Hand-Held Legend DIY Modding Blog – Hand Held Legend, LLC


Game Boy Advance Frontlight Perfection Kyle C. - August 18 2016, 0 Comments

A simple adjustment of the game boy advance frontlight panel will give you a perfect installation with no hot-spots. Just remove some plastic below, readjust your reflective strip and you are good to go! Using a good razor and x-acto knife makes this mod a lot easier.

When you place the LCD on top of the loca, make sure its in the right spot at the top of the shell. You'll need to be careful here as you want don't want the LCD in the wrong spot after your loca is cured.

Is the Game Boy a Computer? Colin (This Does Not Compute) - June 06 2016, 0 Comments

This is the first post in an occasional series by Colin from This Does Not Compute.

One of the things that has always interested me are devices that should be computers, but aren't really. We generally think of "computers" as multi-purpose systems, things that run an operating system and applications. But there are tons of devices out there that have processors and RAM but don't really run an operating system in the traditional sense. What is one very famous example of this that we are all familiar with? The Nintendo Game Boy series, specifically the original Game Boy, Game Boy Pocket, and Game Boy Color, sometimes referred to as the "DMG", "MGB" and "GBC" respectively.

I recently ran across the RealBoy emulator project (https://realboyemulator.wordpress.com). There are plenty of Game Boy emulators out there and this one isn't really any different... except for this excellent blog series that explains in depth how the original DMG works. It's meant as a primer in order to understand how the emulator's code works, but it's also an amazing look at the underlying hardware.

In short, the architecture of the Game Boy is pretty simple -- processor, RAM, and ROM. The first two reside in the console itself while the ROM (and some more RAM) is in the game cartridge. There's only a small amount of permanent code in the Game Boy hardware, basically just enough to get the device to perform an initial cartridge check. (The check is, in a way, a form of DRM; it makes sure that the game was licensed by Nintendo and not independently released).

The CPU is perhaps the most interesting part of the system. In the DMG, it's a Sharp LR35902. By all appearances it's a custom part, and in many ways it is, but designing an entire processor from the ground up just for a hand-held game system (or any game system at all really) isn't cost effective. So the Game Boy's CPU is actually based on the Zilog Z80, which was at that time -- and still is -- a common 8-bit processor. The Z80 itself was actually a binary-compatible version of the Intel 8080; not necessarily a clone, but capable of executing all the same instructions. There were some additions to the Z80 beyond that of the 8080, but the custom Sharp CPU wasn't just a rebadged Z80. It actually leveraged parts from both processor architectures, while omitting anything that wasn't relevant to a game console.

What to me at least, makes the Game Boy more of a device than a computer is that there was no traditional operating system layer, firmware, or anything standing in the way between the game and the hardware. After that initial check, the CPU simply ran any instructions presented to it by the game. Modern games are written using a high-level programming language like C, but older games were written in machine language telling the CPU exactly what to do and when. In some ways, the game itself was an operating system. (This is also partially why emulators aren't perfect -- you have to write high-level code that mimics how hardware works, whereas modern games, already written in a high-level language, can simply be ported to another platform)

You might be most surprised by the lineage of the Intel 8080. It was originally designed in 1974 (along with the Z80), and made its way into early PCs and even some arcade games like Space Invaders. But the 8080 also was the basis for subsequent Intel processors, like the 8086. The 8086 is where we get the common computer term "x86", as it spawned the 286, 386 and 486 CPUs. Those of course led to the Pentium series, and on to the modern processors we use in our computers today. It's crazy to think that in 1989 when it was released, the Game Boy actually shared some similarities with computers running Windows. It is in its own right, a computer... that also isn't.

This Does Not Compute is a YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/c/thisdoesnotcompute) about gaming, content creation and all things technology. Colin can be reached on Twitter @thisdoesnotcomp (https://www.twitter.com/thisdoesnotcomp) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/thisdoesnotcomp).

New Low International Shipping Rates!! Starting at $7.99*!! Kyle C. - June 06 2016, 0 Comments

We have partnered with an international shipping wholesaler to dramatically lower our prices for international shipments to ALL countries. Shipments will start at $7.99 ($6.99* for Canadian customers) and will increase by weight. Customers in the shipping zones below will have access to the eCom Packet, while customers outside of this zone will have packages designated as eCom IPA.

