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$70,006
pledged of $39,003 goal
backers

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by .

By Aurélien Rodot
$70,006
pledged of $39,003 goal
backers

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by .

About

Shipping is free? When will I receive my Gamebuino? Answers in the FAQ!

[DONE!] 50k€ Stretch goal: free pouch

If we reach 50k€, everybody gets a free pouch to protect their Gamebuino META. Brace yourselves against dust and scratches! Then, what do you want for the 100k€ threshold? Tell us in the comments.

100k€ Stretch goal: gaming backpack

Here is what you asked for, and our corresponding propositions.

  • Customization We'll provide tutorials and necessary files so you can change your buttons color and make your own skins! Good news, you'll get it anyway at no extra cost! :)
  • Multiplayer, more buttons/joysticks, wireless connectivity If we reach the cosmic amount of 100k€ raised, we'll develop a "Gaming backpack" that includes all this. So, if you still have a few friends to convince, it's the right time!

Origins

I, Aurélien Rodot, created the Gamebuino Classic when I was a student. It was an Arduino based retro console to make and play to all your favorite games. I made it on my own during my mechanical engineering degree. All I wanted – and still want – is to share my passion.

Where it all started
Where it all started

Yet it was so successful with 33164€ raised and thousands of units sold worldwide, I eventually left my job to bring it to the next level. I was 21 when I started. Now I am 25. I have learnt so much.

And from now on, it is no longer “I” but “we”. Because we are now a growing startup and a vibrant community.

Gamebuino Classic, launched in 2014
Gamebuino Classic, launched in 2014

Our vision

You probably thought you should try programming, but it is just too complicated, or you simply do not have time. We think programming allows you to make so many things (like getting a job), that anybody should be able to give it a chance. That is why we strive to make programming initiation a fun and easy experience. The Gamebuino META is the first step. With your help, it will not be the last.

What is Gamebuino META

The Gamebuino META is a retro console designed and made in France. Play all the games you loved with a fresh, new experience. Above all, it will allow you to make your own games and learn programming. Finally, if you are a maker, consider it as an Arduino on steroids. If you are not a maker, we sure hope to turn you into one ;)

Gamebuino META with beech wood skin. Mockup by Ericomont.
Gamebuino META with beech wood skin. Mockup by Ericomont.

 Gamebuino to PLAY

The Gamebuino META fits in your front pocket, packs plenty of free exclusive games and the battery will last a continuous day of gaming. Kill time on your commute (or during class) while saving your phone’s battery.

Note that the (optional) micro SD card can fit more games than there will ever be. You can switch between games on the go in a matter of seconds.

Games mockups by Ericomont
Games mockups by Ericomont

Gamebuino is meant to teach programming, but we also want the best gaming experience. We did many iterations to get the right feeling; it was very rewarding to read the following. It comes from Drakker, who got a 3D printed, hand-soldered prototype:

The d-pad and buttons are GREAT. And I mean it. They are Gameboy/DS level great. They blow everything else away, including playstation/xbox controllers with their crappy round and fake 4 separate buttons d-pad. […] The screen seems amazing. [It] seems very responsive and the colors are bright and very saturated, which is surprising frankly. […] Back to the case, it’s very comfy in the hand. […] I am frankly impressed. This is a VERY promising product. It radiates quality, and it’s just a prototype.

– Drakker

We did not stop there. We wanted this console to be unique, not only by its design but also by its features. The back lights push the game experience beyond the screen edge. These eight individually controllable RGB LEDs project flashes, explosions and any special effects you want right into your hands. Alternatively, you can use them as a torch light, stroboscope or whatever you imagine.

8 individual LEDs for awesome effects!
8 individual LEDs for awesome effects!

We designed the Gamebuino META to be durable. It will not break and it will not brick (we know, you will find a way). We also want it to be simple. You do not have to RTFM. A kid should be able to play with no explanations.

Kill time anywhere
Kill time anywhere

All the games are made by the Gamebuinians (our dear community members). They are exclusive, open-source, indie, free games you can play or even modify at will. If your favorite game is not there, make it and share it!

Disclaimer: We will not officially support emulation on the Gamebuino. Emulation is not legal in most cases. Big companies chase down emulators and ROMs. We do not want to put the whole project and community at risk.

Gamebuino to Make

You can make a lot more than games. You can hook up sensors, motors, lights… Invent whatever you want. Make a system to water your plants so they do not die on holidays. Why not something to feed your cat… for the same reasons. A line following robot. A weather station. Domotics. There is not limit.

