In 2019 I started a tradition with my kids purchasing them an Adafruit Pygamer (think Gameboy that you can build your own games for). This was a great engaging piece of hardware in getting my kids excited about electronics and software development.
In 2020 I wanted to build on this concept of something hands on. I was inspired by this build shared here. My overall goal with this project was to create a way for my kids to interact with Makecode Arcade outside of a mouse and keyboard, ideally with the ability play with 2 players at a time. We are about halfway through the project. we have joystick, and arcade buttons built and wired up, with makecode arcade running on a raspberry pi zero, using our TV as a monitor.
Details of the build
- Raspberry Pi Zero (With Headers important if you don't want to solder yourself)
- Mini HDMI to HDMI Connector
- HDMI Cable
- 5v Power Supply
- 2gb or more microSD card (16gb in the link because it's cheaper)
- Assortment of Jumper Wires
- Long Jumper wires if you want 2 boxes
- Bread Board
- Arcade Joystick and Button Kit for 2 Players
- Shoe boxes for prototyping
- Button Layout Templates
How to Assemble
Look for Part 2 :)
Next up will be to build out a wooden arcade cabinet.
One of the funnest things with this setup, has been the continued creativity and engagement my kids have had with the setup. My oldest son who is a native creator, has enjoyed the quick feedback, from his brother, the tester as soon as a change is made, deploy the code to the raspberry pi, and play the game on the big screen. One of the games he is currently building up is called 'brothers' which is loosely based on a great Contra-like game I picked up for the switch last month - Furry Unleashed. With a followup game in the plans 'sisters' where two sisters can rescue animals that are in trouble.
I hope you find this useful and are encouraged to take the next step to fun with your kids and engagement with electronics!