PicoSystem

The PicoSystem is an even tinier handheld console, again from the folks at Pimoroni.

Based on an RP2040 (perhaps better known as the Raspberry Pi Pico), it literally fits in the palm of your hand and has a tiny 1.54" screen and a comically terrible buzzer for sound.

There is so much to love in this tiny little console; there is a slimline API which does the bare minimum and mostly keeps out of your way, and thanks to the wizardry of DaftFreak it can be a target of the much more sophisticated 32blit API.

The practical upshot of this second point is that any game built for the 32blit is trivially portable to the PicoSystem. Yes, you need to accomodate the smaller (and differently aspect ratioed) screen, and the controls are more basic. And the sound is ... very different. But as long as you build your game carefully, it's literally a case of recompiling for the right target.

Which is all well and good if you have a game to port, but being the Luddite that I am I retain a soft spot for the native API which is why I list them first here.

Of course, the downside of that more basic API is that there is no desktop build, so the development cycle is a lot more tedious as you have to upload each change to the device itself and debugging is ... well, it's a pain. But if everything was easy, it would be boring!


The Games

I'll admit, this was an idea borne almost entirely out of the obvious name pun. 2048 is a well known and regularly-cloned puzzle game. Originally created by Gabriele Cirulli but hopefully he'll forgive me stealing his idea.

I wrote this (very quickly) as a way to experiment with the native API. As you can see from the code it's pretty basic but it's a complete game and even has a few beeps.


Originally built for the 32blit, this demonstrates quite nicely how easy it is to port a game on that API - this took an afternoon of retrofitting because although it handled different screen sizes, the changes aspect ratio meant redesigning all the levels.