In brief: Do you like the idea of mobile gaming but want something more discreet than a Nintendo Switch, Steam Deck, or even a phone? How about a device that’s roughly the same size as your thumb? That’s the concept behind the aptly named Thumby, a Raspberry Pi-powered gaming system that’s already smashed through its Kickstarter goal with 29 days still to go.
Thumby, which comes from TinyCircuits, is a 1.2″ X 0.7″ X 0.3″ device powered by the RP2040 SoC found in the Raspberry Pi Pico. It comes with a 72 x 40 Monochrome OLED, Piezo Speaker, 2MB of storage, and a 40mAh Rechargeable LiPo Battery that offers around 2 hours of gameplay.
Speaking of games, the Thumby is preloaded with five retro-style titles, including ones similar to classics Snake and Asteroids, all playable using the Game Boy-like 4-way D-pad and two buttons. Additionally, you can link it to another Thumby using a special double-ended Micro USB cable for some multiplayer gaming.
Probably the most interesting aspect of Thumby is how it allows users to create their own games using the MicroPython programming language or through the Arduino IDE. “We’ve created an easy-to-use browser web IDE to draw in-game images and program games all in one tab,” writes TinyCircuits. “All you need to get started is your Thumby, a micro USB cable, and one of our step-by-step game writing tutorials.”
Another welcome element of Thumby is the price. It’s just $19 in the classic light gray color, or $24 for something more colorful that also comes with a commemorative keychain. The Kickstarter has already reached almost $38,000 from over 900 backers, passing its $15,000 target and unlocking a stretch goal that unlocks a third case color.
Thumby is set to ship in December 2021 for early bird backers (now gone) or February 2022 for all other tiers. The usual crowdfunding caveats and warnings apply, though it’s worth noting that TinyCircuits has a history of successful Kickstarter projects stretching back almost a decade.