GAMBY Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ addresses general questions regarding GAMBY. For programming-specific questions, check the GAMBY Programming FAQ.

With what microcontroller boards is GAMBY compatible?
GAMBY was designed for use with the Arduino Uno (any revision), although most boards with an ATMega328 microcontroller should work (Uno, late-model Duemilanove, or a shield-compatible clone). Older boards using the ATMega168 (pre-2009 Duemilanove, Diecimila) may also work, but they do not have enough RAM to support all of GAMBY's features. GAMBY was designed to be hackable for use with other microcontroller boards, but only ATMega168/328-based Arduinos are officially supported. GAMBY's libraries are currently not compatible with other Arduino boards such as the Mega, Leonardo, Yśn, Due, Tre, et cetera. Adapter boards such as the TransmogriShield have not been tested but probably won't work.
Does GAMBY come with any games?
Yes! The GAMBY libraries come with three simple but playable example games. Other people have started developing games as well.
Can I get a fully-assembled GAMBY?
GAMBY is only available in kit form. If you can't assemble it yourself, see if there is a hackerspace in your area; perhaps someone there would be willing to do it for you. I recommend asking before buying a GAMBY kit, however.
What do I need to use GAMBY?
GAMBY is a shield (expansion board) and contains virtually no processing power of its own. It requires a microcontroller board to operate.
What do I need to build a GAMBY?
All you need are fairly standard electronics soldering tools, available from various online sellers or Radio Shack®. See the assembly instructions for more details.
Is GAMBY RoHS compliant?
Yes; the kit as a whole is RoHS (Reduction of Hazardous Substances) compliant by exemption. The board and all discrete components are themselves RoHS. The LCD is surplus 'new old stock' and its RoHS compliance has not been verified. However, since the LCD clips into place and is never soldered, any personal risk posed by the LCD's chemical makeup is vanishingly small. Still, do not lick or eat the LCD module.
How does GAMBY compare to a classic handheld like the GameBoy™?
GAMBY is to a GameBoy™ as a bicycle is to a motorcycle; they are similar in shape and purpose, but that's as far as it goes. The classic GameBoy™ is actually quite a sophisticated device, featuring a unique Z80-based CPU, a 4-level grayscale display and custom sound hardware. GAMBY, on the other hand, has a lower-resolution, monochrome display, rudimentary sound, and no on-board computing power; the Arduino's ATMega microcontroller on which it depends is (despite having a higher clock speed) much less powerful. The vague similarity in name is intended as a parody/homage.
Can I play GameBoy™ games on GAMBY?
No. As noted above, a 'real' GameBoy™ contains a much more powerful CPU, a better display and better audio.
Is GAMBY hard to build?
If you know how to solder electronics, no. GAMBY was designed to be easy to assemble, using almost entirely through-hole parts, so only basic soldering skill is required. The only surface-mount components are the backlight LEDs, but these are optional; the LCD is very readable in daylight.
I already have an LCD module like the one GAMBY uses; can I buy just the board and other parts?
At this point, I do not have any plan for selling partial kits. The cost of the LCD is minimal compared to the rest of the kit, so a kit without LCD is not significantly cheaper. It is worth noting that if you got your LCD module as part of a electronic component 'grab bag,' there is a good chance that it is damaged and won't work, anyway. If there is enough demand, I will consider it selling LCD-less kits later in the run.
Really, can I play GameBoy™ games on it?
Really, no. If you want to play vintage GameBoy™ games, get yourself a vintage GameBoy™.