Developed by National Engineering School of Saint-Etienne student Aurélien Rodot, Gamebuino is a retro-inspired, pocket-sized game console built around an ATmega328 microcontroller (MCU). No larger than a credit card, the successfully crowdfunded device gives a whole new meaning to portable gaming. With its metallic and vintage appearance, it will surely spark up some technostalgia of the Gameboy Advance of the early 2000s.
As its site explains, Gamebuino is a true turnkey solution that enables Makers of all ages to begin creating their own 8-bit games, even with very little programming knowledge. For those advanced users, Rodot has made it open-source, hackable and expandable.
“That’s what I love about Gamebuino, it’s easy enough for beginners to start playing with immediately but restrictive enough to provide a decent challenge to those willing to push the hardware to its limit,” Rodot writes. “Because everybody doesn’t know electronics and C++, explained examples of increasing complexity will help you to learn seamlessly.”
“To make things even easier, a full library to help you develop games is included. You want to display a keyboard? Simply use keyboard()! You wanna rock out a fancy 4-channel music in the background while blasting and dashing through your level? Just call play(tetris)!”
The project’s library allows a Maker to start programming their game in minutes, while the console is shipped ready-to-operate right out of the box. However, for those with an innovative side, the device’s extension ports offer complete customization by adding modules or connecting several Gamebuino consoles to play against your friends.
“You can use you Gamebuino as an interface for any electronic system: as a controller, a monitor, a data-logger, a console, or whatever. Connect it with your computer, your 3D printer, or your last robotic project… the only limit is your imagination!”
Aside from Atmel’s ATmega328 MCU, key project specs include:
- 84*48px monochrome display + auto backlight
- Magnetic speaker, four channels
- Arrows + A B C buttons (input)
- 1x micro USB, 1x micro SD card, 2x I2C
- 24h life, 240mAh LiPo battery, charged via USB
Rodot also noted that Gamebuino supports multiplayer gaming via daisy-chaining (I2C ports), as well as accelerometers, wireless communication and additional outputs with plug-in modules. “Gamebuino is compatible with any I2C module. You can find some of them from Seeed Studio’s Grove System or Tinkerkit. They even have the right connector,” Rodot added.
As you can imagine, the handheld device was a hit on Indiegogo back in April 2014. The engineering student had garnered well over his original crowdfunding goal of €3,141 — raising 10 times the amount! Now for only €35, the initial batch of consoles are selling like hotcakes, with more than 1,000 customers worldwide spanning from North America to Europe.
Interested in learning more or ordering your very own Gamebuino? Hurry on over out the project’s official page here.