Making a Handheld - Part 1

2 minute read

How It Started


I have a really hard time falling asleep at night. Like, a really hard time. Whenever this happens I like to just sit down and think about stuff that’d be cool to make. For the past couple of years, I usually just end up coming back to a boutique retro gaming handheld. Something sleek and gorgeous. Something that’ll make Dieter Rams say ‘Dayuumm!’ Made with wood, aluminum, and special attention to make the buttons fit perfectly.

Deiter Rams

“Dayuum!” - Deiter Rams

Hell, I’ve been thinking about it pretty much every day since watching FrostedFire’s awesome Odroid Pi SP video. Seeing Love Hulten and Rose Colored Gaming’s work just really reinforced this.

I was a jeweler and made generic art for a few years, but knew next to nothing about making electronics. There was this CAD class I took once in highschool, but that was back when a Clinton was in office and women wore high-waisted pants. That was a time warp joke. Laugh, please.

Anywho, a little over a year ago I was working as a reporting analyst; my most up-to-date skills were based on spreadsheets, managing databases, javascript, and casually drinking out of a coffee mug while delivering terrible news.

That would be great meme

Then I was let go. I decided to use my newfound free time to perform a battery of grueling scientific tests on how long a man can binge the typical gamer’s weekend life on a Netflix sized scale. How to fund this endeavor? Between savings and a fun-sized annuity from an old workplace accident, there was barely just enough to cover the bills, pizza, and beer. Now for the final reveal: How long can a single man binge pizza, Guinness, Destiny and stay sane? About two months-ish.

There are some long term effects, sure. It’s hard to talk to people now without weirding myself out, but to get dates I can always fall back on looking pretty. What to do, now?

An Iron-Man With A Plan

As enjoyable as casually drinking out of coffee mugs is, I really didn’t want to jump back into spreadsheets and cubicles. It came to me one cold fall evening. I’m in the living room, just existing in a haze. Firmly planted in my couch indentation after finishing another marathon round of Destiny strikes. Check, check, and check on the unemployed slob starter kit. For the curious:

  • Covered in pop-tart crumbs
  • Three-ish months of beard
  • Half-eaten plate of pizza pockets

After watching the PI SP video for what was probably the 100th time, I just got tired of wanting something like it to exist and not being able to do anything about it. I knew about the existence of things like 3d printers and CNC machines, but in my mind only smart people knew how to get machines like that to make cool stuff. Then this awesome phrase came to mind:

“There’s no such thing as smart people, just hard workers with a goal and a plan.” - Some dude Google can’t find

Seriously, thank you whoever said this to me, even if it was just in some episode of Power Rangers. Anyways, we have a goal. Now for the plan.

Power Rangers

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