Meet the games handheld that has to be built to be played

Technology Will Save Us is a company that makes kits and runs classes to turn consumers into craftsmen. It can help you make a tiny synth, a pair of programmable LED glasses, and now a console.

“We tried to go back to the archetype of a gaming device,” says product designer and ‘creative technologist’ Michail Vanis. “The screen only has 64 pixels and no colours; the buttons are just the classic up, down, left, right and start; and the sound is a monotone speaker. We were really inspired by those keyring-sized Game & Watches Nintendo used to make, because [they] stripped everything complicated for a really simple gaming experience.”

The DIY Gamer unit is a handheld stripped to its barest essentials and sold as a construction kit. The point is to illustrate the workings behind things that users take for granted.

“We made a connection with one 15-year-old from Hackney, who made a full version of Snake,” says Vanis. “It’s an obvious [game], but he had to learn how to make it from scratch – to make an apple disappear and make the snake grow longer. Someone’s made a fully fledged Super Mario on the 8×8 display. Mario’s basically a dot, he moves around, collects coins… It’s kind of come back to that Nintendo inspiration.”

Feeling inspired? The DIY Gamer Kit is available to purchase now from technologywillsaveus.org for £60.

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