Retro Pocket Game Console




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I like retro games, especially retro game consoles. When i was a kid, one of our neighbour's who used to work in abroad, used to bring his son electromechanic portable game devices or consoles i remember. We also queu up as the other kids to have our chance to play with the games. They were interesting, nearly nothing electronic or solid state inside, everything working with gears, wires, dc motors, lamps (not leds) and some color filters for creating screen effects.

I sketched several similar console designs on paper first. Selected one of them which would be easier to design, 3d print and assemble then started working in solidworks.

took me a short while to3d model the main form and a bit longer to model the components and interior assembly details.

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Step 1: Design and 3D Modeling

The design is based upon the 8x8 dot matrix display module which are cheaply available in aliexpress. I've used a PIC 12F683 as the main controller. 3 AAA battery powers the whole setup for days due to its low current consumption of approx 50mA.

the console is designed with the classic snake game in mind and it starts operating by switching the power on by using the on off switch at the side. There are two buttons at the front below the screen for right and left turn commands. There is a small pize speaker inside for sound effects and thats it. As simple as it can get.

Step 2: The Game

The game is derived from the all time classic snake. Everything starts with a baby snake of a single dot on the screen which has to move at all times. A food dot on the screen appears at a random cordinate and reports its presence by flashing.

The player commands the baby snake dot by changing its direction to right and left by pressing the two control buttons. If the snake touches the food dot then that means the food is eaten. This makes the snake a dot longer.

And the food dot appears in a new random coordinate and flashes as usual.

The player continues to reach and eat the food dots with his snake and every time food is eaten, the snake gets one dot longer and the motion gets a bit faster. This continues like that until almost the screen is full and the snake is out of movement space.

Then the snake needs to escape out of the screen and in that case it reappears at the opposite side of the screen but looses one dot of length.

If the snake needs to cross itself that is also a bad thing and the snake shortens a dot.

The game goes on and on and on like that. There are no lives to count as there is no dying, it lasts as long as the batteries last and it is fun.

Step 3: Circuit Schematic and Code

The circuit schematic is as shown in the picture. It is very very simple.

In fact there are only 3 components and 2 microswitches on the pcb; the microcontroller is a PIC12F683. The two pull up resistors for the switches ,the microswitches themselves and thats it.

max 7219 chip shown is at the dot matrix module which can be bought from aliexpress. This seller seems to have the module i'Ve used. has other modules as well.

Step 4: Assembling

Assembly is also easy. The circuitry needs to be soldered onto a small multu-holed prototype board cut to size of the pcb area in the 3d printed case. There are internal details for the matrix screen to be fixed inside as well.

Some metal pieces cut to shape can be used as battery contacts. 4x m2-8mm screws hold the two parts of the outer case together. Thats it.

With a small contribution to my projects, you can download 3d solidworks model, STL, source code, hex etc files on this site.

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    5 Discussions


    4 months ago

    Very neat and retro.
    I loved it.
    Even I love retro games and hand consoles.
    Appreciate your effort.
    My vote to you pal.

    1 reply

    3 months ago

    I remember how my sister and I fought as a child who first would play Tetris and for how long. It is now a lot of different gadgets with the Internet and different games.

    1 reply

    Reply 3 months ago

    yeah the same here. I remember how i envied our neighbour kids playing with those electro machanical games with lamps gears and pulleys inside.

    Miranda Fergus

    3 months ago

    I remember how my sister and I fought as a child who first would play Tetris and for how long. It is now a lot of different gadgets with the Internet and different games.