Thumbs Up For This CRT Handheld Gaming Console

Despite all the progress video game graphics have made, it is safe to say that we won’t see any decline in oldschool 8-bit games any time soon. For some it’s about nostalgia, for others it’s just a great and simple-enough first step into game development itself. For [gocivici] it was a bit of both when he built this camcorder style, one-button gaming console.

With a Raspberry Pi Zero running PICO-8 at its core, [gocivici] salvaged the viewfinder of an old camcorder for the display, and that way turned it into a whole other kind of handheld console. For full ergonomic handling, one single, thumb-operated push button serves as only control option. This of course makes it a bit challenging to re-use existing games that would require more input options, so he and some friends decided to just write a suitable game on their own with the hopes that others might follow.

Unfortunately we don’t see a lot of projects using these old camcorder viewfinders, and considering modern LCD and OLED options it’s not really that surprising, but there’s just something intriguing about these tiny CRTs. So in case you want to see more of them, have a look at this tiny Atari display, and the DIY night vision monocle from a few years back. And to keep your eyes safe and sound, [gocivici] got you covered as well.

10 thoughts on “Thumbs Up For This CRT Handheld Gaming Console

  1. Wow, does that video look crappy, I love it! Sure you can get better video but it just lacks the “charm” of a tiny CRT, they should add support to play videos on this, should be pretty trivial software mods.

  2. Meh. There are plenty of multi-directional switches (e.g., ALPS SKRHABE010 , E-Switch JS5208 ) that can be thumb operated and would have made it more interesting.

    1. Exactly my thought, although there are two separate minimalisms happening here: “tiny single-finger control driving tiny CRT”, and “single button interface games”. If it were me I’d prefer just the first one using something like a clickable 8-way POV hat, but… different strokes.

  3. I just picked up an old camcorder the other day specifically for the tiny CRT, but it was dead. It seems like a common failure for these are the driver boards. Oddly, the rest of the camera worked fine, even the tape drive worked.

  4. I remember having a futuristic wireless bike “computer” with a single button control for everything, and it had like 73 functions, because reasons. Hated it from the first moment, threw it away after one ride.

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