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History of video games/Platforms/Adafruit PyGamer

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The Adafruit office in SoHo, Manhattan, New York City, the provenance of the PyGamer.

The Adafruit PyGamer was released on May 21st, 2019 for $39.95.[1][2]

In July 2019 the system attracted media attention for a media player developed for the system that displayed GIFs of noted actor Keanu Reeves.[3] The previous month Keanu Reeves had gained widespread attention in the gaming community for announcing his role in Cyberpunk 2077.[4]

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic Adafruit shifted focus to manufacture and distribute vital personal protective equipment under New York State Executive Order 202.6.[5][6] As a result non-essential orders for products such as the PyGamer were routed through distributors such as DigiKey.[7]

Though niche, the system had an enduring legacy, and was well known for it's good software support.[8]


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The PyGamer is powered by an 32 bit ARM Cortex M4 ATSAMD51J19 processor clocked at 120 megahertz with 192 kilobytes of RAM and 512 kilobytes of flash storage.[9][10] The processor can be overclocked to at least 200 megahertz for increased performance.[11]

The PyGamer has eight megabytes of flash storage.[9] A microSD card slot is used for expanded storage.[9]


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The PyGamer has a color 1.8" TFT LCD with a resolution of 160 by 128 pixels.[9] This screen was backlit, and had adjustable brightness levels.[9] The PyGamer also has five "NeoPixels", which are individually addressable RGB LEDs.[9]

The PyGamer sports a 3 axis accelerometer and a front facing light sensor.[9] This allows some motion controls for games, as well as to dynamically adjust screen brightness or use ambient light as a game input.

A feather socket is used for expansion wings.[12] This gives compatibility with a number of feather add ons.[13] Such wing add ons include things like IR cameras,[14] or additional displays.[15] Additionally the PyGamer has three JST ports for expansion through that standard.[11]

The PyGamer board is compliant with the ROHS3 standard.[10] The system includes hardware for managing LiPo batteries, but notably did not ship with a battery by default.[2]

Instructions for a DIY crank controller add on were released.[16]


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The Arduino IDE, one of the programming environments available for the PyGamer.

Programming environments supported include Arduino, Python, and Microsoft MakeCode Arcade.[17] TensorFlow Lite was ported to the platform.[11]


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The Adafruit PyGamer loads games from Makecode Arcade, including those shared by other users through the service.[18]


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  1. "NEW PRODUCT – Adafruit PyGamer for MakeCode Arcade, CircuitPython or Arduino". Adafruit Industries - Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers!. 21 May 2019. Retrieved 10 November 2020.
  2. a b "The Adafruit PyGamer Is a Brand New Maker-Friendly Handheld Console". Hackster.io. Retrieved 10 November 2020.
  3. "Someone Made A Portable Keanu Gif Player And I Need It Now". Gizmodo Australia. 2 July 2019. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
  4. "Keanu Reeves Showed Up at E3 to Say He's in 'Cyberpunk 2077'" (in en-us). Wired. https://www.wired.com/story/keanu-reeves-e3-cyberpunk-2077/. 
  5. Torrone, Phillip (22 March 2020). "Adafruit Industries, Essential service and business: NYC – Executive Order 202.6 Capabilities and more #NewYorkTough #NewYorkStrong #adafruitchronicles @adafruit". Adafruit Industries - Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers!. https://blog.adafruit.com/2020/03/22/covid/. 
  6. "How To Place an Essential, COVID-19 Related Order at Adafruit". Adafruit Learning System. Retrieved 13 December 2020.
  7. "Adafruit is open, safely ... and shipping all orders". www.adafruit.com. Retrieved 13 December 2020.
  8. Pounder, Les (23 October 2021). "Pimoroni PicoSystem Review: Tiny Console for Big Ideas" (in en). Tom's Hardware. https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/pimoroni-picosystem-review-tiny-console-for-big-ideas. 
  9. a b c d e f g "Introducing Adafruit PyGamer". Adafruit Learning System. Retrieved 10 November 2020.
  10. a b "1528-4242-ND". Retrieved 13 December 2020.
  11. a b c "Machine Learning That’s Light Enough for an Arduino" (in en). IEEE Spectrum: Technology, Engineering, and Science News. https://spectrum.ieee.org/geek-life/hands-on/machine-learning-thats-light-enough-for-an-arduino. 
  12. Verma, Adarsh (3 June 2019). "PyGamer Is A Fully Open Source Handheld Gaming Console". Fossbytes. Retrieved 10 November 2020.
  13. "Introducing Adafruit Feather". Adafruit Learning System. Retrieved 13 December 2020.
  14. Industries, Adafruit. "Adafruit AMG8833 IR Thermal Camera FeatherWing". www.adafruit.com. Retrieved 13 December 2020.
  15. Industries, Adafruit. "Adafruit 2.13" HD Tri-Color eInk / ePaper Display FeatherWing". www.adafruit.com. Retrieved 13 December 2020.
  16. "PyGamer - Gaming Handheld Crank". Adafruit Learning System. Retrieved 26 February 2021.
  17. "Adafruit PyGamer". Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers. Retrieved 10 November 2020.
  18. "Introducing Adafruit PyGamer". Adafruit Learning System. Retrieved 13 November 2020.