We’re fans of the CHIP computer, which packs quite a bit into a $US9 ($12) Linux-capable board. Yesterday, they announced that the $US15 ($20), low-key game designer software PICO-8 will be included free for all CHIP users. They have also introduced a $US29 ($39) console kit perfect for aspiring game designers.
PICO-8 is game design software that uses a low sprite count and base set of sound effects and code to make it relatively easy for anyone to learn game design. It’s low resolution and not particularly complex, which makes it a perfect learning environment for anyone interested in making games. It’s also all open source, so you can either edit games or make your own, then easily share them with other PICO-8 users (if you’re curious about how they work you can play any game in your browser here). PICO-8 was already included with the PocketCHIP, but now it’s included with the standard, $US9 ($12) CHIP.
Also intriguing is the introduction of the new Console Kit. This includes a CHIP, HDMI DIP, power adaptor and a game controller. It’s a nice little package, and although retro game emulation isn’t as dead simple to set up as it is on something like the Raspberry Pi, this forum post walks you through the process if you’re interested.
If you’re interested in just PICO-8, Story Bundle has a fantastic collection of game design books that also includes a full download of PICO-8 for Windows, Mac or Linux for $US15 ($20).
PICO-8! Now Free for All CHIPS [Next Thing Co.]