Globegistics is the name of the company we have partnered with. You will no longer see "First Class International" shipping options to the list of countries above. The shipment type "eCom Packet" will replace this method. The time table for international shipments can be found below. The "Avg. # days" is from the time the item arrives at the shipping warehouse which can be 2-3 days after the item is marked as "shipped". Although shipping times may be a little longer, the cost savings for customers will make our products more widely available to the international community.

ePacket and eCom IPA
Country Avg. # days
Australia  AU 8.52
Belgium BE 7.15
Brazil BR 8.83
Canada CA 5.67
Croatia HR 5.48
Denmark DK 6.41
Estonia EE 7.33
Finland FI 6.25
France FR 5.86
Germany DE 4.89
Gibraltar GI 9.44
Hungary HU 5.78
Ireland IE 3.91
Israel IL 7.23
Italy IT 9.46
Latvia LV 5.98
Lithuania LT 6.13
Luxembourg LU 6.33
Malaysia MY 8.28
Malta MT 5.50
Netherlands NL 5.40
New Zealand NZ 5.61
Portugal PT 6.38
Singapore SG 7.16
Spain ES 5.03
Sweden SE 4.33
Switzerland CH 4.72
UK UK 5.39


Game Boy DMG Button Color Choices PLEASE COMMENT Colin (This Does Not Compute) - June 04 2016, 0 Comments

We are choosing the color set for the new DMG buttons. Here is what we have so far. Please comment and suggest other colors that you want to see:


So far we have removed these colors : 

And Added:

  •  Pink
  • Clear Blue 
  • Clear Green
  • DMG Gray


DMG 2 Part Buttons Update Kyle C. - June 02 2016, 0 Comments

Just a pic of the samples. Comments appreciated. Looks like this plastics supplier is doing a 10x better job than the previous. These are sweet.

Of course I switch the A/B buttons before closing her up. Modding mistakes!! lol

$5 International Shipping? New Partner Possibilities Kyle C. - May 27 2016, 0 Comments

Nearly $14 to ship internationally is a big turn away for many international buyers. We are currently looking into a company that can help use get out cost way way down maybe even to the $5 USD mark. So stay tuned and comment about your interest.Thanks for reading.

Fixing Game Boy Frontlight LOCA Mistakes Kyle Capel - May 26 2016, 0 Comments

"Maybe your Game Boy frontlight installation with LOCA didn't go right -- let's take a look at what's involved in trying again and preventing problems to begin with".

Check out this new video from Colin at This Does Not Comp about how to fix some mistakes when applying LOCA to the Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance Frontlights. Some tips include reducing bubbles, removing a frontlight with LOCA that has already been applied, what LOCA to use and other tips to help make your modding experience even better.

Some of our users report being able to reuse the panel after removal if you are careful not to gouge the frontlight when removing. There is no harm in reapplying if it does not work out. Other users have reported shining a bright led through the panel before curing to reveal hidden bubbles in the LOCA underneath the panel.

Thanks for watching. Please help out this awesome channel by subscribing and giving this video a thumbs up on YouTube.


DMG 2-Part Button Sneak Peek 2 | More Pics Kyle Capel - April 16 2016, 1 Comment

Exciting new DMG 2 part buttons for the enthusiast and casual modder alike, paint the detail underneath for an even higher wow factor. Left pics are first rough draft followed by refined second draft. Production coming soon.

Sneak Peek | Premium DMG Button Set Kyle Capel - April 09 2016, 1 Comment

HHL is preparing to create a custom DMG button set that is set apart from you average solid ABS replacement buttons. A 12 cavity mold will form this 6 piece set to create buttons never seen before. The top button caps will be clear and allow for viewing of the raised "A", "B", and textured "D-pad" underneath. Limited colors will be available but we do hope to extend the color line in the future. Expectations for this product is set for early summer.

Game Boy Pocket Bivert Installation and Comparison Kyle C. - March 17 2016, 0 Comments

 Game Boy Pocket Bivert with Backlight

In the community of Game Boy modding, the bivert modification has been a staple when improving the quality and clarity of the Game Boy Original (DMG). Many think that this modification is not necessary with the Game Boy Pocket (MGB) due to the increased resolution of the LCD itself; a noticeable improvement of the DMG. Although the screen does look better without any modifications when compared to its predecessor, adding a Hand Held Legend bivert module to your MGB will give you the best LCD clarity ever achieved on this console.

Game Boy Pocket Bivert Wire Set Up with Backlight

Installation is a bit tricker than the the installing a made-to-fit module for the DMG but this module still helps the average user to complete an easier and less frustrating mod when compared to the hex-inverter chip alone. You'll need some extra wires (28 gauge) and the backlight installation is required to achieve a normal look, but there isn't much different between the DMG and the MGB installation procedures themselves. The solder points on the Game Boy Pocket's logic board are something you'll have to deal with as they are a bit more complex than the DMG and require more precise soldering. We recommend you start with the DMG installation if you are a beginner as this will help you improve your soldering skills. Despite these challenges you can still get a strong bond and solid installation. 

Here is a video that one of our customers did comparing the differences between a non-biverted MGB console and a newly biverted one. Notice that the biverted screen, although approximately equal in resolution, is bolder, nicer and just plain easier to view.

For installation instructions, take look at This Does Not Compute's video showing you the step-by-step process or check out the instructions page for more info. Although this is not necessarily a difficult modification, it may take you some more time as you need to cut, strip and tin multiple wires that run the length of the console.

In the end, you will be happy you completed the bivert mod on a Game Boy Pocket and you'll have had some fun doing so in the process!


... ...