Open source handheld game kit: Meggy Jr


I played with an early prototype of delightfully engrossing Meggy Jr at Maker Faire Austin in October. It's an open-source kit to build your own pixel-based video games. It's made by my friends at Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories: Windell, Lenore, and Chris.

Meggy Jr RGB is a new kit that we designed as a platform to develop handheld pixel games. It's based around a fully addressable 8x8 RGB LED matrix display, and features six big fat buttons for comfy game play. The kit is driven by an ATmega168 microcontroller, and you can write your own games or otherwise control it through the Arduino development environment. Meggy Jr is fast, programmable, open source and hackable. And fun.
Kit prices range from $65 to $95. Meggy Jr RGB


  1. But what can you do with 8×8 pixels? I’m all for retrogaming, but this goes beyond retro — if you were going to make a “space invaders” game, 8×8 would be just enough for a single invader.

  2. This is fabulous. I just spent most of the day finishing an Arduino/ATmega168 project to control the shutter of my DSLR camera. The ATmega168 chip and the Arduino C compiler totally rocks.

    I can definitely see all kinds of simple games that could work on that display. I can also see it as a really fun way for young people to learn how to design and/or program applications. Way more fun than programming shell metzner sorts.

    As for lack of resolution, the ATmega168 can easily drive a colour LCD touchscreen display if that’s what you want…

  3. It’s for minimalist fast action arcade games– a lot of the 8-bit era games have fundamentally simple game play that doesn’t change much as the number of pixels goes to (almost) zero. Space invaders is a good idea– each invader is one dot, and you get a 5 wide x 4 tall array of invaders at the top of the screen. More like Centipede. Pole position (especially once you wire up an accelerometer for steering.) Frogger.

    Connect Four, Lite-Brite, and Simon sound pretty boring. :|

  4. I think it’s lovely! And not just lovely-for-open-source, but genuinely lovely! The fact that it’s so minimalist tempts me way more than, say, GP2X does…

  5. From the pictures, it looks like each pixel can light up in differant colours. If that’s the case, then a whole slew of puzzle type games are easily possible.

    Heck, you could do checkers, connect-4, othello/reversi, etc.

  6. The mere existence of this kit is a perfect hacker test.

    The ones who get it go: “Wow, cool! I can think up a dozen ideas for this, or ways to connect it to other things…”

    The ones who don’t get it go: “I can’t play Quake on this? Forget it.”

  7. For a lovely if childish pun, a copy should be sent to America’s new President-elect. His first name means “peach” (or “apricot”) in Hungarian, while Meggy translates to “sour cherry”.

    I wonder what else you need for a great fruit salad.

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