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OTES (One-Thumb Entertainment System) is a Raspberry Pi powered, retro-inspired portable CRT Game Console which has only one button. It's running PICO-8, a fantasy console. And It's based on a stand-alone cartridge firmware meaning that it will boot directly to the game on the SD card like a GameBoy. So SD cards can be used as cartridges.

Currently, It has one game called ODEF(Ocean Defender) developed by me and my friends.(You can play it here) And I hope there will be many others as people develop games that can be played with only one button on this platform.


In the first step, I'll talk about the Idea&Inpiration behind this project, later I'll give you a list of the things you'll need to build this on your own. Then I will talk about Fantasy Consoles, After giving you a step by step assembly guide I will end this Instructable with a troubleshooting guide.

Step 1: The Idea

Picture of The Idea

My gaming journey began with the GameBoy Advance SP. And with time other versions joined my collection. It has been 13 years since I got my first GameBoy and I still enjoy playing it to this day. I think the main reason for that is the aesthetics created by the limitations of the hardware.

While I was searching for a GB emulator on the internet I came across PICO-8. which is an emulator for a console that does not exist, called Fantasy Console. So what is a Fantasy Console?

It's basically a virtual console with a development environment. The console is designed to be limiting like 8bit retro computers. In case of PICO-8, the display is limited by 128x128 pixels, disk size by 32k etc.(more details on step 3.) Developers building games using this platform can share/play their games and many others on the internet. You can explore some here.

While I was trying to learn game development in this environment I came up with the Idea to build fantasy hardware for this fantasy console. Also adding some limitations to the hardware. like a 'one button' input.

retroPHREEK25 days ago
I really like projects that are able to make use of actual parts from other/older electronics. Especially retro gaming electronics , I love old camcorders as well, so many useful interesting little parts. When VR started becoming a thing it was about 1991, that was the first group VR Arcade game. The first gaming VR headset in the consumer market that I can remember was in 1993 Sega VR Glasses. Really the Nintendo VirtualBoy is where I am aiming with this comment. Both headsets showed here It has two separate lenses , If you could get an original Nintendo VirtualBoy and put this project inside that would be awesome. Or even if you 3D printed a headset that looked just like the Virtualboy it would look really amazing. The original Nintendo project was a Red and Black image , in every game. It was not easy on the eye, hard to play for long lengths. Plus the headset itself was probably 15lbs . With the small OLED screens available today you could make this idea so much better and keep the retro feel. Or you could stay true to the mini CRT's and just two , with the same source input. Hope to see my suggestion come to fruition. Still , great job here , looking forward to seeing more , will continue following the project..... Make this into a wearable headset , with handheld controls (more buttons) , as a tribute to early gaming headsets ,
Suraj Grewal3 months ago
I wouldn't give 9v straight away to my crt driver....Mine works at 4.5v...if it's any higher than 5v, it fries itself.
777drdent4 months ago
Yes it’s beautiful, But does it play duck hunt with the NES gun? The NES gun Will only work with CRTv
gocivici (author)  777drdent4 months ago
Well, it needs a mini NES gun to do that, maybe I'll build one in v2.0 :D
TheoMuMaLab4 months ago
Oh wow, i had this idea as well a while ago, but i wanted to use these tiny CRT tubes inside a mini arcade :D I just couldn't figure out how to fit it into a small form factor together with a LiPo etc. Your approach looks very straight forward and the result is really cool! :D
gocivici (author)  TheoMuMaLab4 months ago
Wapata4 months ago
I like the project ! But have a big question... Why Arduino ? There is gpio on the raspberry, so I don't understand that choice.
(If I had your talent (or hard work courage) I will made one but with thumb and index buttons)
Bravo for the result !!
gocivici (author)  Wapata4 months ago
Thank you! Great question. You are right, there are some ways to simulate keyboard input with the GPIO pins on the raspberry pi(eg. using WiringPi and C). But the problem is "PicoPi", the standalone cartridge firmware on the pi. Since it's not using raspbian directly, I can't install libraries and write code like on a normal system. It has to be customized using buildroot( which I'm not familiar with. That's why I used the Arduino micro as a shortcut!

thefearface14 months ago
love this! I hope you win.