One-Thumb Entertainment System

Video games made in the late 70s, 80s, and early 90s were primitive by today’s standards, but hardware limitations led to very creative…

Jeremy S. Cook
6 months agoGaming

Video games made in the late '70s, '80s, and early '90s were primitive by today’s standards, but hardware limitations led to very creative uses of what was available. This yieldedsome truly classic games that still have their fans today, including hacker gocivici. Gocivici is such a retro gaming aficionado that he not only has an impressive collection of old-school gaming hardware, but has decided to create his own.

His console, dubbed the One-Thumb Entertainment System, resembles a handheld video recorder, and the tiny CRT display for it is, in fact, salvaged from an ancient camcorder. The system is set up to run PICO-8 games — a sort of non-existent console emulator — and runs games via a Raspberry Pi Zero along with an Arduino Micro that takes input from a single thumb-mounted button. Like these retro systems, the game that’s played with it is stored on a swappable “cartridge,” in this case an SD card.

This single-input setup severely restricts gameplay, and as of now there is only one game designed for the device, called ODEF, Defender of the Ocean. The game is playable here in your browser without custom hardware. While a single input is restrictive, it’s actually pretty fun, and lets you spin a fish around to help it destroy sea-trash with bubbles. A demo of the game/console in action is seen in the video below.

Jeremy S. Cook
Engineer, maker of random contraptions, love learning about tech. Write for various publications, including Hackster!
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