An inch-tall Game Boy clone

Originally published at: An inch-tall Game Boy clone | Boing Boing

I can’t use this until it’s 1/2" tall. Needs to be shrunk down to 1:12 scale doll house dimensions. :wink:

2,048 pixels is less than 1/10 the number of pixels in the original Gameboy (23,040). I was really hoping that with our modern HiDPI displays we could find something 0.5" across but the full 160 x 144.

An iPhone display with 458 DPI would be more than dense enough if you could find someone to make it that small. There has to be some smartwatch screen somewhere with the right dimensions.

For that matter, you could make a more practical version by building this as a smartwatch and having separate Bluetooth handheld controllers (D-Pad for the left, buttons for the right, sort of like Nintendo’s Joycons). It might be a little awkward holding your wrist up to squint at the tiny screen, but the novelty factor is through the roof.

I had an MP3 player slightly larger than this once. It had a 96x96 screen, and a simple dpad setup with a button in the center.

You could convert movie files to watch on it, and it had some simple games. I eventually lost it on an airplane, but it was fucking cool as hell, if not exactly practical.

Well, you’d also potentially need 10x the compute. And that may not even be the gotcha: Pushing pixels is literally a bottleneck for framerate on some protocols available (like I2C and SPI). I had a device that I got up to 60hz or so only by doing partial renders (telling the screen to retain pixels and only sending the changed bits).

Goes searching… Probably using this part, which is indeed I2C:
0.49” OLED Display – Heltec Automation

Interestingly enough, BANK0 is used to configure the contrast ratio of the device: It defines how long a pixel’s “on” command can take. If you set this to 64 and leave the signal high for (say) 64 clock cycles, then it’s full white. Leaving the signal low for all 64 clock signals leaves it black. It’s very timing dependent.

The chip supports the ability to scroll the display using bitshift operation, which is pretty brilliant.

At any rate, if I’m reading this specsheet right, you could just barely hit 15fps if the OLED had Gameboy resolution given the default contrast ratios.

That mode of operations makes it sound like it will have even worse smearing than the original Gameboy.

Well, that’s just time to transfer the frame using the wire protocol. I2C is designed for cross-compatibility (I mean, there’s I2C compatible chips in tiiiiny three-wire temperature probes, for example). So there’s a fair bit of padding with each instruction transmitted for compatibility purposes. It does look like it supports serial mode communication, that’s probably faster yet.

As for the display itself, it’s geared for low-power situations (only uses 0.06W displaying typical text, no need for a backlight, 2000:1 high-contrast even in sunlight, and a 160 degree viewing angle, operates in -30 to +70 C, etc.)… all that, but I don’t see the rise/fall time on per-pixel state changes. So I can’t speak to the ghosting. :stuck_out_tongue:

But can it run Doom?

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