There are lots of little machines and platforms for making and playing your own games now; various colour LCD MakeCode Arcade machines, the Arduino-based Arduboy which uses a tiny but crisp black and white OLED display as well as the more advanced Pimoroni 32blit Kickstarter. There are probably more I’m not aware of.
A colleague recently showed me the Micro:Gamer. This really neat board turns a micro:bit into an Arduboy. It contains a battery pack, buzzer, power switch, 6 buttons and an OLED display of exactly the type I’ve been experimenting with on micro:bits.
Using the Arduino IDE with extra libraries installed, you flash modified Arduboy games onto a micro:bit which then acts a bit like a game cartridge – plug them into the top of the Micro:Gamer, and get playing.
It occurred to me that I had most of the bits to make my own Micro:Gamer lying around. It really would have been much easier to buy a real one but it was fun to reverse-engineer the board using a mixture of the source code and staring really hard at the PCB tracks in the photos to work out which pins all the buttons and speaker use. Here’s what I made…
I then managed to get a 3D first person shooter working – quite amazing, I think, that a micro:bit can produce these graphics. There’s a lot of power hidden in the humble :bit!
I finally added the rest of the buttons and improved the layout to make it slightly more ergonomic!