uSVC: a portable, DIY, “9-bit”, open hardware retro-gaming console – Open Electronics



In September 2019 Itaca Innovation launched on the market uChip (read “you-chip”), an Arduino Zero compatible board in a 16-DIL package, now available also on the OpenElectronics store.

This October 2020 the company is presenting uSVC – uChip Simple VGA Console.
As Itaca wrote on the crowd-funding project campaign page:

uSVC is a simple, do-it-yourself game console that allows you to create and play retro-style 8-bit games with standard USB controllers and keyboards. It comes as a kit, and all you need to assemble it are basic, through-hole soldering skills. In fact, all you really need is a soldering iron and some solder wire. The microSD card socket is the only surface-mount component on the whole board, and we’ve taken care of that one for you, so you’ll have “basic, through-hole soldering skills” by the time you’re done.”

As the board name suggests, uSVC is based on the IC-like dev-board uChip and exploits the SAMD21 CortexM0+ to create a complete “9-bit” retro console. Never heard of a “9-bit” console? Accordingly to the project creators (next-hack):

“…this console is more powerful than an 8-bit console of the ’80s. In particular, we have a higher resolution, more on-screen colors and a bit of more memory and CPU “residual” speed[…]. Therefore neither 8, nor 16 bits, just 9!”


The graphics presented on the campaign page are quite impressive, being software generated signals, and among others examples we find a “Worms” like multiplayer game, and a dynamic performance demo test.
The company states that these, as well as other game examples, will be fully Open Source and that the code will published during the crowd-funding campaign updates.

If you want to get back to the early ’90, uSVC is now available on pre-order on the platform CrowdSupply.

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