Here is a dock design that can wirelessly charge your smartphone or tablet, and lets you play your favorite racing game as well. This is based on the TOMY Turnin’ Turbo Dashboard toy from the 80’s, and is inspired by this neat mod I saw on Youtube. There was a time when gaming peripherals similar to this were made for smart devices, I doubt such a thing will ever happen again.
Here’s a list of the many neat things I’ve liked from the past few years, most of which aren’t well-known so I want to show them off here. These can be gift suggestions or something you might enjoy,
1. Retro-Bit Super Retro-Cade (left). This plug-and-play console is my daily driver for older retro games. It has 100+ games built-in, two controllers, HDMI output, and an SD Card slot. I love it because it’s easy to use, easy to add games to, and is just a solid all-round machine. I’ve wrestled with a few Raspberry Pi consoles in the past, and the Super Retro-Cade was a walk in the park to use. Highly recommended.
2. LDK Game (right). This was the first of many Chinese handhelds that have come out in the past 18 months, and it’s been another daily driver for me when I hit the road. It’s easy to pocket, and adding games over USB is a breeze. My one complaint: only about 3 hours of battery life. There are many other handhelds with analog sticks and wider form factors, but I mostly play 8-bit and 16-bit games so this is perfect for me. If I had to get a system with analog controls, it would be an Anbernic handheld (the 350M, 350P, or 351).
3. Tiny Arcade DIY Kit (left). I don’t own this but it is very cool device! You put the whole thing together and load it up with freeware games (like Tiny Tetris and Tiny Invaders). A perfect project for kids or adults who like to tinker with stuff. They are about the size of those Super Impulse Tiny Arcade toys which have been popular for a few years now.
4. Haynes Retro Arcade Kit (right). Another kit that you build yourself, the end result is a PONG game with a screen made up of LED bulbs. Requires soldering of wires, so it’s not exactly for kids. If you would prefer something that is already built, Arcade1UP is releasing a Mini PONG Jr in the near future too.
For years I thought it would be fun to embed a smart assistant like Siri or Alexa into a plush toy like Teddy Ruxpin so a child can converse endlessly with a character they enjoy. However I was not comfortable with all the electronics that would be inside the plush toy, or the upkeep that would be needed (like charging the battery or cleaning the plush toy).
I feel it would be best if all of the electronics were completely separated from the plush toy, and placed in a walkie-talkie that the child can interact with. The plush toy would be holding a walkie-talkie too, but it would have no electronics, it is just a prop. The battery, speaker, microphone — everything needed to engage with a smart assistant is in the main walkie-talkie.
As for the smart assistant, I’m not sure if Siri or Alexa can be given the helium treatment to sound like Elmo, or if the character’s voice actor would need to record new dialogue, but either way the voice is a very important feature for this toy, it is the main selling point after all.
Ideally a child can have entire conversations with Elmo, play games, or even be quizzed for an educational aspect. The sky’s the limit with smart assistants, although this one would need parental controls obviously.
I’ve always wanted to incorporate a steering wheel into a handheld gaming device, because I don’t enjoy nudging a d-pad or analog stick for the entirety of a race. The wheel allows for a more fluid control scheme, and possibly a more relaxing experience while playing. Unfortunately this device would be exclusive to racing games!
This handheld was inspired by an F1 steering wheel, notably the carbon fiber body and colorful buttons. The wheel is embedded into the device, both thumb grips are joined by an arm that rests behind the screen. The shoulder buttons are the accelerate and brake inputs, and there are paddles on the back for shifting (not shown here).
Went with SEGA because they have been dipping their toes into making hardware again, plus they have an extensive catalog of racing games: Out Run, Hang-On, Daytona USA, Sonic Team Racing, Sega Rally, and Virtua Racing to name a few.
Force feedback and rumble could be incorporated, but that depends on the games included (if they are all retro it wouldn’t be worthwhile). One must-have feature would be to link up multiple devices for multiplayer racing, where many of these games excel.
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.
The top of the Xbox Series X illuminates, so this idea was born. If Microsoft did make something like this, the “flame” section would need to allow airflow somehow (lots of holes?). A Minecraft Creeper deco is more likely.
Good news everyone! I was removed from Facebook because I changed my phone number last year, so I couldn’t verify my account…so yeah that is all gone. As a result I decided to close my Tumblr and Twitter accounts too, so I can further declutter my life. I recommend subscribing for email alerts if you want to stay up to date on new posts here.
EDIT: my mistake, I thought the top of the Series X had a green LED, it is actually a green plastic trim underneath the black grill on top. This idea could still be done, if the torch came with its own LED fixture.
This is a very broad idea where an old game cartridge is retrofitted with some form of new gadget. For this example, a mini PC was fitted in between a Nintendo 64 cartridge. Because cartridges can be disassembled into two halves, just about anything could be wedged in between.
Game cartridges could be turned into a plethora of devices: mini or single board PCs, game consoles, streaming boxes, NAS servers, Bluetooth speakers, smart assistants, and so on. Even small Game Boy cartridges could be turned into USB wall adapters.
And yes, it would be preferable if dead games (or common sports games) are used, but if none are available you can buy blank cartridge shells just about anywhere.