Today’s DIY technology is truly amazing. With a 3D printer, some programming expertise, and careful soldering, one can build an entire handheld gaming system that would have been inconceivable just a few years ago — illustrated nicely by moononournation’s tiny handheld NES emulator. You can see it in the video below, running Super Mario Bros. 3 in a compact 3D-printed and perf-board assembly.
The project uses a TTGO T8 ESP32 dev board, which includes built-in LiPo charging circuitry to simplify the design. The board, along with a slim 1500mAh battery, are arranged on a piece of PETG — the clear stuff normally used in product packaging — and folded up onto the back of a piece of perfboard. The display then bends into place on the other side. This assembly is stuffed into a 3D-printed enclosure that forms the body of the lil’ gaming system.
Inputs consist of a directional pad, A/B buttons, and select/start. These are fed into an ATtiny861 microcontroller on a separate perfboard assembly, which converts inputs into an I2C format and plugs into the main board. It’s certainly a clever build mechanically, and you can find software for the ESP32 emulator on GitHub, plus a much simpler program that runs the ATtiny861 I2C gamepad here.