Retroball: The Build-it-Yourself Game Kit

By brad, July 21, 2017

Retroball is a build-it-yourself kit which follows in the footsteps of the classic ‘PONG’ style video games. Retroball allows you to play with two, three or four players and up to five balls on the screen at the same time. Retroball was funded on Kickstarter, raising $25,407AUD thanks to 218 backers!

With a step-by-step building video and less than a dozen components to solder in – Retroball can be put together by even a newcomer to electronics. Retroball can be powered by any standard USB port, USB charger or USB charge bank.

*Note – The screen filter, USB cable and rubber mounting feet have been omitted from the photo but are included in every Retroball kit.

Each game mode can be played with two, three or four players:

  • One Ball Easy – Slower game play which is great for beginners. 
  • One Ball Hard – Fast paced action to test your reflexes. 
  • Five Balls – Can you handle the mayhem?

The ball may be spun off the bat in different directions, at different angles and speeds depending on how you hit the ball. It makes for some great gameplay!

If you miss a ball, you lose a point. If you lose all of your points, your paddle is replaced with a wall. The last player standing – wins!

  • Soldering Iron and Solder 
  • Phillips ScrewDriver 
  • Pliers

  • 240mm x 240mm Matte Black Circuit Board
  • Tinted Screen Filter
  • 32 x 32 Pixel RGB LED Matrix Display (160mm x 160mm)
  • 8 Potentiometers (Four of which are spares) 
  • 4 Potentiometer Knobs 
  • USB Connector 
  • LED Matrix Ribbon Cable + Connector 
  • LED Matrix Power Cable + Connector 
  • Two Push Buttons 
  • PIC 18F46K22 Microcontroller (Pre-programmed with Retroball)
  • Filter Capacitor 
  • USB Cable 
  • 40 Pin 0.1″ (2.54mm) Male Headers (For those who wish to experiment with their Arduino Uno)

For those who want to run their own experiments, Retroball comes with a built in slot for you to plug in your own Arduino Uno or compatible microcontroller. Just download the Adafruit Library and get coding! (Note: only two of the four potentiometers are available for your Arduino due to limited pins on the Arduino). Some example will be provided to get you started.

An Arduino is not required to make Retroball work however.

A hidden menu gives you access to these extra features:

  • Screen Pixel Test 
  • Potentiometer Controller Test 
  • Screensaver 1 
  • Screensaver 2 
  • LED Sketch (Like etch-a-sketch) 
  • The Great Race 
  • Dice

  • PCB dimensions 24cm x 24cm (9.5″ x 9.5″)
  • LED Matrix Dimensions 160mm x 160mm
  • Completed kit weight approximately 650grams (1.43lb)
  • Packaged weight approximately 1.1kg (2.43lb)
  • Retroball is powered by an 8-bit PIC 18F46K22 Microcontroller running at 64Mhz with 64KB of program memory and 3.8K of SRAM. 
  • The LED matrix contains 1024 RGB LED’s which provides a 32 x 32 pixel playing area. 
  • Backers are also able to use their own Arduino Uno (or compatible) microcontroller by soldering in the 0.1″ male headers (which are provided with every kit). You can then download the Adafruit library to code your own experiments. I will provide details and some sample code to get you guys started.

Files will be available for download soon.

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