In 2006 a new miniature scale of model trains were introduced, the T gauge. I believe we can go even smaller! This is a complete train set that is the size of a book, featuring a motorized train that has variable speed and the ability to switch tracks on demand.
The locomotive is propelled by a magnet attached to an on-rails motor in the base. This system is a lot like those mechanical PONG tables which debuted a few years ago. The nose of the train has the metal needed to be pulled by the magnet below.
The rails system is something you’d find in a 3D printer, image scanner, or even an Etch-A-Sketch. It would guide the tiny train along its route that is stored in an onboard computer. It would be nice to swap out the track for different layouts (these could be printed on cardboard).
This desk toy would feature dedicated controls for the track switches, and a big dial for the speed. When this device is powered off, the train is automatically diverted to a side rail where it parks. The design above is sparse but the layout could be populated with buildings, trees, vehicles, and so forth. Lights and sounds are also possible.
There are drawbacks! Only one functioning train is possible, the train length would need to be short, and the terrain would need to be flat (you can add tunnels, but no bridges over rivers for example). And lastly if the motor is loud this concept wouldn’t be worthwhile, this thing needs to be quiet!
In the meantime you can buy these neat tiny trains but they feature basic oval tracks.
Arcade1Up recently released a series of mini plug-and-play consoles, and they appear to be solid emulation devices (granted their controllers could be better). I felt the console itself could be a bit more fun so I redesigned it to look like an Insert Coin slot from an arcade machine.
I just turned their console on its side and moved the power button, everything is still aligned to a single PCB board. The only major addition is an internal LED light.
This controller design is to help make older game systems like the NES and SNES become more accessible. While it looks like a regular joystick, this was inspired by automatic shift knobs seen in modern cars. The hand rests on top and moves the stick for D-Pad inputs. The thumb controls the action buttons (A B X Y plus START/SELECT), while the index and middle fingers hit the L and R shoulder buttons (much like clicking on a mouse).
The action buttons can be placed on both sides of the stick to make this for both lefties and righties, OR another set of L and R buttons could be included to achieve the same dual functionality (the shape of the stick would need to be symmetrical). However it would be more comfortable, and better for button-mapping, if a dedicated version was made for right hands, and another for left hands.
While it could be wielded like a regular joystick, this controller may need to be placed in a spot that is similar to the aforementioned car shifter knob. The user would need to be sitting in a reclined position, with the controller parked next to their knee. This layout would yield the most comfort, especially for prolonged gaming sessions.
SNES was used as the example here, but the idea could be applied to most 8-bit and 16-bit systems, or other systems that had a single directional input (Saturn, Dreamcast). I already designed a one-handed controller for the Atari.
Another keychain design, this time commemorating Google’s famous dinosaur video game (which occurs when you have no internet connection on the Chrome browser). It’s a fun game that helps pass the time, and it would be nice to have in a pocket-sized package.
This design borrows a screen and solar panel from a calculator (engineering or scientific calculator for a fancier dot matrix screen), the idea being you’d have this to play with when your phone dies. It features one recessed button, which is pressed for 2 seconds to power the device on or off.
The solar aspect could be removed for a more traditional battery-based device that can offer numerous features like a power bank or USB drive, but personally I’d rather have one less gadget to charge all the time.
This is a small Bluetooth arcade controller that is based on TV plug-and-play systems from 10 or so years ago. I was shopping for this very thing and to my surprise, it doesn’t exist*, thought I’d draw it up. Sorry for another Arcade-related post!
I like the small form factor of those plug-and-play systems, they were slightly bigger than an Atari 2600 joystick. For the majority of older games that I like to play, only two buttons are needed.
One possible scenario is if such a controller doubled as a streaming remote. Maybe Amazon would bundle this with their Fire Stick? Or Apple could include this with their Apple TV as a handy way to enjoy their Arcade service? Some plug-and-plays had a joystick that rotated (to play racing games like Pole Position), so that feature could be used as a volume control here.
My original goal was to buy such a controller for my PS4, where I own several arcade classics. I also considered buying an old plug-and-play too, but sadly they all use RCA composite cables. I was hoping this controller would enable a more modern HDMI solution.
*This device was close, but is too tall and lacked a mechanical joystick. You can buy mini fighting sticks too, but they have 6 or 8 buttons and are too big to fit in your hand.
This design is a bit gimmicky and doesn’t really need The Simpsons deco, but I like the idea of a large floor TV that transforms into an arcade cabinet. This way you can play old-school consoles or arcade games in one device. Plus it sorta looks cool in my opinion.
The Simpsons floor TV from their first 20 or so seasons is iconic, and meshes nicely with their highly-regarded arcade game from the early 90’s, so I went with that look. Another way to go is an all-wood finish, as was typical for these old TVs, which doubled as furniture because they were so big.
Had to make the TV wider to incorporate flaps that both conceal the inner workings and serve to prop up the screen and controls for arcade mode. The monitor has struts that would slowly drop it into place when it is upright, the animation here doesn’t fully reflect that.
The VCR/cable box would store the arcade electronics and speakers. The antennae would need to be folded down for the transformation. I believe all of the internal cables would function here in both modes, but external devices (like game consoles) may need to be unplugged to allow for the transformation. A flatscreen with a 4:3 aspect ratio is ideal here, but a 16:9 screen can be enclosed and cropped by the outer frame.
I often wished the arcade cabinet for the TMNT games looked like the Party Wagon, thought I would share my weird idea today. This design made more sense when 4-player cabinets were huge and had large CRT televisions inside, but you could put a driving cabinet inside to make this an actual vehicle of sorts (similar to this old design of mine).
The blast shield folds up to reveal the screen, controls, and marquee. Otherwise it would look like the Party Wagon is parked in your living room.
Tried my best to make it look built of plywood and t-molding, so I do feel this is a very plausible design. Hatchback struts would be needed to hold the blast shield up, and the wheels would need to come from a riding mower, methinks.