The Arduboy.


Arduboy is a miniature game system.


Tiny black and white screen.
split d-pad and two buttons.
It stores one game internally.
People make free games for this for fun.

Marlfuchs2 posted about this in the Playdate thread, and I thought it looked neat, so I ordered one.
It arrived today.

Initial impressions.
The screen is better then I expected. I like the screen a lot.
I don't like the buttons, but they are okay.
installing software to load games onto the system, and trying to download games to load on to this system through labyrinthine websites is not a good time. It feels very 90's.

I've only played two games so far.
Mine came loaded with Sirène so I played that for a bit.
Sirène is a very pretty shooter in which you play a mermaid and shoot at enemy fish.
Some enemies take a lot of hits.
I swapped out Sirène for Castleboy.
Castleboy is the Arduboy Castlevania-like.
I got to the first boss. I had no idea what I was supposed to do, and I died.
I played it again. Beat the boss and felt stupid for not getting it the first time.
Castleboy seems good.
The Arduboy is neat. I'm glad I bought one.

If you're thinking about getting one, you might want to hold out.
Arduboy FX comes out in October. It's an Arduboy that can hold 200+ games instead of holding 1 game.

I kind of like how the original Arduboy only holds one game and boots directly into that one game.
I sure don't have a good first impression of the game swapping process though.

arduboy fx seems like the one for me! the guy who makes half those games, mostly homages to existing games, is extremely prolific and seems nice?

It looks like a fun time!

Arduboy, Day 2

### The Arduboy's limitations

There is no volume control. There is no way to turn the sound off on the device.
It has sound and the sound is on if the device is on.
A lot of games take this into consideration and have a silent title screen with an option to turn sound on or off.
Not all games do this, so some games have sound that will just be on if you play the game.
The device would have been a little nicer if it had a switch for turning sound on and off.
The common but not universal sound option in the menu screen is an interesting solution.
I'm kind of curious how I'll feel about this after spending more time with it. but for now I'm okay with it.

I notice occasionally that I'd like a way to pause games or put the system in a sleep mode.
The system doesn't have a sleep mode, and with no start button designers don't seem to add 'pause' into their games.
Some games seem to let the player be safe if they aren't advancing which takes the place of pausing, other games just don't have a way to pause.

### The Arduboy's games

I've tried a few more games.
Castleboy is my favorite Arduboy game so far, but I've found a couple more I like.

**Tris** is a nice version of Tetris.
There are some other versions of Tetris, but unless someone makes a TGM-clone I think I'll stick with this one.

**Space Cab** is fun. It's based on an old C64 game I'd never heard of called Space Taxi. Fly around pick up fares, and drop them off at their destinations for cash. This game unfortunately doesn't have a sound on and off option!

I also played a few games I didn't like, but I'm probably going to err toward only talking about the good stuff.

If anyone has any questions feel free to ask.
Also if anyone wants me to try out a particular game just let me know.

Arduboy, Day 3

### Breaking it in

So when I tried to flash a game onto it to replace Space Cab I couldn't.
I checked online. Sometimes games are too big for the system!
If the Arduboy gets stuck on a game; The first step is to try turning on flashlight mode.
If you hold up when turning on the Arduboy it just lights up the screen to operate as a flashlight.
Sometimes if a game is a little too big, booting into flashlight mode will let you flash to a new game.
It didn't work.
If that doesn't work there is a reset button on the bottom of the system. You can hit the reset and then flash to a new game while it is resetting.
That worked.

### Some more games

The scope of Arduboy games varies drastically. Some games are very small, simple, and unambitious.
Some games are very ambitious, sometimes they feel too big for the system, and as I learned today sometimes they really are. It's strange to switch between games that feel like flash games, and games that feel like console games.
There are some good games big and small.

**Space Battle - Trench Run** is a simple and small game that I like. It is the trench run from Star Wars.
You are moving forward down the trench at a fixed speed. All you control is the firing system.
You can aim and shoot, _and pause_.
You shoot Tie Fighters before they ram into you.
Always watching the counter, anxiously waiting for your big moment.

This one works in the Arduboy emulator. So if anyone wants to try this simple fun rail shooter,
you can play it from your browser [here.](

**Hopper** is another simple one. You bounce on platforms and have to try to bounce higher and higher.
[Play it here.](

**Arduventure** is an ambitious Arduboy RPG. I popped it into onto my system briefly to take a look at it. If you flash it onto your system it's too big to let you flash normally, but the designers were aware of this and created an option in the game to let you enter a flash ready state.
It's a pretty game.
It has the ability to save anywhere. You basically have one save state like save.
I'm impressed with the way it handles saves. I'll probably actually try playing this some day, but it certainly makes a good first impression. I'm going to save this one for later.

