The vast majority of home video game consoles support either two or four simultaneous local players. Most of the more recent consoles allow you to play online with more players than that, but you’re out of luck if you want more than four players in your living room. There isn’t any technical reason for that limitation — at least not for decades — it’s purely a matter of practicality and lack of demand. Bitluni thought it’d be nice to have more players, which is why he developed a video game console that can be played by a whopping 10 people at once.
This video game console is built on an ESP32 module, so it isn’t possible to play anything as resource-intensive as the latest Call of Duty release — or even a game with NES-quality graphics, for that matter. The ESP32 has limited resources, and most of its power is being used to handle the VGA (Video Graphics Array) analog video output that Bitluni had previously developed. That leaves only a little bit of processing power left to handle the actually gameplay and graphics. For that reason, the screen is monochrome and the graphics consist of just simple white lines on a black background.
The game that Bitluni created to demonstrate the console is similar to Tron, and players have to race around on light cycles that leave behind a trail while trying to avoid colliding with other trails. The console’s hardware consists of the ESP32 module, a custom PCB to break it out, and 10 Super Nintendo controller ports. All of the other components on the PCB are there to handle power and the audio/visual output through composite ports. While the ESP32 and PCB were relatively affordable, the SNES controllers and ports drove up the cost on this project. Bitluni says he may design a scaled-down version that supports fewer players, so be sure to subscribe to his channel and keep an eye out for that.
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Author: Cameron Coward