PC Engine
Image: Damien McFerran / Time Extension

Today (July 21st) the retro developer Chris Covell revealed the Hu-Boy to the world, a new work-in-progress Game Boy emulator for the PC EngineCD/SuperGrafx.

The emulator, of course, won't be the most useful thing for many players reading this, with a ton of more accurate Game Boy emulators already available on more accessible hardware. However, the concept is certainly attention-grabbing and impressive when you consider the two pieces of hardware contain different 8-bit CPUs with varying registers, clock speeds, and instruction sets.

According to Covell, this "fever dream" of an idea was born back in November 2022, while he was recovering at home after an operation (and under heavy medication) and since then, he has been working away on the emulator. Along with the announcement made earlier today, he has also published a rough work-in-progress version of the emulator available online, so that others can start experimenting with it and trying out their favourite Game Boy demos and games to see whether they are able to work or not.

Here's a list of some of its main features taken from Covell's site:

  • All CPU instructions emulated (no guarantees about accuracy!)
  • No promises about speed. It's not fast.
  • MBC1 cartridge mapper emulation, supporting cartridges <1 MByte in ROM / <192 KByte for CD-ROM version
  • Basic sound emulation (frequency, volume sweep, wave channel, and pulse/noise channels)
  • DMG BG & sprite palette emulation, with separately adjustable palettes
  • Background layer, scrolling, per-scanline scrolling emulated
  • Window layer simulated but with some limitations
  • GB sprites, both 8x8 and 8x16, tile-flipping.
  • An options screen with plenty of controls to change speed/accuracy, enable/disable features

If you are interested in trying it out for yourself, you'll need either the CD attachment for the PC Engine/TurboGrafx or a SuperGrafx, due to RAM requirements. You will find instructions on how to install the emulator on Covell's website or in this YouTube video, both of which go over all of the Hu-Boy's ins and outs.

[source chrismcovell.com, via twitter.com]