I tried some more shooters, I was pleasantly surprised by two of them:

**Evade** gives you a charge meter. You have two modes of fire. You have a small shot you can always use, and a big shot that eats away at your meter. The meter recharges quickly. Enemies don't fly toward you. They stay on the opposite side of the screen and you fight little duels with them.

**Do You Remember Love** is a Macross themed shooter that starts you in the center of the screen. Enemies approach you from both sides. It's a two directional ala Trouble Shooter (aka Battle Mania). The left button shoots left. The right button shoots right. Some enemies fire impressive bullet patterns so you want to shoot them before they get the chance to fill your screen with bullets.
I've only played this a little. I have no idea how long (or short) it is. From seeing a screenshot I didn't expect much from this, but it might just be my favorite Macross game.

### The Arduboy emulator

It can play in a browser, and seems to be commonly placed on some of the pages where you can download Arduboy games, but it seems to cause weird glitches in the games. It would probably give a pretty bad impression of a lot of games, as games sometimes look like they work in it, but they don't.
If you try to play Castleboy in it, you can play for a few seconds and then you clip through the floor.

This post will probably close off my initial impressions of the Arduboy.

It's been fun learning more about the Arduboy.
The Arduboy was largely the brainchild of one dude named [Kevin](
The initially shown prototype was a business card which played Tetris. There was no casing.
He successfully kick-started it. In adding the very nice casing the finished Arduboy became quite a bit thicker.
Even with the casing it still fits in a wallet.

Many of the more polished and/or ambitious games for Arduboy were made by the now defunct Team A.R.G.
My favorite of their games is Virus LQP-79. It has a very nice control scheme. Both buttons are 'shoot', but one is free shot, and the other is fixed shot. Pressing both buttons at the same time pauses. Unfortunately, when Team A.R.G. disbanded they took down their website and download links. You can still get their games, but they are scattered around the internet and often not the final versions.

I've flashed Castleboy back onto my Arduboy, and might just stick with it for a while.

Overall, I like the system. The hardware is nice. Castleboy alone would have easily made it worthwhile for me.
Do You Remember Love is the biggest surprise. Finding an excellent Battle-Mania style Macross game with interesting enemy bullet patterns is an absolute delight. Every now and then I'll probably dig around and play some random games. When I eventually finish Castleboy and Do You Remember Love, my Arduboy will probably be my little Tetris (Tris) machine.

I'm up to the Stage 2 boss in Castleboy now.

I like the first two stages.

I don't know coding or Github, but if I'm reading this right someone actually added a pause screen to the game
Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to have made it into the official compiled release, so I guess I'm still pauseless.

This thread has intrigued me quite a bit, so much so that I started to look up how to make arduboy games for it.

Github is just a website for storing code. If you find out how to compile games you can download the whole code as a zip from this page. You'll probably need to download some stuff for the compiler.

I would follow this tutorial.

I found the website of the person who made that fantastic Macross game.


All six of these games seem neat, but I definitely want to spend a little time with SFZ!

I also found the website for the person who made the Tetris that I like.
He made it in one week?! Wow.

Having played this system for a few weeks now, I‘m finding I don’t mind the lack of volume at all.

Most games have a silent option and work well that way.

I am bothered that a lot of games don‘t feature a pause button. Several games feel like they need one, and don’t have one.

I am still figuring out how I feel about SFZ. I like it, I'm just not sure how much.
It's very fast paced, but the beginning (maybe the whole thing?) is repetitive.
This is the first game I prefer to play with the sound on.
I turn sound off for most games, and I find Castleboy works well either way.
The upbeat music of SFZ adds to the experience.

I tried playing my Arduboy outside today.
The Arduboy screen is great indoors. It is not good outdoors. In the shade, I could play it but I wouldn't want to.
In direct sunlight it is unplayable. This is disappointing, but not surprising. Most portables do poorly outside.

Umeroose is a really neat one button game. When I play it on the Arduboy, I find I very naturally gravitate toward playing the game with just one hand. It's very comfortable to hold the Arduboy in one hand and play Umeroose.
Unfortunately, Umeroose is one of those games that needs a pause button and doesn't have one. :(

This is all gonna be real helpful stuff for when I eventually get mine!!! I appreciate all the updates.

I finished Castleboy.

I've played through it fully a few times now. The second boss fight is actually the easiest once you get used to it.

I love Castleboy. All three levels are perfect.

The third level reminds me of Double Dragon II Mission 7 - Trap Room, except not frustrating.

The first time I finished Castleboy was actually outside, so I take back what I said about not playing it outdoors.
Not sure about extremely sunny summery days, but it works fine outside on both mild days and overcast days.

I figured out where to get the Team A.R.G games.
Someone made a github archive of their stuff which appears to be the most up to date versions,

The Arduboy FX comes out this month.
If anyone gets one, I'd be curious to hear about the menu, and overall experience of it.

ah, eeeexcellent. I'll try to get an arduboy fx!