“My name is Anthony Hom and I am U.S. chiptune modder from Southern California. I first got into the chiptune scene after watching the documentary “Reformat the Planet” in early 2011. After being blown away by the work of 2 Player Productions, I dug through my old shipping boxes from Japan for his old soldering iron, ordered a DMG from eStarland.com, an 1/8” prosound kit from Nonfinite Electronics and never looked back.
I had to open and re-mod my first DMG six times in order to get my first prosound mod to work properly. The Gameboy shell didn’t even close properly. I showed all my friends at school and I didn’t even know how to use LSDj.
I remember back when you could still browse forums at 8BC and order Bleep Bloop carts with flashing LEDs in the cartridge case from Nonfinite. Backlight kits with 2 LEDs were still available for anyone to purchase. At that time the commercially available backlight kits weren’t the “slim-type” which all backlight kits are now. You had to snip off tiny component legs sticking out of the PCB from behind the Gameboy LCD to keep them from making pressure points on the screen when you closed everything up. Backlights were much thicker, didn’t run any built-in resistors that were optimized for different colors, and had metal legs sticking out of them from the LEDs. The backlights weren’t evenly lit, you had pressure points in the corners and it was really hard for perfectionist modders to deal with.
Back in 2011 Thetris and Capcomposer were still painting console cases, TVDeathSquad was still active on the forums, NeX was still modding Gameboys. NeX is my biggest inspiration as a modder. He’s a really humble guy and his work just blew my mind. I poured over his blog, photos and build posts just drooling at everything he was able to shove into a DMG, GBP, GBC and GBA SP. It was insane.
For a few months my only exposure to the chiptune scene was strictly via online forums. I posted on 8BC, a once active forum where chiptune musicians and enthusiasts worldwide would log into, and asked if there were any chiptune artists in San Diego. Jesse Escobar (Auburn Kitsune) informed me that Mike Charak (Bleeds) and Patrick Trinh (Space Town) were based in San Diego. Soon after finding them on social media, Mike contacted and invited me to a local artists show at the Che Café at University of California San Diego.
That night I met a group of people who would turn out to be some of my best friends and friends for life. Mike and Patrick played chiptune sets and I was floored listening to sounds that were coming from Gameboys and being spit out through PA speakers. If you ask them about that show, I’m pretty sure they’ll tell you that it wasn’t the highlight performance of their lives, but I was entranced and blown away. You always remember your first chiptune show and how exciting it was listening to something so different and so familiar.
I remember back in the day there were very few and obscure resources online when it came to modding Gameboys and accessories. A webpage that I frequented for reference was http://blog.xero.nu/gameboy_prosound_mod for prosounding a DMG. Michael J. Moffit’s (Bibin), NeX’s, and Low-Gain’s blogs were also resources I used for information on how to mod different types of Gameboys. Those were some of the only resources we had, and a lot of the tutorials weren’t fleshed out or explained completely. There was a lot of time for innovation back then. I wish I took a few pictures of some of my prototype accessories. I had made an external prosound attachment with link capabilities housed inside a Gameboy Advance Wireless Adapter. I was also making an ultimate DMG inspired by NeX that housed a Mega Memory Card coupled with an N64 Transfer Pack connector inside a DMG.
I had started a youtube page a number of years ago with the purpose of showing how I do my mods and educating others. It has since not been updated since I have moved overseas. The link is www.youtube.com/willworkforric3.
When I started modding, I wanted it to be a side gig where I could earn a little extra money. One December I made US$1400 in sales from buying/modding/selling Gameboys on eBay. After being in chiptune scene and meeting the people, I changed how I looked at modding. I started modding for cost of parts and I didn’t charge for labor. I felt that if I really wanted to contribute to the scene positively and if I really believed in what chiptune stood for, I needed to get these Gameboys into the hands of up and coming chiptune artists. I started taking commissions from 8BC and CM.o and I only charged for parts and shipping.
I went through 3 different revisions of what wires to use and 4 different revisions of what audio jacks to use. The chiptune scene is full of people who use Gameboys to make music. I saw sellers on eBay trying to sell backlit and 1/8” prosound DMGs for US$140+. It was ridiculous and I felt that these people were trying to make a buck off of decent people. I fought back with giving high quality mods and equipment back to the scene at cost. I have modded Gameboys for Bleeds, Space Town (Savior), Wizwars, Dasid, Computeher, Jiffypop23, chiptuners in South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. I felt that during the time that I was very active modding for the scene, that I did contribute positively to it.
My Chiptune Modder Senpais include NeX, Bibin, Trash80, Xero, Low-Gain and Simon Schäfer. Thank you for paving the way and inspiring me with your innovations to chiptune and encouraging me for my own modding journey. Please notice me.
I currently work as an English teacher in Taiwan. There really isn’t much of a retro gaming scene here for a number of reasons, but I will get to that in a future article. Trying to find a good condition Gameboy at a local 2nd hand store here is as hard as trying to find a Gameboy Micro at a Goodwill back in the USA. Due to the lack of access to Gameboys and a non-existent chiptune scene here in Taiwan, I have since stopped modding actively. I do mod Gameboys from time to time for friends who are local to me, but it has all but come to a grinding halt. I am currently focusing on composing LSDj tracks, going under the name of Bananasan, and contributing to Mikee’s and Max’s project. I have a number of tech articles I am planning on writing for this site. Stay tuned.
You can find me on CM.o under the screen name katsumbhong, and I have made Gameboy related posts around the internet as soondubu, bananasan, willworkforice or willworkforic3.“