Tiny Arcade

So late last night I received an e-mail from my employer that a couple of floors below their 2.5 on the top had flooded. Hence their were no elevators, water, or power for our floors. Extensively making doing work on site or remotely impossible. Not that I could do much programming remotely with a Windows-less machine with our entirely proprietary pipeline, even less so with my hard drive-less machine running Linux off a 4GB USB drive. So I gladly took the opportunity to sleep in.

But as the hard drive I ordered is still somewhere else I decided today would be a good day to venture out to Fry’s Electronics and try getting one there. I’d never been and holy shit, these are massive stores. While Microcenter has a lot of cables, Fry’s has components. Like every fucking kind of component. My girlfriend with her Computer Engineering degree came with me and she was blown away by the sheer array of tools and pieces. Following my previous post I feel I must add that we were greeted by at least 4 employees and had conversations with 2.

I picked up a small and “cheap” desktop Seagate HDD and she got this curious thing for me to build.

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This the Tiny Arcade from TinyCircuits, who I will gladly plug for those who haven’t heard of it because they are fun as fuck. They aren’t the cheapest thing at $60, and the milling of the acrylic panels doesn’t quite line up with PCBs in this particular one. In fact after I took this picture I had to take the panel over the controls off in order for the joystick to go the right. We sent them an e-mail and they said this is fixed now and offered to send us replacement acrylics, or a pre-built one. But personally I like the look of the exposed board. Also when I rebuilt it I accidentally flipped the top sign because it’s a real bitch to get together, which I think gives it a even more character.

tinarcade2crop

This one shipped with three games, a Tetris clone, Flappy Bird clone, and a generic space shooter (complete with 80’s “Winners Don’t Use Drugs” message). So it’s a fun little afternoon project that with the games will entertain for a couple hours at least. Certainly it looks cool sitting on your desk, but the real reason it comes with that $60 price tag is the fact that the little bastard can be extended. There’s a whole community making new games and guides. It uses Tiny Arduino so there’s quite a few things you can modify it to do. It has a microSD port for loading things onto it, internal battery pack, speaker, the whole shebang. Pretty impressive little package.

I might just have to get some cards and try developing on it out for myself. Just make sure to get a newer one, because this generation acrylic pieces had me spending more time filing the circuit board down to fit in the notches for it than the rest of the assembly time combined.

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