For many nostalgic gamers, the ultimate version of Tetris is still the Game Boy! At the time, Nintendo even thought of a local multiplayer mode, which allowed two players to compete locally. A hacker has found a way to create a multi mode… online.
If the Game Boy, Nintendo’s first portable console, left such a lasting memory to all those who have rubbed shoulders with it, it is thanks to games like Tetris! The title demonstrated that it only takes a simple but eye-catching concept to glue gamers for hours and hours in front of a small monochrome screen.
A complex DIY
Tetris offered a local multi mode, where two players could compete with the help of a cable (the famous Game Link) connecting two Game Boy. But obviously, no online multi mode was imagined and for good reason, the internet was still in its infancy in the early 90s and Wi-Fi simply did not exist. This is where handyman Stacksmashing comes in.
The latter connected to the Game Link port of the console a USB adapter based on a Raspberry Pi Pico. All this allows the Game Boy to connect to the internet, which allows one or more players to face the user online at Tetris! The hack works with the entire Game Boy family, including the GBA and the Game Boy Pocket.
DIY is not within the reach of the first comer. After studying how a Game Link cable works and how it transfers data, Stacksmashing developed open source software including a Python server and a front-end WebUSB. All this deceives the Game Boy who believes that two players are interacting with each other when in fact, several players are involved.