Please do not post a support request without first reading and following the advice in

Behold, the world's smallest raspberry pi based gaming device!

  • Some of you may have seen this already, I was holding off posting it here until I had got retropie working

    So as you may know, I have a bit of an obsession for making things as small as i can. Now my last project was pretty small, the height was restricted by the height of the Pi zero, and the width was restricted by the width of the screen.

    Now this works well, but it wasnt without its limitations. Firstly the controls were not perfect. using a 5 way navigation switch for the actions works, but it is not ideal, especially when you need to press more than one button at once.

    So I decided to move to buttons, and while i was at it, try and reduce some of the excess bulk to the device.

    while trawling the internet i cam across Pico-8 which is a goldmine of retro games and fun. One of the limitations of Pico-8 is the screen size of 128×128 pixels. this conveniently matched some 1.44″ screens i have found while trawling the internet and the rest, as they say, was history!

    so enough chatter, lets see what all the fuss is about


    So lets have a look at what we have got…

    up at the top is a ‘3 way’ navigation switch. Anyone old enough to remember the sony erricson phones of old might know this as a ‘jog dial’. This offers a left and right nudge (x and y), as well as a center press (select)

    next down is the screen. This is 128×128 pixels, and only 1.44 inches in size, so is pretty small.

    Behind the screen are 2 piezo transducers (like the noise makers from musical birthday cards) giving a very quite and tinny version of stereo sound. This just helps to add to the games without being too noisy

    You may recognise the 5 way navigation switch from my last gaming project. This gives a little joystick type input, with a centre click, which is mapped to the start button.

    And this time we have actual buttons for the actions!! they are little rubber based tactile switches giving a nice click without being too noisy. These are mapped to a and b

    Finally at the bottom of the device is a simple power switch. The eventual goal will be to have a device like the old gameboy, where you can just flick the power on, play what you like and just flick it off without a care in the world. This is still work in progress…

    All this is mounted on a super skinny 0.8mm pcb, which is mounted directly to the back side of a pi zero w! this means that it really is super skinny!!

    So all in all, I am convinced this is the smallest Pi based gaming device, until someone can prove me wrong and show me a smaller one!

    for ants

    The video shows Pico-8 running, but it can of course run any of the things a normal pi zero can run (assuming it is readable on the screen)

  • it can of course run any of the things a normal pi zero can run (assuming it is readable on the screen)

    lmao :'D

    Btw: Great work, looks kind of awesome

  • administrators

  • Don't loose it

  • @herb_fargus ha yeah that's the only way to go smaller now, without chopping the ends off the zero

    @space-cadet I have a plan for that, if I can find plastic keys

    danger danger!

  • if anyone is wondering how retropie works on the tiny pi

  • @moosepr wow, very very impressive. Great work!

  • @celly thanks 😀

  • You should really add a mini-hdmi port to this so that people can play it off of their monitors/TVs.
    I say mini-hdmi because this is probably used with a Pi Zero/Zero W.

  • @itsnitro well it is just a standard pi zero w, so the hdmi is accessable at the side as normal

    alt text

    The only problem is, I am adding bits into the config.txt that forces the 128x128 resolution, which stops your average monitor talking to the pi

  • 3d print a case!!
    that looks great

  • @spruce_m00se thanks 😀 I have started planning it, just need to pour my ideas into cad

  • @moosepr thats funny, I just made a full size 3d printed gameboy with a pi 0, and I started with the CAD part, a collegue who saw me making it thought i was dumb to have not even tested the electrical connections before making the case, luckily it worked out well for me

  • @spruce_m00se well to be fair, I think it works both ways, your way will be more like the GBZ crowd just making things fit and work with the space you have.

    I guess it depends what idea you have first. I just saw that smooth side on the back of the pi, and thought 'hmm I bet I could fit a screen and some buttons on there'

  • Just a quick update for you all
    So I thought I would knock up a bit of a case for it. But we dont want to go making some massive box that will remove all the skinny goodness, we want to keep the casing as minimal as the rest of the project..!.

    So I signed up to OnShape and got designing.....

    and the result was thus

    alt text

    alt text

    alt text

    alt text

    alt text

    Looks pretty good!! even if I do say so myself!!

    The design is not perfect though :( i had designed the back piece with little pegs, which i thought would push through the holes in the pi and pcb, locking it all together.

    alt text

    Apparently these are too difficult to print, and the sizing comes out way too big anyhoo, so there is nothing but an elastic band holding it all together at the moment. I will rethink the mounting, maybe some screws or something so it is nice and solid.

    To be continued.............

  • I have had good success with little pegs holding everything together, if you size the holes that they mate into correctly you can make it almost impossible to remove again (if that is your plan) or easy to remove.

  • @spruce_m00se I was hoping for secure fixing, but with the ability to disassemble (I want everything!) I had drawn the pegs as 2.5mm, but they came out oversize, and won't even go though the holes in the boards (2.7mm) but my printing guy was struggling to get them to print OK anyway.

    I might investigate using screw's instead

  • i have used screws with good results, but you only get about 5 or so good fixings before the holes start to strip, and you cant torque them too much if you screw straight into the plastic.
    If you do go for screws, make sure the base for the recepticle is big, not just a post, they tend to snap.

  • @spruce_m00se thanks for the info. I guess the best way would be to melt in some threaded inserts, but I don't think I have the space

Log in to reply

Contributions to the project are always appreciated, so if you would like to support us with a donation you can do so here.

Hosting provided by Mythic-Beasts. See the Hosting Information page for more information.