Player One, Ready? This ADABOX will show you how to become your own video game creator with MakeCode Arcade. No need to save your quarters up either, all you need is a computer with a web browser to use Microsoft's game creation engine. Learn about sprites, tile maps, and sound effects to craft your masterpiece, then run it on the PyGamer board for portable gameplay.

PyGamer is our full-featured portable gaming platform. It features a color TFT display, analog joystick, buttons, speaker, headphone jack, SD card slot, as well as light and motion sensors. It's hack-able, you can plug in STEMMA cables or FeatherWings to extend its capabilities. It's designed to work perfectly with MakeCode Arcade, and you can also write games in CircuitPython, Arduino, or even run an emulator to play old 8-bit games of yore.

This ADABOX is possible with the generous sponsorship and support from Digi-Key. They made designing and shipping this box a breeze thanks to how fast they shipped our parts orders. We are so impressed with their accuracy and speed, we wrote a game in their honor, its already included on the PyGamer. Try and see if you can pack purchase orders as well as they do!

AdaBox 012 Contents

Adafruit PyGamer for MakeCode Arcade, CircuitPython or Arduino

What fits in your pocket, is fully Open Source, and can run CircuitPython, MakeCode Arcade or Arduino games you write yourself? That's right, it's the Adafruit PyGamer! We wanted to make an entry-level gaming handheld for DIY gaming, and maybe a little retro-emulation. It's not the fastest and best of everything but it is an all-in-one dev board with a lot of possibilities!

The PyGamer is powered by our favorite chip, the ATSAMD51, with 512KB of flash and 192KB of RAM. We add 8 MB of QSPI flash for file storage, handy for images, fonts, sounds, or game assets.

On the front you get a 1.8" 160x128 color TFT display with dimmable backlight - we have fast DMA support for drawing so updates are incredibly fast. A dual-potentiometer analog stick gives you great control, with easy diagonal movement - or really any direction you like. There's also 4 square-top buttons, which fit our square top button caps. The buttons are arranged to mimic a gaming handheld, with 2 menu-select buttons and 2 fire-action buttons. There's also 5 NeoPixel LEDs to dazzle or track activity.

On the back we have a full Feather-compatible header socket set, so you can plug in any FeatherWing to expand the capabilities of the PyGamer. There's also 3 STEMMA connectors - two 3-pin with ADC/PWM capability and one 4-pin that connects to I2C - you can use this for Grove sensors as well.

For built in sensors, there's a light sensor that points out the front, and a 3-axis accelerometer that can detect taps and free-fall. To make bleeps and bloops, plug in any set of stereo headphones. For projects where you need more volume, you can plug in one of our 8 ohm speakers. The PyGamer will auto-switch to headphones when they're plugged in, otherwise play through the speaker.

Mini Oval Speaker with Short Wires - 8 Ohm 1 Watt

Plug it into your PyGamer to play music or game sound effects.

This wee speaker is a great addition to any audio project where you need 8 ohm impedance and 1W or less of power. We particularly like this speaker as it is small and comes with nice skinny wires with a connector on the end. It has a handy "Molex PicoBlade" 1.25mm pitch 2-pin cable, which makes plugging into a board easy. Or you can cut off the connector and just solder/clamp onto the wires directly.

Lithium Ion Polymer Battery with Short Cable - 3.7V 350mAh

When installed in the PyGamer it will let you take it on the go.

Lithium ion polymer (also known as 'lipo' or 'lipoly') batteries are thin, light and powerful. The output ranges from 4.2V when completely charged to 3.7V. This battery has a capacity of 350mAh for a total of about 1.3 Wh.

Plastic Button Caps For Square Top - 8mm Diameter

Customize your PyGamer with five different button colors that snap onto match your personal style.

These Reese's Piece's lookin' bits fit perfectly on top of tactile buttons with 2.4mm square tops and give a satisfying 8mm diameter surface area for your fingers to press.

You get 10 candy-colored round caps. You get two of each color: red, yellow, white, gray, and Adafruit black.


PyGamer Enclosure Kit

You've got your PyGamer, and you're ready to start jammin' on your favorite arcade games. You gaze adoringly at the charming silkscreen designed by Ada-friend PaintYourDragon. The nostalgia is palpable!

Cradling the PCB in your hands, you realize there's something missing. You feel an overwhelming need to protect this incredible gaming console. 

Prevent monsters, gremlins, big level bosses, or accidentally-spilled coffee giving you a GAME OVER with the PyGamer Enclosure Kit! Expertly crafted and laser-cut, this enclosure will give your PyGamer a minimalist and elegant look. Laser cut acrylic with hardware.

Zipper Case

Keep your PyGamer safe in this soft zipper case, it even h as a storage pocket for cables, headphones or SD cards!

Bonus Extras for AdaBox Subscribers!

Gridded Notebook and Marker Set

Dream up your pixel art of game map on this lay-flat notebook with a square grid background.

Use the twelve colorful markers to plan and design your characters, levels, and effects!

MakeCode Arcade and Retro Handheld Sticker Set

Decorate your case and check out the family tree that inspired PyGamer with these excellent stickers!

Plus, a highly awesome MakeCode Arcade sticker!

Wireframe Magazine

The magazine that lifts the lid on video games. Look at how games are made, who makes them, and even read through the process of making your own.

This guide was first published on Jun 16, 2019. It was last updated on Aug 14, 2019.

This page (Unboxing AdaBox 012) was last updated on Jun 10, 2019.

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