If you grew up in the 1980s, you may remember self-contained desktop computer games such as “Desktop Scramble.” These games may be primitive by today’s standards, but for web developer and avid tinkerer Matt Brailsford, aka “Circuitbeard,” one can make a great housing for a Raspberry Pi miniature arcade game.
After stripping his Scramble machine, Brailsford mounted a Raspberry Pi 2 along with a 5″ screen and a PiCade controller board. He had a custom panel cut to house the buttons and miniature joystick, which were mounted in place of the stock buttons. To compete the build a speaker was mounted in the former battery compartment, and a Wi-Fi and wireless keyboard dongle were added to allow access without opening the assembly. Although it wouldn’t be ideal, this keyboard could also be used as a second player interface.
Given how well-finished the build turned out, it makes sense that Brailsford would have thought of these nice touches. He even went so far as to have a second machine available to test things out on before trying it on what would become the ROMBUS3000. Even with a test machine there were some parts of the build that would effectively ruin it. As he puts it, “You just have to take your time and not rush.”
Of course, one awesome finishing touch was the name “ROMBUS3000.” According to Brailsford, he was “trying to think of something suitably retro and it seemed like everything in the 80s was something 2000, so given we have passed the year 2000 now, 3000 seemed more futuristic.” The ROMBUS part of the name was “mainly a nod to the fact it’s an emulator and plays video game roms, but again, it also seemed suitably retro.”
Check it out in action in the video below where he plays several old-school favorites!
If you’re in the area, Brailsford will be at Maker Faire New York this weekend. He’ll have a beard and be wearing, naturally, a Circuitbeard shirt. Be sure to say “hi!”