Some of our younger readers may not have ever used cell phones from the Y2K era, so allow us to bring you up to speed: they were bad. You likely already know that they didn’t have touchscreens or app stores, but the past was much more bleak than just being denied Angry Birds. Phones like the Nokia 5110, lovingly (or maybe bittery) nicknamed “the Brick,” had tiny black on green screens, the audio range of a fire alarm, and the heft of a …brick.
So, it’s pretty amazing that the people over at the Science Nurd YouTube channel were able to actually play modern video games and watch real movies on the 5110’s screen. We’re talking about a phone that came out before most cell carriers even offered text messaging. The idea of watching a movie on one would have been unthinkable at the time.
They were able to pull this off by connecting everyone’s favorite development board: an Arduino. Really, all of the phone’s original electronics are being bypassed. It appears that the Arduino is acting as an intermediary between a PC and the Nokia 5110 screen.
But, the result is a lot of fun to watch. The screen only has a resolution of 84x48 monochrome pixels, so even making out what’s happening on the screen is a challenge. Their videos demonstrate this with Grand Theft Auto V, as well as a couple of movies like Spider-Man and The Matrix.