In 2016, we wrote about an itty bitty Game Boy pieced together by a software engineering manager and hobbyist hacker Jeroen Domburg. Not only did the device play actual Game Boy games, but it fit on a keychain. Pretty neat, right? Well, now you have the chance to claim the ridiculously tiny portable devices for yourself, as the PocketSprite has entered crowdfunding on Crowd Supply. You might want to act fast, though.
PocketSprite’s campaign kicked off on February 7 with a $20,000 target. As of writing, it has already exceeded $25,000 in less than two days. All 200 of the early bird models have been claimed at the $45 price point, and most of the early bird hacker editions (assembly required) have been spoken for. As of now, there isn’t a limit on standard $55 models, but well over 100 have already been scooped up.
Domburg linked up a manufacturer to mass produce his creation. PocketSprite’s specs haven’t changed much since the original prototype:
- Processor: ESP-32 dual-core (240MHz)
- Storage: 128Mb flash
- RAM: 520KB (up from 512KB)
- Display: OLED (25mm by 22mm)
- Sound: 13mm mono speaker
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
- Battery: Li-ion rechargeable (a few hours of playtime on a full charge)
- Interface: Directional pad, four face buttons (A, B, Start, Select)
While those specs won’t blow people away, they get the job done. Plus, PocketSprite is approximately 2 inches tall and an inch wide.
Like the original prototype, PocketSprite supports the GNUBoy emulator for both Game Boy and Game Boy Color games. SMS Plus emulator support has been added, so you can add both Sega Game Gear and Sega Master System games to your library. Both emulators are pre-loaded on the device, and Domburg promises that every game from those four platforms works on PocketSprite.
PocketSprite makes the process for adding new ROMs quick and simple. Using Wi-Fi, you can add a new game from Windows, Linux, Mac, or Android with a press of the button. Of course, you have to download the desired ROM to your other device first before transferring it wirelessly to PocketSprite.
PocketSprite also comes loaded with a few open-source games, and thanks to the open source software, you can create your own games for PocketSprite. You may even get paid for doing so. PocketSprite will host a coding challenge that awards the winning creator 1,000 euros (about $1,222).
Early bird editions ship April 15, while standard models go out May 15. If you’re interested in reading more about PocketSprite, we recommend taking a good look at its crowdfunding campaign which goes into exhaustive detail on its development and testing process. It may even convince you to back the $200 aluminum case model fitted with a quartz screen protector.
As with all crowdfunded campaigns, however, you should be aware of their perils.
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