:GAME ZIP 64 for the BBC micro:bit - Review

Table of contents

RoadTest: :GAME ZIP 64 for the BBC micro:bit

Author: dwinhold

Creation date:

Evaluation Type: Development Boards & Tools

Did you receive all parts the manufacturer stated would be included in the package?: True

What other parts do you consider comparable to this product?: I haven't seen anything compareable.

What were the biggest problems encountered?: Getting my kids away from it long enough to write this review!!

Detailed Review:

Intro:

The Kitronik :GAME ZIP 64 a retro gaming accessory for the BBC Micro:Bit. It has been designed to be an all in one hand held gaming platform, which also includes a built in, 64 (8x8) individually addressable full colour ZIP LED, screen. It features on-board sound, 4 directional buttons, 2 fire buttons, vibration feedback, and breakout points I2C devices can be added. All of original microbits features are available when plugged in to the :GAME ZIP 64, so your games can still makes use of the LED matrix, accelerometer etc.Power is provided via the built in 3 x AA battery holder or through the usb.

 

 

Initial thoughts:

Even before I was chosen for this roadtest I knew I wanted one. The idea of having a handheld retro gaming device that I could program excited me. When I showed my kids the GAME ZIP 64 it was like Christmas to them.

When I received the GAME ZIP 64 I couldn't wait to open it up. Holding it in my hands felt good, the battery holders make up the grips which I thought is quite genious. Online there is files for 3D printing of GAME ZIP 64 cases. Unfortunately I don't have a 3D printer to try this (I spent the money on a Laser CNC instead). There are also demo programs to download so you can get going right away.

 

 

Programming and uploading:

Programming the GAME ZIP 64 is fairly easy as it is simular to Scratch language. There is an online site for programming https://microbit.org/code/ or you can download it through the same site (You need to be running Windows 10 for this).

 

When you start to program you need to add the GAME ZIP 64 add-on. This is done by pressing the *Gear* icon in the top right corner and selecting "Extensions". Next you type in "GAME ZIP 64". Click on the kitronik-zip-64 to load the add-on.

 

 

 

This adds the needed code bricks for programming the GAME ZIP 64.

 

 

 

There was some learning needed as you require to add the code so Micro:bit can recognize the GAME ZIP 64 . This is done by adding this code into your program.

 

 

From here on you can do you programming to whatever your imagination comes up with. My whole family enjoyed programming (or playing) with the GAME ZIP 64. I decided to use an easy program my son made as an example. How it works is when you press the directional button it make the screen turn a color, when you press 2 buttons at once it will display the color of the 2 button colors mixed together.

 

 

You also have the choice of changing the code to Javascript:

 

 

I found this helpful when I got stuck with an error. It made it easier to correct the issue.

 

Another tip I have to add in is getting the GAME ZIP 64 to display what you coded. The code brick "show" tells the Micro:bit to send it to the GAME ZIP 64.

 

 

 

 

Uploading to the GAME ZIP 64 is very easy, you download the program, plug in the GAME ZIP 64 and drag and drop the file into to GAME ZIP 64 folder. The downloded file is a .hex file.

https://www.kitronik.co.uk/5626-game-zip-64-for-the-bbc-microbit.html has a lot of information and lessons for programming and samples available.

 

Conclusion:

My family and I had so much fun working with the GAME ZIP 64. There is nothing negative I could say about it, it's fun, educational and very entertaining. Anyone who likes retro gaming needs to purchase one, it brought back a lot of memories for me.

 

I want to thank Micro:Bit - GAME ZIP 64 and Element14 for choosing me do this roadtest. This is one of my top reviews I have done!!

 

Dale Winhold

Anonymous