microByte Is a Tiny, Open Source Handheld Video Game Console You Can Build Yourself

microByte is capable of emulating NES, Game Boy, Game Gear, and Master System games.

Cameron Coward
6 months agoGaming / 3D Printing

While we would never begrudge you the right to prioritize the latest AAA video games releases, you have to admit that there is a huge back catalog of classic games that you never got around to playing. 715 licensed games were officially released for the original Nintendo alone, and that’s just one console. Even if you only consider the top one percent of games from each console, there are probably dozens you have yet to play. Juan Flores’s microByte is a tiny, open source handheld console capable of running a variety of emulators so that you can finally play all of those games you missed out on.

You don’t need to build a console like this play classic games, because you could instead run emulators on your computer or smartphone. But the microByte lets you play them on-the-go using comfortable tactile buttons, so you don’t have to try to tap virtual buttons on your phone’s screen. This handheld console is capable of emulating NES, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Gear, and Sega Master System games, so you’ll have access to an absolutely massive catalog of games. Graphics are displayed on a nice full-color 1.3” IPS screen that is more than capable of handling those console resolutions, and a 500mAh rechargeable battery provides enough power for six to seven hours of continuous gaming.

The real highlight of the microByte, when compared to other handheld consoles, is its absolutely miniscule size. The entire console measures just 78 x 17 x 40 mm (3.07 x 0.67 x 1.57 inches) — small enough to slip into the pocket of your KangaROOS tennis shoes. It’s controlled by an ESP32-WROVER E microcontroller module, which is soldered onto a custom PCB. That PCB also contains the controller buttons, a microSD card slot (for storing games), a MAX98357AETE+T I2S audio amplifier for the speaker, and the LiPo charging and regulation circuit. The controller buttons are membrane-style (with the exception of the shoulder buttons), but that’s understandable at this size. The buttons and the case can be 3D-printed. If you’re looking for a way to play classic games when you’re out and about, the microByte console seems like the perfect option.

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