If we talk about raspberry pie, we have in mind its usefulness for many projects, but since it is a board, we usually connect it to an external monitor. The same goes for the Raspberry Pi Pico, which is even smaller and even cheaper. In fact, its base price starts at a bit more 4 euroswhat if by adding a small screen TFT-LCD and those mechanical switcheswe can create one Raspberry Pico Pocket Gamer.
For many of us, handheld consoles don’t bring much nostalgia to this topic. And it is that, those of us who started our walks with a game boyBe the Color, Advance That is PS, we will remember the pleasant feeling of being able to play away from home with our handheld console. In those years we had very small screens, games with very basic graphics and lower capacity batteries than today. It is now possible to relive those old days, in the form of a console with retro aesthetics and at an unbeatable price, using a Raspberry Pi Pico.
Here is the Raspberry Pico Pocket Gamer, a console with mechanical switches
Here we can see what many may consider an interesting mod for the Raspberry Pi Pico, created by the developer Grgo Mariani. And that’s it, that’s used as the core of the pocket player, as it is the only hardware responsible for moving these future retro games. In fact, his RP2040 chipwhich consists on 2 ARM Cortex-M0+ cores a 133MHz, will be responsible for this task. With him we have 264 KB of SRAM, 2 MB by heart QSPI Flash Yes 2.4GHz 802.11n Wireless LAN. It may seem too underpowered, but it outperforms the Game Boys mentioned above. It is thus able to run very simple games like Snake or the Tetris, something that even cell phones from nearly two decades ago could do. But ignoring this, the project itself involves a very low costbecause the Raspberry Pi Pocket Gamer requires:
- A Raspberry Pi Pico
- A ILI9341 controller with XPT2046 touch module (the author uses the version of 3.2″)
- 5 switchespreferably mechanical
- As optional components, a button of 6mm and one pcb in addition
By telling you that the controller with a touch module that brings the 3.2 inch TFT LCD screen Cost 7 euros, while mechanical switches only add a few more dollars. So we have a Raspberry Pico Pocket Gamer for a few 20 euros or less. This, taking into account that the screen is touch-sensitive, because you can buy a version without this feature and save a few euros.
Includes 12 sets, but requires USB cable power
It is then that we see that as a prototype of a “portable console”, it does not benefit from the latest innovations, because does not use batteries. In fact, Mariani assures that at present it can only be powered via USB cable. So at least it should be possible to use a power bank to use it outside the home And this project was born so that your child can have fun playing with his Raspberry Pico. Thus, it includes a total of 12 games and appslike him three in a rowan application of Paintnail calculator and even versions of these for two players.
To make it all work, Mariani included a custom circuit board that she created using open source code. In fact, the code and the games were written from scratch in C++ to complete the project. That said, Mariani offers the code for the Raspberry Pico Pocket Gamer project on her GitHub where you can download and modify it to your liking. Also, it shows instructions in case you want to do this with your Raspberry Pi Pico or create your own project.