Midiboy, The Portable Gaming Console With MIDI

The ArduBoy is a tiny little gaming console that’s also extremely simple. It’s only a small, cheap, monochrome OLED display, a microcontroller with Arduino-derived firmware, and a few buttons. That’s it, but with these simple ingredients the community around the ArduBoy has created a viable gaming platform. It has cartridges now, and one version has a crank. Now, the MIDIboy is bringing something like the ArduBoy to the world of electronic music.

Inside the MIDIboy is what you would expect from any review of the ArduBoy schematics. There are six buttons, a speaker, a USB port, and a SPI OLED display. In addition to all of this are two big chonkin’ DIN-5 ports for MIDI in and MIDI out, and yes, the MIDI in port has an optoisolator.

As for what you can do with a tiny little game console connected to MIDI, there are already a few choice apps — the MIDI Chords app creates chords, obviously, and the MIDImon sketch is a MIDI monitor. There are some controllers for MIDI synths, and of course this device is completely open source. If you’ve ever wanted a DIY controller for your favorite MIDI synth, this is what you need.

If an ArduBoy with MIDI doesn’t sound exciting, just check out Little Sound DJ. That’s a Game Boy cartridge that turns your old brick Game Boy into a music production workstation. Yes, it sounds great and there’s a lot of potential in a pocket game console with MIDI ports.

6 thoughts on “Midiboy, The Portable Gaming Console With MIDI

  1. I wonder why none of the ‘modular connector’ formats (MikroE ‘clicks’, Grove, PMOD, etc) have caught on by now. These frankenboards are neat, but they’re getting old.

    Maybe 8- or 10-pin IDC connectors would be a good format. They’re compatible with 0.1″ headers in for debugging, and they can’t be plugged in backwards. Do you have a cheap ‘st-link’ clone on you desk? That connector on the back is a 10-pin ISP.

    But come on. SDA-TX/SCL-RX/SCK/SDI/SDO/CS/GP1/GP2/V++/GND is 10 pins. Maybe you could have two ‘command’ pins with 4 interface pins, two power pins, and two GPIO/interrupt pins. I dunno, we can do better.

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