Drop-In Zega Mame Gear II Board Upgrades Your Classic Sega Game Gear with a Raspberry Pi CM4

Designed to drop in to original or reproduction Game Gear shells, this CM4 carrier board is a powerful emulation station.

Gareth Halfacree
a year ago β€’ Retro Tech / Gaming

Pseudonymous maker "zarcadeuk" is preparing to launch a carrier board for the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 (CM4) with a difference: It drops directly into the shell of a Sega Game Gear handheld console.

"My idea was to use the Game Gear shell," zarcadeuk explains of the project, dubbed the Zega Mame Gear II. "There are plenty [of other] devices to choose from, but always loved the aesthetics of the Game Gear. No shell modifications needed. I've made it as simple as possible."

The carrier board is based around the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4, offering four Arm Cortex-A72 cores running at 1.5GHz and 1GB , 2GB, 4GB, or 8GB of LPDDR4 RAM alongside 0GB, 8GB, 16GB, or 32GB of eMMC storage. The board includes a 3.2" color LCD designed to sit behind the protective window of the Game Gear's shell, and uses the original buttons. Those who want to play games that need more than the standard two fire buttons have the option of drilling holes for an additional two, for a total of four.

A battery charging circuit is included, replacing the Game Gear's original six AA batteries β€” which depleted quickly, even on the original modest hardware β€” with USB Type-C charging. Two USB ports and a microSD card slot are broken out to an expansion board that sits where the cartridge slot would have been on the original Game Gear. An HDMI video output for big-screen gaming completes the feature set.

The board isn't ready yet, zarcadeuk admits, but has reached the point where pre-orders are available ahead of an expected October 2021 shipping date. More information is available on the project web store, where orders are open starting at Β£75 fully assembled with expansion and audio daughterboards (around $104.)

Additional details can be found on zarcadeuk's Reddit thread.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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