Releasing a game on game consoles (Playstation/Nintendo-Switch/Xbox) is a goal for most (if not all) of the game developers out there. There are a lot of challenges if you want to get your game running on a console. One of them is getting a developer kit.
It is not like you are creating a game for PC where you just hit compile and run it directly from your PC. No. You can’t just export your project into an executable game and play it from your Nintendo Switch. There are some processes that you need to go through before you can play your game.
But in reality, you (and I) are just a small indie developer, and it’s hard (if not impossible) to go through all the processes, get the license and the dev-kit to start developing your games and release it. Because of that, you need to find a publisher who has access to that to publish your game. But then you need to pitch your game to them who have the power to say “Yay” or “Nay” to your game. In the end, the PC platform is your only option (Steam/Epic).
But I still want to put my games on the video-game consoles! 😭
Fortunately, there are lots of them that don’t need any license, dev-kit, and you can test your game directly. And it’s way smaller than the usual consoles. You might think at first, “Hey, this is not a game console. It’s just a small computer that can play a game”. Well smart head, according to Wikipedia, that is the definition of a video-game console.
“A video-game console is a computer device that outputs a video signal or visual image to display a video game that one or more people can play.”
“Wait a minute, did you say ‘A small computer’?”
Well, yes, I did.
Although I’m not talking about the Nintendo Switch, 3DS, or even PSP, I’m talking about way smaller than that. As little as pocket-sized video-game consoles. Also, one of them has the same size as your credit card! I will cover some of them in this blog, but first, let me talk about my favorite ‘small’ video-game console.
Arduboy is great! It has a great and active community; it has a lot of useful tutorials and lots of great games made by the developers. Even though it has a minimal resource for you to work on, like a small screen, small RAM, and Storage, but you can take that as a challenge for your creativity.
One of the Arduboy developer, Jonathan Holmes, made a game called Circuit Dude. After he released the game on Arduboy, he ported the game to the Steam platform. And now, he is working on the Nintendo Switch version.
The next game I’d like to talk about is Arduventure. A game by ‘TEAM a.r.g.’ who has developed lots of great Arduboy games. This game is like the first generation Pokemon game on GameBoy. They also release an Arduboy Arduventure special edition with a cool graphic at the back of the console.
The only problem with Arduboy is, it only supports two colors, black and white. Fortunately, this is where GameBuino comes to the rescue. GameBuino also has an active community and lots of cool games. The similarity of the programming language with Arduboy makes it easier to jump between these two platforms.
Last but not least, the Playdate. A highly anticipated video game console will come in 2020. They will roll out the developer preview unit first so that the developers can start building their game. The cool part about the Playdate is the crank input on the side. It can open to many exciting game mechanics.
On the recent news from their twitter feed, we know that they’re preparing the SDK, and it will be available for everyone, even if you don’t have the physical Playdate device on your hand. Yes! The SDK comes with the simulator so that you can develop your games without the device. How cool is that?
All of these consoles are small in size, but with the right creativity, you can create anything you want. Well, not anything, you are still limited to the low resources on those consoles. But hey! Super Mario Bros was only 32kb back then, and it is one of the greatest video games ever.
Thank you for reading. Our team, GrimPros, made some of Arduboy games and developed ArduEngine, a simple state framework for developing games in Arduboy. Currently, we are working on a PC game called Roojack. Check our social media for more information: