoin. At the time of writing, a single Bitcoin is worth $57,861.60, so assuming humankind survives a couple of quadrillion years (presumably after evolving into some sort of lizard-humanoid hybrid and migrating from our solar system), it still might be worth digging out your old DMG-001. Then again, you might be lucky to break even given the cost of AA batteries to keep the console running.
Bitcoin, for those who don’t know, is a cryptocurrency that people ‘mine’ from big ‘blocks’ using ‘chains’, ‘hashes’ and, er, ‘nonces’. And high-end graphics cards because, well… erm, the better the graphics, the better the high-poly pickaxes used to mine bits from the block for the… coins? Yep. Nailed it.
If that in-depth description hasn’t cleared up the mysteries of cryptocurrencies, stacksmashing’s video below gives a brief overview that you might find handy (skip to 1:13).
Reckon daisy-chaining a few DMGs together could knock a few billion years off? How many years would it take if we unleashed the awesome power of the DS Phat? Let us know below.