Homebrew Heroes

3D Printed Cartridges for Amstrad GX4000 Games Console

Amstrad GX4000

Vintage games console Amstrad GX4000 is brought roaring back to life, using custom 3D printed cartridges and emulation software. You can get this C4CPC cartridge printed right here.

BurninRubberThe beauty of the internet is how it caters for every interest. Did you know, for example, that there’s a burgeoning scene of enthusiasts for the Amstrad GX4000 games console? No, you probably didn’t.

The GX4000 is a home entertainment system that was manufactured by Amstrad in Europe in the early 1990s. It was the company’s spirited attempt to carve out a niche in the third generation games console market, competing with the likes of the Super Nintendo, the SEGA Mega Drive, and the Atari Jaguar.

Under the hood of the GX4000 was the same hardware architecture as Amstrad’s popular CPC computer line, based on 8-bit processing power. Competing against the 16-bit juggernauts from Japan, and lacking an equivalent game library, in hindsight it was inevitable that the GX4000 would flop hard. It sold only 15,000 units before Amstrad pulled the plug.

Fast forward three decades, however, and you’d be surprised to find that there’s a dedicated band of retro gaming fans who are keeping the spirit of the Amstrad GX4000 alive.


Amstrad GX4000 Revived with the C4CPC Project

C4CPC_CprSelectOur story begins with the CPCWiki forum, which describes itself as “the ultimate Amstrad CPC community”.

Forum member Gerald shared his cartridge replacement project for the GX4000, which allows for multiple game ROMS to be loaded onto an SD card and played via the cartridge slot.

The beauty of the hack is that not only can GX4000 owners play any of 27 games in the original console library, but also hundreds of classic Amstrad CPC games which the community had labored to convert into a readable cartridge image.

Gerald didn’t stop at writing the software and encoding the cartridge system, however. He also shared some STL files so that other members of the forum could 3D print a custom case to enclose the system. Without it, the circuitry poking out of the top of the console would be vulnerable to damage.

Members of the forum have since set about getting the case made, using either their own 3D printers or sending the files away to an online 3D printing service. They’ve also shared pictures of their 3D printed cartridges on the messageboard, and as you can see below the results are impressive.

For fans of gaming in the 8-bit era, and with fond memories of Amstrad CPC hardware in particular, this is an inspired way to preserve software from the golden age. Beloved titles like Operation Thunderbolt, Pang, Barbarian II and Laser Squad could potentially find a new audience!

What do you think of the C4CPC project? Are there any other retro games consoles that could benefit from a 3D printed cartridge system? Let us know in the comments.

amstrad GX4000