The Circuit Sword

An overview / review
Posted By Ben - 27th Mar 2018

About a year and a half ago I wrote about building a custom portable gaming device using the shell from a Nintendo Gameboy and the tiny Raspberry Pi Zero. This new article talks about the next evolution of this, the Circuit Sword.

The Circuit Sword is a circuit board thats designed to be dropped in to a Gameboy housing that allows you to install and play games using RetroPie. With minimal soldering and just some basic shell modification you'll be all set.

Designed and developed by @kiteretro, the Circuit Sword is a marvel to look at - to think this is a hobby product is a testament to the skill of Kite and others out there. The device sports many features, including: HDMI, USB-C Charing, Wifi, Status LEDs, Safe Shutdown, Headphone Jack, Bluetooth and much more. Powered by a Raspberry Pi 3 (Using the compute module), almost everything is plug 'n play - it's a breeze to install, setup and use.

Circuit Sword - Inside and outside The Circuit Sword

Sales of the device are done in waves, understandable for a home/hobby product as this ensures Kite only orders the boards he knows he's sold. You'll see announcements of each new wave appear in the For Sale section of the Sudomod forums. Once ordered, you then just need to source a few items:

  • A Battery
  • A Gameboy Shell
  • Some Extra Gameboy Buttons
  • A screen cover (Glass looks best)
  • 3D printed screen holder

All of these you could purchase via the Sudomod forums, or alternativly via online shops (Deadpan Robot, Galaxy Gaming, Kitsch Bent, Handheld Legend, etc).

The order process can take quite a while as manufacturing doesn't actually start until the end of the pre-order process - but don't let that deter you, this is a hell of a device and well worth the wait. I placed our order in November and we recieved the unit in February.

The build process is very simple and can be done in a couple of hours (Assuming you've already prepared your housing). After testing everything it's a matter of securing your screen using the 3D printed bracket (Not included - remember to purchase or print one!), securing your power button (I did this purely with hot glue, but there is a 3D printed bracket hovering around that would also work well), securing your side board (This has a USB port and either a HDMI port or a Volume Wheel, depending on what you order). That's it! Really!

To review the final assembled product, well, it's safe to say I'm blown away. The device is fast, works exactly as intended, and the signal to the screen gives a fantasticly clear image thats comfortable to look at. The audio is clear, the fit to the case is millimeter perfect - I just can't say anything bad about the hardware or how it performs. True, ordering might not be the fastest process in the world, but once it arrives you forget all about the wait.

Circuit Sword - Test Fitting Testing the components and fitting the screen

Circuit Sword - Back board and Main board Fitting the back boards and the main board

Circuit Sword The final product, all complete