Handheld game consoles are a nice present for your kid (and you, and everyone). But you know what’s an even better present? A game console that teaches you about programming, electronics and Arduino.
A Kickstarter project called Makerbuino offers a cheap, Arduino-based 8-bit console that comes as a kit, meaning you’ll have to acquaint yourself with soldering iron to make it functional.
Therein lies the fun. In the estimated 5-hour build time, Makerbuino claims, you’ll learn how to connect electronic components, how to program a microcontroller and how to use a 3D printer to build your own custom case for the console, among other things.
Sure, the 8-bit games won’t look nearly as good as the ones you’ll get on Nintendo Switch, but Makerbuino is far cheaper; the basic kit costs $35. If you want tools with that, the cost goes up to $45, and if you want to skip all that soldering business and get a fully assembled Makerbuino, you can get that as well for the same price.
On that note, the entire project was inspired by Gamebuino, a similar console that’s a bit smaller and comes pre-assembled. Best part of that is that Makerbuino is fully compatible with Gamebuino’s large collection of games and its programming library, so you’ll have no problem finding new titles to play. For an idea of the types of games you’ll be able to play on Makerbuino, think timeless classics such as Tetris and Space Invaders.
Another interesting aspect of Makerbuino is that its founder, Albert Gajšak, is an 18-year-old high school student from Croatia. His foray into building electronic devices started much earlier, though: When he was just 11-years old.
“My father (…) motivated me to try playing with electronics and microcontrollers and designing my own electronic products,” Gajšak said. After seeing the crowdfunding success of Gamebuino, he decided to built something similar but with a unique twist: A DIY game console.
Given the success of his campaign, Gajšak is currently in the process of registering a company for the purpose of selling Makerbuino. As for his long-term goals, these include college, and “many more Kickstarter campaigns.”
Makerbuino has already reached its funding goal, but has 21 more days to go on Kickstarter. Check out the project here.