"

Arduino shield compatibility: freaking awesome! by far my favorite feature!

– Myndale

The Gamebuino META uses the same microcontroller as the Arduino Zero, and we kept all the pins free for the user (it is our special sauce). This way it is both software and hardware compatible, you can put all your Arduino shields on the back of your Gamebuino and use the existing Arduino libraries.

In addition to that, we created an extensive set of libraries for graphics, sound, buttons, and more. Just a few examples:

  • Video screen capture - share your best actions!
  • Play images, videos and sounds from the SD card
  • Save games easily
  • Multi-language support
developer backpack: enables arduino shields, prototyping & debug
developer backpack: enables arduino shields, prototyping & debug

All this means the Gamebuino META is a drop-in replacement for your Arduino Uno or Zero (beware, it is running 3V3, it is not 5V compatible).

You will also prototype faster: plot data to know what is going on, record screen, change settings live, store several programs and update without a computer, log data, play alert sounds and much more.

If you are an advanced user, you will be happy to know you can do real debug with an external debugger like the Atmel-ICE.

open source libraries and games (genuine wooden stickers!)
open source libraries and games (genuine wooden stickers!)

I am a Maker. I learnt programming and electronics on my own thanks to Arduino. This project would not exist without it. With the Gamebuino META, we contribute by keeping libraries open-source.

Gamebuino to LEARN (...and teach)

If you have not tried programming, it is probably because it seems complicated. If you have tried learning a new language, you know that the hardest part is staying motivated. Our goal is to get you rid of these two problems.

"

want want want want want want want want want

– Sorunome

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The Gamebuino META, with its unique form factor and genuine wood material sparkles interest. The light effects put the last nail. That’s exactly what we want: whet curiosity.

Once we got your attention, we can show you how easy it is to make your first game within hours, with no previous experience in programming whatsoever.

We are working in collaboration with well-known programming schools who realized conventional teaching methods do not apply to programming. We are experimenting to get just the right mix: motivating as a tutorial, structured as a course.

You will learn programming from “my first game ever” to “making a killer AI”, one game at a time. As you might guess, you will get started with PONG, the good ol’ tenis game.

We want these workshops to be short and intense, so you do not get bored. At the end of each workshop, you should always leave with a running game of your own, to keep the motivation up.

The Gamebuino META is open-source and based on Arduino. You will learn actual C/C++ programming, a fundamental language you can reuse on other projects or professionally. Beyond programming, you can hook up sensors, motors and whatnot to start learning electronics!

Although, the workshops are not online yet for a reason. We want to get them right. Therefore, we do not just write something, throw it online and move on. We actually test them on real students to see what works, what does not, improve and iterate. Until we publish the first workshop, you can already get started with the community tutorials, peek at the other games' source code, and the whole reference is already online. Of course, we are here to help, so if you have any question head to the Community.

By funding this Kickstarter, you will help us spend more time make this perfect learning recipe a reality.

Specifications

When the story is not enough. Here are the technical details.

  • Microcontroller: ATSAMD21, 32bit ARM Cortex M0+, 256KB flash, 32KB RAM, same as Arduino Zero
  • Display: 1.8", 80*64px RGB 16bit (or 160*128px, indexed 16 colors). 25FPS refresh rate by default, up to 50FPS.
  • Battery: LiPo 3.7V 900mAh (to be confirmed), charged through micro USB B port (like a regular phone).
  • Sound : 10bit DAC, mutli-channel 8bit WAV playback, 2.5W class-D audio amp, audio jack 3.5mm, 1W speaker. Volume adjusted or muted in the Home menu.
  • Back lights: 8 independently controllable RGB LEDs for light effects in your palms! Can be adjusted or turned off in the Home menu.
  • Buttons: D-pad, A, B, Menu, Home. Home is reserved for changing games, setting sound volume, taking screenshots, etc.
  • Backpacks (aka shields): All GPIOs you have on an Arduino Zero are free to use on the back of the console. The developer backpack is compatible with Arduino Shields. Warning: Gamebuino runs at 3.3V, it's not 5V compatible. The DAC output is used for sound. SPI slaves are present on the bus, but won't prevent you from using it.
  • Micro SD card socket: FAT and FAT32 compatible. Optionnal micro SD card with plenty of games provided with the deluxe early bird and deluxe perks. Change between games on the go, not computer required!
"It's smaller than I thought" is the usual reaction.
"It's smaller than I thought" is the usual reaction.

