This Cardboard Game Boy Advance Actually Works

Nintendo hasn’t made the Game Boy Advance SP since 2008, but some still work. YouTube creator Peter Knetter put that to the test by converting the shell of one into carboard. He took it apart and cut out pieces of cardboard to match the original case and buttons. Then mounted the electronics back in. He took it for a test drive playing Tony Hawk’s Underground. It still works, surprising even him.  

The video, which we found on Technabob, follows a standard outline for makers. Knetter tinkers, makes mistakes, improvises tools, rejects ideas, and is amused by his own creativity. He is all of us when searching for the seemingly innumerable hidden screws holding the console together. And yet he manages not to burn himself on the hot glue gun.  

A man's hands using a glue gun to make a Gameboy Advance shell out of cardboard
Peter Knetter

The craft is made of all cardboard in the end, plus one wooden skewer in the hinge. Before turning it on to see if it still functions, Knetter declares, “I don’t think this is going to work correctly. It’s made of cardboard!” And yet, moments later, he is playing Tony Hawk’s Underground on his cardboard creation! 

Knetter is clearly big into video games. The background of his workspace displays lots of figures and toys, everything from Mario to Animal Crossing. Including a whole shelf of Spyro the Dragon plushies of various sizes. 

A man's hands holding a Gameboy Advance shell made out of cardboard
Peter Knetter

There’s lots of amazing makers out there using cardboard as a medium. Check out this Mario Kart hovercraft and  epic marble track from DanCreator. Or the Cardboard Superheroes exhibit at the San Diego Comic-Con Museum. Meanwhile, the best thing I can do with cardboard boxes is recycle them. 

Melissa is Nerdist’s science & technology staff writer. She never advanced past Game Boy Tetris. Melissa also moderates “science of” panels at conventions and co-hosts Star Warsologies, a podcast about science and Star Wars. Follow her on Twitter @melissatruth. 

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