The size, power and influence of the modern gaming industry huge! It's tremendous and stupendous; it's frigging awesome.
The network of designers, developers, engineers, mathematicians and scientists that supports that immense need for more button bashing time is the backbone that gives our dreams a reality.
How best can the leaders of today, serve to future-proof the #gaming industry of tomorrow? Albert Gajšak, an 18-year-old student from Croatia, has an idea how and he calls it the MAKERbuino.
An Educational Device Shaped Like A Console
The MAKERbuino is the do-it-yourself gaming console designed to make a kid's passion for gaming into something more.
Don't be fooled by the kit form assembly of the console though. This is not flat pack bundle of chipboard achievement, no, you need to raise your expectations a little higher.
The MAKERbuino teaches kids how to:
- Code and
- Program their own games.
The main premises of the learning pathway is to teach kids how to learn and apply Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) to gaming and their lives. The MAKERbuino fundamentally educates these academic disciplines by encouraging children's participation through the medium of gaming.
It's For Kids Years 11+
The first workshop was held in January this year and was a success. Kids and keen instructors happily worked together to make the MAKERbuino a reality.
To build your own MAKERbuino the only things you'll need are some basic tools and an interest in #technology. You'll need:
- Regular soldering iron (nothing super expensive is required) and some solder
- Diagonal cutter pliers
- Regular screwdriver
- Desoldering vacuum pump (optional)
Think of the MAKERbuino as an 8-bit #retro tool that shapes kids minds. It is not designed to play high-resolution graphics or blue-rays on the go. Rather, its 2kB of RAM is representative of the baseline migration from player to creator.
What Games Does It Play?
The MAKERbuino has a substantial list of games available to download and play. They are all are retro in nature due to the consoles limited capacity however the game gallery is opened-sourced.
This means the build is only the initial phase of the consoles development. Continuing the theme of #education, the Arduino source code can be downloaded to investigate, build and contribute your own game to the MAKERbuino library. The idea is to teach kids to:
Develop in-game menus and other GUI-related content
Play and develop sound FX and background music
Draw, display and animate bitmaps
Emulate MAKERbuino games on your PC
Everything about the #MAKERbuino is an open book that encourages the user to explore as their interest and confidence grows. The steps involved are more than simple instructions, instead, each progressive juncture furthers the students understanding of how and why each action takes place.
Now you have to find a 10k resistor and place it on the spot marked R2. This is what the resistors look like.... Resistors are used for.... This is how you read a resistor....)
I Think I Want One
The MAKERbuino reminds me of spending time with my Dad in 1985 to build a Tamiya Hotshot. The experience of building something from scratch and spending quality time with the big guy was priceless.
Admittedly, there are aspects that are well above a 11-year-old's initial skill set such as making compatible boards and modules. That's okay though, the fact that everything about the MAKERbuino has been developed to guide thoughtful experimentation only serves to broadens its appeal as an instructional device for nearly all ages.
Our goal is to encourage people to become creative makers and explorers of the wonderful world of DIY electronics. MAKERbuino allows you to develop your hardware and software skills. Make video games, explore new hardware solutions, learn from numerous tutorials and share your work with the community. Change the button caps, code a Pokemon-like video game, connect a GPS module, turn your MAKERbuino into a robot car…get creative.
Learning and tinkering with stuff has always been an exciting pass time that continues with the MAKERbuino. The MAKERbuino continues the belief that education can be fun. Kids and adults alike will see the academic benefit and fun through understanding how their favourite gaming pass-time is made possible.
With a thoughtful educational tool like the MAKERbuino teaching the gamers of tomorrow, who knows that the future will hold.
What are your thoughts on the MAKERbuino? Let me know in the comments below.