Huge Game Boy brings huge donations for sick children’s fundraiser

They wanted to stir childhood memories to increase donations, so Calgary gamers Andrew Smith and Curtis Braham went big.

“It’s about 4½-feet tall, just over nine times the size of an actual Game Boy,” Smith told CBC News.

He’s talking about a labour of love that took nine months of working nights and weekends in his garage. Game Boy is Nintendo’s first-generation handheld video game that hit the shelves in 1989.

It’s designed to take people back to their formative years.

“It’s iconic. A lot of people will resonate with the Game Boy. It’s a lot of our childhoods and that sort of thing. Obviously Pokémon, every kid my age grew up playing Pokémon, watching Pokémon.”

Smith and Braham tried to keep things as authentic as possible.

“We actually had all of the colours actually matched at the paint store,” Smith explained.

“When you look at a Game Boy, you really want to make sure these ratios work out, for the buttons to the D-pad, as well as with the speakers,” he said.

“We used a Raspberry Pi computer because they are small and cheap. We also used a joystick microcontroller here, as well as arcade buttons, so all of the buttons on the front are actually mapped to arcade buttons, which lead to a microcontroller, which goes to the Raspberry Pi. That goes to the TV via HDMI. We also have a 3.5 mm sound jack that goes to a car amplifier.

“We actually have household wiring set up for the power, inclusive of the power switch, the iconic off/on switch.”

Braham says the work paid off, exceeding his expectations.

“I think it’s pretty close. I honestly had no idea that this would be, it would be like, this real. But it’s insane how close it is to an actual Game Boy. I am very impressed with how it turned out. I am super excited, super excited,” Braham said.

And people who donated to the 24-hour gaming marathon fundraiser this past weekend were super excited, too. Smith and Braham’s team donated around $14,000, which goes to Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary.

The campaign runs until the end of the year.


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