The team

  • Aurélien - Started this crazy project
  • Sandra - Helps doing all the things
  • Sorunome - Huge contributor, from ideas to code. Loves ponies.
  • Aurélie, Léa & Csaba (Unit&Co) - Communication !
  • Billy & Billy (RiotHouse) - Funkiest video ever
  • Sylvain, Laurent & Guillaume (Hastatis) - A website from scratch.
  • Nathanaël (Bobitech) - Injection molding: turns recycled car lights into brand new Gamebuino META
  • Loyc (LDWorkshop) - laser cutting magic
  • Pierre Alex (Distorsion) - Co-designer
  • Drakker, Ericomont - Awesome mockups & beta testing
  • Gouz - beta tester, secret projects
Hard to get a group photo when the team is all around the globe. Here is the film crew after a long day of video shooting.
Hard to get a group photo when the team is all around the globe. Here is the film crew after a long day of video shooting.

Credits

Huge thank your to everybody who shared, helped, supported, contributed and much more.

  • Gamebuino Classic contributors. You are hundreds from all over the world. A vibrant community of Gamebuinians, always on the forum, giving feedback and sharing great games. Special thanks to Sorunome for all her huge contribution, feedback, presence and on the forums. Big thanks to Myndale, Ericomont, Drakker, Jonnection, Albertinjo and everybody else.
  • Gamebuino Classic buyers. You are thousands across the globe. We made the Gamebuino META because of the success of the Gamebuino Classic. All the money it made (and much more) was injected in the development of the Gamebuino META.
  • Mentors. Thomas for helping us with electronics design for manufacturing. Philippe & Patrice for sharing their experience in entrepreneurship. Mathieu for the bizdev.
  • Bankers & sponsors.  You helped us make this financially viable and gave (or lended) us what we need to get started. BPI France, Réseau Entreprendre, Crédit Agricole, French Tech, Saint Etienne Métropole.
  • Resin prototypes. Marc & Nicolas from Plateforme Idpro for casting resin prototypes.
  • Arduino. Gamebuino wouldn't exist without you, I learnt electronics and programming on my own thanks to you. Now it's my turn to spread the passion.
  • The video actors. Sandra, Clément, Aurélie, Pierre, Gouz, Camille, Elric, Julie, Mathieur, Matis, Ronald, Tom, Zaak.
  • Translators. Sorunome, Diana
  • Friends and family.
We shipped thousands of Gamebuino Classic worldwide already.
We shipped thousands of Gamebuino Classic worldwide already.
 

Risks and challenges

3 years ago, we delivered the Gamebuino Classic on time after a surprisingly successful campaign. Backers were impressed how often we gave news during the process. We will not hide you what is going on. Your satisfaction goes first. We are confident we will be able to do this again.

• Already online: new website, Gamebuino libraries, documentation, games.
Yes, seriously! It will never be over though. We will keep improving them continuously based on your feedback.
• Not yet: online workshops.
We first want to make to get the right mix of “fun” and “learn”. From gamification to pedagogic engineering, there is a lot we can do. The more we raise with this Kickstarter, the more we can focus creating the best experience.
• Production: ready to manufacture.
One lesson I learnt with the Gamebuino Classic is “DFM”: Design for Manufacturability. That is what makes the difference between tinkering and producing. We will make the Gamebuino META locally in France so we can check on quality. From the PCB to injection molding, everything is ready to go. We even bought some materials and tooling in advance to earn time, but we do need you support to get this up and running.

As Murphy says, if something can go wrong it will. Thanks to our experience, we do know how true this is. That is why we are ready to handle any unexpected situation. The worst thing that may happen is extra delays.

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    Pledge €79 or more About $93

    Gamebuino META

    Just the console, no extras.

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    Pledge €99 or more About $117

    Gamebuino META deluxe

    The console plus all the extras!

    Includes:
    • Gamebuino META
    • Micro SD card with games
    • Genuine wood skin
    • Developper backpack
    • Surprise gifts!
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    Buddy pack

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    Distributor pack

    We would love to see the Gamebuino META in your shop. Please contact us to make that happen.

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    Pledge €79 or more About $93

    Gamebuino META deluxe early bird

    The first batch of Gamebuino META plus the deluxe extras for free!
    We'll do everything we can to ship before Christmas, but we cannot guarantee it.

    Includes:
    • Gamebuino META
    • Micro SD card with games
    • Genuine wood skin
    • Developper backpack
    • Surprise gifts!
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