I’ve been listening to a really great podcast lately called No Quarter. It’s all about remembering and reliving classic arcade games, of the sort us folks-of-a-certain-age grew up with. If you’ve never played Dig Dug or Space Invaders in a smoke-filled, dimly-lit room with purple carpet, blacklights, and a creepy dude shifting pot in the corner, then you don’t know what I’m talking about. Also, get off my lawn.
The boys at No Quarter have rekindled my love of those games, but to play them properly you need the right equipment. Rather like a samurai making her own sword, this is something of a right of passage for people who want to play these old games The Right Way™. Namely, building a control panel. I wanted something clean, fairly compact, but beefy enough to play most games from 1970 up through about 1993. Here’s what I came up with.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, or even use Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for MakeCode, CircuitPython, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
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