There have been countless Raspberry Pi builds over the years that have sought to cram the little boards into a handheld device. Yet nearly every single one required not just a basic grasp of coding, but also an understanding of soldering and sometimes a touch of electrical engineering. Adafruit’s new PyGamer looks like a perfect alternative for people who want a handheld system they built on their own.
The appeal of something like the PyGamer isn’t just that it will let you play lots of games. Pick up a ROM cart for your GBA or 3DS and you can play as many games as you can fit on an SD card. You can also get a perfectly fine little handheld emulator like the GPD XD and be off to the races.
What’s cool about the PyGamer is that you’re not just playing all your old games, you're building the system you’re playing it on. It will certainly be more challenging. The PyGamer uses a ATSAMD51 microcontroller with a 512KB flash, and 192KB of RAM, plus 8MB of onboard storage. This thing is by no means powerful. You will have issues playing anything 16-bit or above. Yet it should be just fine for emulating an NES or an old GameBoy—right down to the chunky chassis.
The PyGamer kit includes the PyGamer PCB (that’s the board), 1.8-inch 160 by 128 display, speaker, battery, case, and all buttons you should need. It’s on sale starting today for just $60 (£47). That’s a helluva lot less than my GameBoy cost.