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Introducing the world's smallest way to play 'Donkey Kong'

This baby arcade cabinet from Adafruit also features 'Pac-Man' and 'Xevious.'
Jessica Conditt, @JessConditt
September 16, 2016
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Once upon a time, video games like Pac-Man and Donkey Kong were the absolute height of entertainment technology, imperfect pixels packed into six-foot-tall cabinets in arcades and pizza shops around the world. Now, those same games run on a machine that fits inside a teacup. Adafruit tinkerer Phillip Burgess created the world's smallest Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator cabinet using a Raspberry Pi Zero computer, 0.96 inch RGB OLED displays and an audio amplifier. It's fully playable and totally adorable.

The tiny MAME cabinet was a spontaneous weekend project and it's not as polished as Adafruit's serious endeavors, nor is it a complete kit that the company sells. However, Burgess published a fairly detailed guide that includes the hardware and software tricks he used to create the teacup cabinet. The project's final dimensions are 67.2 mm tall, 33.6 mm wide and 35.8mm deep.

"Could it go smaller? Undoubtedly!" Burgess writes. "Other than clipping the corner off the audio amp board, these are all stock parts and no extreme measures were taken to further reduce their volume, Ben Heck-style."

Burgess says that actually playing Pac-Man, Donkey Kong or Xevious on the teensy machine is wildly impractical. The screen's resolution is extremely coarse and definitely not conducive to twitchy movements.

"I suspect a lot of the 'playing' is just muscle memory from past experience," Burgess says. "Honestly the whole thing's a bit gimmicky for the sake of smallness. Sharing it for a laugh."

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