Tetris has entered the history of the gaming industry, and in the past few years it has contributed significantly to the success of Nintendo’s Game Boy. The players, at the time, enjoyed confronting each other locally, but today finding a challenger is a difficult undertaking to say the least.
Stacksmashing, Twitter user and YouTuber already known for various hacking and homebrewing jobs, has recently turned his attention to the Game Boy, a console that now carries more than 30 years on his back, to be able to integrate online multiplayer capabilities within Tetris, which as mentioned allowed to interact between two users only locally via tethering.
The idea was born from the Stackmashing experiments with theBitcoin mining directly from the Game Boy, which required the development of a custom PCB (a printed circuit board) connected to a Raspberry Pi Pico that would allow the handheld console link port to connect to a standard USB port. The Game Boy who starts the online heads-up becomes the game server, sending a list of predetermined tetrominoes for each player and keeping track of which user first deletes 30 lines or who first reaches the top of the screen and loses the game.
To realize its ingenious idea, Stackmashing created two custom programs: a local client to run on a computer the Game Boy is connected to via the USB adapter, and an online game server that serves as a virtual replacement for the main Game Boy: both are available for download on GitHub. The server sets up games, assigns the tetrominoes list, configures which version of the Tetris theme will play, tracks game progress, and provides custom passcodes that remote players can use to join a game.