Yes, you’ll probably ruin your eyesight playing video games on the minuscule screen of the TinyCircuits Arcade Kit. For the joy of building your own mini-arcade and playing to your heart’s content, though, needing to wear glasses forever just might be worth the hassle.
Made by the same guys behind TinyScreen, the miniature arcade cabinet is shipped as a kit that you simply put together and enjoy playing like it’s 1991. Except, you know, in a much smaller form, so you can build a fancy arcade hall without taking up an entire room of the house.
Intimidated with the whole idea of soldering? Not a problem, as the TinyCircuits Arcade Kit requires no soldering or any special tools. All the electronics are pre-soldered and put together, with users only needing to slot everything together. The assembly is so simple, in fact, that it should take no more than 10 minutes. It comes with a full-color OLED screen, along with an analog joystick and two control buttons, so you can play games like the button mashers of yore. A microSD card slot allows you to load new games at any time, with all available community-made games downloadable from the TinyCircuits website.Features include a built-in speaker with a volume knob, internal storage (with three games pre-loaded), and a USB slot (that you can use for both charging and programming). It can serve as a video player, although you’ll have to convert the video to TinyScreen’s media format.
Available now, the TinyCircuits Arcade Kit is priced at $59.95.
Let us take a closer look at this tiny piece of art by examining every component of this product in great detail.
Size and Design – The size and design are the most impressive things about this arcade kit from TinyCircuits. The product weighs in at just 1.6 ounces and has dimensions of 5 x 4 x 1 inches. This mini arcade cabinet is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. The design of the product is quite attractive and build is quite sturdy. The product can be bought in multiple configurations including pre-assembled and DIY configurations. There are many different options available for the enclosure as well including Black Acrylic, White acrylic, basswood and 3D printed enclosures. You can personalize your tiny arcade unit as well by using artwork of your own liking. Each kit comes bundled with two sheets of stickers with Tiny Arcade artwork. The attention to detail with this product is mesmerizing.Specifications – It is amazing to see how much TinyCircuits was able to cram into such a compact body. This tiny arcade unit comes with very reasonable hardware specifications.
CPU – An Arduino Zero Processor powers this tiny arcade unit from TinyCircuits. The processor. The Arduino Zero is a tiny yet powerful processor. The microcontroller inside the zero is a 32-Bit Atmel ATSAMD21G18A ARM unit that is clocked at around 48 MHz. It is aided in operation by a 256kb flash memory and 32kn of SRAM.
Display – This tiny arcade cabinet from TinyCircuits comes with a 96×64 OLED display. The screen comes with a 0.96″ (24.4mm) viewable area. The backlight on the display unit is software controllable.
Battery and Power – This arcade unit comes with a Lithium-Polymer battery. The battery is can be topped up by making use of onboard USB that you can also use for reprogramming purposes.The 140mAh Lithium-Polymer battery can last upwards of 3 hours on a single charge. For battery control, the device comes with a power slide switch. This arcade unit also has built in voltage regulators and support external voltage input up to 5.5V.
Inputs and Outputs – Inputs or the controllers are the most important part of any arcade unit. This device utilizes a special flex board that comes with two push buttons, an analog joystick, a microSD card slot and circuitry for the speaker.
Games – The Tiny Arcade unit has the ability to play games pre-loaded on a microSD card, when you start the unit with microSD card inserted, a menu is displayed which shows previews of all the games present on the SD card. You can select and start a game within a matter of seconds from there. The Tiny Arcade unit does not require any programming over the USB to install games. The process of selecting and playing games on this device is a breeze.
Out of the box, the device has plenty of game support. Games like Flappy Birds, Tiny Invaders (by Eike Decker), Asteroids, Tiny Outrun (by Jon Wingrove) and more are available for the device. The developers are also providing more than 20 free classic games for the arcade unit. Being open source, the device is getting more and more content thanks to the members of the community.
Video Player – You can also watch videos and movies on your Tiny Arcade. A free utility is available by making use of which you can convert any video of your liking to the tiny arcade video format. The unit has the ability to play those videos through a microSD card.
Setup and Assembly – The Tiny Arcade Unit can be bought in both pre-assembled and DIY configuration. The assembly process for the Mini Arcade is quite simple and does not require much work or skill. For those opting for a DIY option, given below are some of the main steps required by the assembly process. There is no soldering or circuit making here, each and everything is done in advance, all of the circuitry is pre-solder and everything is there in its place. All you need to do is put the acrylic parts together.
The first step revolves around the checking of the electronics. You are required to plug in the battery on connector marked as BATT on the Processor board. After this, plug the speaker on connector marked SPKR on the Processor Board. Now plug the screen board it into the gray connector on the Processor Board. Now turn on the device to confirm that all the electronics are working properly.
After checking the electronics, you are required to assemble the full body of the mini arcade unit. This step requires you to connect all the required acrylic pieces together. For this process, some easy to follow instructions are provided by the manufacturer.
When it comes to the acrylic, you are provided with four different choices:
- The first choice is Black Acrylic. The assembly process for this is quite simple. The precision laser cut parts can easily be assembled just like a jigsaw puzzle within a matter of minutes. These products snap on to each other and do not require the use of any glue.
- The second option for the user is Clear Acrylic. This clear case acrylic provides a cool high tech look to your system. With this transparent acrylic, you can see the internals of your tiny arcade system. Just like the black acrylic, these snap on to each other and do not require the use of any glue for assembly.
- The third choice available to the user is Basswood. This enclose for your arcade cabinet is laser cut out of basswood, the great thing about the use of basswood is that you can customize it according to your own likings by painting the surface. The basswood enclosure does require glue during the assembly process.
- The fourth choice is a more premium 3D Printed Case.This case is made with great attention to detail and looks exactly like a miniature version of an arcade unit. This case for your mini arcade unit comes pre-assembled with the circuitry already installed.
Price and Conclusion – Priced at just 59.95$, this Mini Arcade from TinyCircuit is a great item that every gamer should have in his collection.
This product takes you back to a time when arcade units ruled the gaming market. It is retro yet modern. It is amazing to see that how much technology TinyCircuits was able to cram into such a compact body. This is a fully functioning miniature arcade system that is capable of playing arcade style games on the go. The open source nature of the device has resulted in great dev support and more and more content is coming out every day for the device. Even if you do not want to play games on this tiny arcade machine, it still is a great buy, as it will look great sitting on your table next to other art pieces.