This is where it all started - We wanted to play old video games with the ease of new technology. We also wanted to have a decorative device that functioned smoothly.
Putting the Raspberry Pi based emulator inside the Super Nintendo housing brought outstanding reaction from friends and family. We think the reaction is deeply rooted in the fact that it actually looks like what it is.
When we told them we can make them something similar they were turned off when we told them what the bare bone Raspberry Pi would look like under their TV.
Based on their reaction we knew a consumer end, family friendly, mass appealing device needed to be dressed up.
Producing a large number of handmade retro fitted Super Nintendo units is not really feasible due to the labor and material costs. We knew what had to be done - we had a vision of a new product.
Studying communication taught me a lot about how the mind works. That knowledge helped clarify the reactions we was receiving from my friends about the new device:
Raspberry Pi Board + Average 20-40 Year Old = Confusion
(Raspberry Pi + Video Game Console Housing) + Average 20-40 Year Old = Nostalgia
It's pretty simple - It has to look like what it does
As a result, we came up with this form factor:
The new console will be significantly smaller than the original Super Nintendo housing we originally used, the same housing you're familiar with.
The design will resemble a gaming console. The idea we have in mind is a fusion of the classic gaming system shell with a cleaner modern look.
Another handmade prototype in the works (as of July 27th) is set to fit inside of a Super Nintendo game enclosure. It was designed to prove that the footprint of the console can be greatly reduced with the Pi positioned properly. It will also be the test for the new USB jumpers made with ribbon cable.
We still have to cut the ports for this revision. The concept is only two hours old as I'm typing this (7/27) - this is our ideal Saturday night :)
Thenew Raspberry Pi B+ set the HDMI port and power input on the same side. This means a jumper for the HDMI and power input will not be needed with a housing with this design.
We think a classic look on the controller is best but any controller can work. The software will map out the controller during the initial boot. Almost any controller with a direction commands and action buttons will work.
The gaming software will be focused around a controller. This means that loading new games and making changes can be accomplished without the need for a keyboard.
The GIF above shows the simple user interface we using. We wanted it to be easy to navigate. We made sure to touch on the most important information: a picture and a name.
Most people will be familiar with the games already. We don't think that a description and meta data are truly needed but that could change based on feedback.
We wanted it to be simple to sort through that games. We want a child to be able to turn the device on and find the game she wants to play without trekking through endless submenus.
The project simply consisted of mounting the Raspberry Pi B inside my old Super Nintendo. We wanted the project to look like it was actually made years ago by Nintendo so instead of having wires hanging out we jumped the ports to the parameter of the device.
The pictures below show how it turned out. It worked out pretty well but the wires used were relatively expensive and overly insulated for the setting. The proposed project will use jumpers more suited for a confined enclosure.
The original design above shows the needlessly thick wires that we used when we made the prototype from the full Super Nintendo console.
The proposed project will switch to much thinner and flexible cables allowing to cut down on the space needed inside the housing.
This picture below shows the difference in size. It is a prototype wire i.e. handmade. The production version will be professionally made to ensure quality.
The other end of the USB is a female side where the controllers will plug in on the outside of the housing.
Games aka ROMS
Based on my research we think Nintendo's attorneys will kick down our office door if we give out the games so we can't "give" them out...
What we plan to do is integrate the portal to where one could download hundreds of ROMS for free ;) - It will fit seamlessly into the proposed interface.
The number of games is almost limitless since the ROM files are tiny and easily available. Its super easy to add the games to the console thanks to the interface we're using.
Risks and challenges
I don't want to sound overly confident but I am worried the project will become too popular because it will be hard to fulfill demand early on.
Made in the USA
Producing the housing in the USA will be slightly more costly but will give me the opportunity to be more hands-on with the whole process. Keeping costs on a thin margin for mass appeal will tempt me to outsource molding process but I plan to remain true to the vision and keep it as locally produced as I can.
Stability - Troubleshooting
I want the device to appeal to everyone from the tech savvy to small children. The problem is that the latter can't really troubleshoot if something doesn't load properly. To address this issue the device would need an internet connection for diagnostics - a luxury for some.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)