One of the reasons why makers are attracted to the Arduino micro-controller is its versatility. One day, the open source device can power a robot, and the next, it can control LEDs. Now, for $60, an Arduino can become a full-blown gaming development console, complete with a handheld screen and accelerometer.
The Gameduino 2, which started a Kickstarter campaign on Monday, is the successor to the original Gameduino — which raised more than ten times its goal and raked in $38,297. The open-source software development and console platform enables makers to simply plug in an Arduino and make games with a library of sprites WHA?. In addition to running gamer-developed programs and retro games, the Gameduino 2 has boosted hardware and software capabilities that not only build on the original’s 8-bit charm but provide for even more complex graphics and gaming mechanics.
The Gameduino 2 has a pretty simple setup. The embedded gaming engine allows for 32-bit graphics (think Sega Saturn) and 256 KBytes of video RAM to run on a 4.3 inch 480×272 TFT touch panel screen — including an accelerometer to utilize tilting, a micro-SD card for added storage and an audio output. When hooked up to an Arduino, the system runs like a self-contained handheld console, and allows developers to play games up with up to 2,000 sprites. In addition to loading and playing games, the device will have a “cookbook” available to help makers learn as they go.
Open source has seen a surge in the gaming industry, thanks to independent consoles like the Ouya embracing the community and its rich developers. But the Gameduino stands out in empowering users to develop hardware as well as software, capturing that home-brewed spirit that original console gaming was built on.