Game Boy Color Pushpin MIDI Synthesizer

Hardware MIDI control, full-blown synthesizer, all from a Game Boy Color. Christmas lights not included.

Want that vintage-y goodness of a real Game Boy’s sound, but want new-fangled color and MIDI? Pushpin is for you. First introduced seven years ago, it’s finally been released. Brian Whitman writes:

Hi, thought you’d like to know that Noah and I have finally released Pushpin, which turns your Game Boy Color into a fully controllable MIDI synthesizer. It’s a ROM download and parts list to build the cable. We first finished it in September 2000 but are finally getting around to releasing it, open source and free.

Pushpin includes:

  • ROM file, to be flashed to a cartridge
  • Instructions for a cable that connects GBC’s link port to MIDI (standard DIN)
  • Receives 90 MIDI Control Changes, note messages, pitch bend, program changes
  • Four channels, multi-timbral

In other words, Pushpin makes your Game Boy into a full-blown hardware synth. Awesome.

Pushpin Project Release Page

Someone can feel free to just leave me the parts in a stocking, and I’ll have a happy Christmas Day.

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  • eS

    Sounds wonderful…but DIY noobs like me are left out.

    I swear I'd pay for a pre-built one:-(

  • Man I was about to make a snarky comment about this being vaporware, but it was actually released?!?!

    This was what first drew my attention to gameboy music in the first place, and its rad to see it released. ill have to use a spare flash cart to try it out!

    move over midines! Does it work on a gameboy SP?

  • eS

    nope, they say it works only on the color because it needs "to access the link port at MIDI baud, which requires a faster processor than the original or Pocket Game Boy".

    Unfortunately, they add that "Pushpin will not do very much on an emulator. It will also not work on a Gameboy Advance or Nintendo DS."

    …but I still want it badly! :-0

  • But thats weird, because a gameboy advance running a classic gameboy color should basically be a gameboy color.. it has all the same internal hardware any everything (this is why cgameby cart support died in the gba micro).

    Perhaps they mean a gba flash cart as opposed to a regular gbc flash cart?

  • An actual GBC is an absolute requirement.

    The original GB or pocket can't go fast enough.

    The GBA does not have the digital input on pin 4.

    Both of those are required.


  • Brian-

    Thanks for the clarity

    Guess its time for one of these:

  • max_headwound

    Awesome… Maybe now I'll put something on my cart besides LSDJ? Thanks for the link!

  • eS

    Well, there are some other roms worth flashing on your cart, like






    Muddy GB

    …but I still want Pushpin!!!


  • Subvert

    Wow, for someone who has been following the gameboy music scene for as long as I have, this is amazing news. For years, Pushpin has been the ugly stepchild of diy gameboy development because it looked so promising and because it was moving nowhere for so long. Congrats on the accomplishment!

  • This is really cool. I remember nanoloop but this is taking it to another level.

    You can check out some other cool Nintendo mods at my site

  • Antony
  • Antony

    I got some pcs of the LED Front lights for my game boys series and changed the backlight into a front light, it was a great.

    Hope this will helpful to you.

  • Antony

    I got some pcs of the LED Front lights for my game boys series and changed the backlight into a front light, it was a great.

    Hope this will helpful to you.