If you are already mesmerized by the simplicity and body dimensions of the Playdate, wait until you see Thumby.
Thumby is an aptly named, thumb-sized console that can serve as a keychain. Created by TinyCircuits, it measures 29.5 mm x 18 mm x 8.5 mm and has a teeny tiny 72 x 40 pixel monochrome OLED on which you can play games.
The games of Thumby aren’t exactly groundbreaking. You have Tiny Blocks, a puzzle game; Space Debris, a space shooter game; Annelid, a classic Snake-like game; Delver, a dungeon crawler with light RPG elements and a battle system; and Saur Run, a side scroller where you control a running and jumping dinosaur.
You can interact with any of the 5 pre-installed games using the console’s 6 buttons. The controls are composed of 4 directional buttons and 2 gameplay buttons. (The physical interface is reminiscent of a classic Nintendo Game Boy!)
What’s cool about Thumby is that you can take these existing games and modify them yourself! Using the MicroPython programming language and the tutorials provided, you can rewrite or even create your own games. It’s a great way to get into coding video games, as the Raspberry Pi RP2040 Processor is quite easy to use (especially with those handy tutorials). Provided you don’t go over the very limited 2 MB internal memory storage, you can modify and create as many games as you want.
You can connect the Thumby to your computer via a micro USB cable for charging and programming. On the other hand, the 40 mAh rechargeable LiPo battery can run on a full charge for 2 hours of non-stop gaming. With this, it can definitely be an on-the-go type of console that you pull out when your phone is running out of juice.
Further, it sports multiplayer support! Using the provided Thumby Link cable, you and a friend can enjoy together any of the games you have installed.
Now I don’t need to tell you that this thing is more of a novelty item than anything else. There is a possibility of it causing carpal tunnel and dwindling eyesight, but it can save you from the dullest moments when your iPhone is out of juice.
With a going retail price of $19 ($9 if you’re an early bird), there is a lot to love about the Thumby. It’s small, easily programmable, and is an excellent way to kill time.
Folks must really love squinting to play their video games since Thumby is already fully funded on Kickstarter. As of now, it has current funding of US$51,582 – a far cry from its initial US$15,000 goal. You can find more about this extremely compact console over on the Thumby Kickstarter page.