Imagine if, when you were a kid, someone handed you a bunch of circuit boards and actuators and told you that you could make a gaming system out of them. You'd probably have put that sucker together in record time, just to see what kinds of games you could play on it. The DIY Gamer presents just such a project for today's kids, but that's just the beginning.
Developed by UK-based startup Technology Will Save Us, the DIY Gamer kit comes pre-loaded with a pair of games that are just about as classic as they come: Snake and Breakout. When kids tire of those, instead of providing further downloadable content the DIY Gamer kit actually allows its owners to code new games themselves through the Arduino platform. It even allows for the addition of a basic soundtrack via a piezo buzzer, as well as multi-player gaming by way of wireless infrared signals.
The skills needed to take full advantage of the DIY Gamer kit are fairly wide-ranging. Kids will need to know how to solder, program, and innovate in order to create something playable. When your tablet or cellphone has a sweeping variety of easily downloadable games to choose from, it's hard to imagine kids choosing to while away their hours with something like this. Unless, of course, it were a homework assignment.
In the case of being handed out as a school project, the DIY Gamer actually looks like something fun, innovative and rewarding. For about $80 a pop, they may not stand a chance of reaching your average public school classroom, but even a college student would likely stand and cheer at the prospect of cobbling together their own games instead of breaking open a history of gaming textbook. Once students have rigged up their own DIY kits, they'll be well equipped to create even more impressive projects in the future.