Video games, as a medium, has been pushing the boundaries for what is technologically possible since their very inception. While modern next-gen hardware continues to push the envelope of realism in games, some historians have looked back on older technology from a modern perspective. Games that once required an entire arcade cabinet to run can now be played on an iPhone. In fact, much of the large, unwieldy hardware of 8os era gaming has been shrunken so much over the years that it finally begged the question: Just how small can games be? That was the question posed by the company TinyCircuts, and their team was determined to find out. What they produced can only be described as a micro Gameboy Micro which they dubbed the Thumby.
With advances in hardware, we are now able to make the same gaming hardware from the late 80s into something thumb-sized and adorably tiny. It was possible to make, so we did it, and now you can play it for yourself!
Thumby is aptly named since this tiny gaming device could literally fit comfortably in the palm of your hand. The device has a simple D-pad, two buttons, and a surprisingly advanced OLED display which outclasses screens such as Sony’s Pocketstation and Sega’s Dreamcast VMU; both of which use basic LED displays. As Kotaku reports, Thumby’s Kickstarter exceeded its’ goals in two short hours and now sits at well over $50,000 out of the $15,000 the team originally asked for. That’s a whole lot of funding; especially for a device you can buy for just $10.
The Thumby will come pre-loaded with five games that have taken inspiration from the classics. There’s TinyBlocks (Tetris), Annelid (Snake), Space Debris (Asteroids), Saur Run (the Google Chrome dinosaur game??), and a tiny dungeon crawler titled Delver which looks to be the most fleshed out in the lineup (based off the early rouge-like Hack). All of these games are free and open-source, meaning that users can actually go in to edit the code of the games themselves in the easy-to-use Thumby IDE. Not only does this give the pre-made games more replay value, but it also opens the door for fans to make their very own games, which TinyCircuts says they can upload to an upcoming webpage on their website. Not only that, but Thumby games can even be multiplayer using the Thumby Link Cable!
We plan on creating many more games and will be hosting a place on our website where other Thumby users can share their own games.
Thumby, at the time of writing, isn’t available for purchase yet, but you can head to their Kickstarter to chip in and get one reserved now!