Parental controls?

My greetings to the Arduboy community.
I’d like to ask if there is a way to impose some panental restrictions to an Arduboy , like locking access to some games or even make it one game device?

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Hi @chomwitt - welcome to the community! :tada:
I’ve had similar concerns. Of course each family has different sensibilities…
IMO the vast majority (~340+) games are fine, but there’s maybe several to be aware of. If you have a new Arduboy FX, you can create and upload your own custom package of games. That way you can remove any that aren’t to your taste.

The original ‘Gold Cart’ that shipped preloaded on the Arduboy was curated by @bateske (the source is here). Obviously, if you have zero tolerance to weapons (guns/ shooting/ swords/ etc.) there are many games you may wish to remove.

There is also a list of kid friendly games here.

Games that may not be so family friendly...
  1. Is this Loss?. Not really a game and adult themed meme.
  2. DopeWars (now ‘CandyWars’). Old game, about drugs.
  3. CyberHack. Amazing but very hard game (too difficult for very young kids). The default contains adult language, but I added an option to build the game with clean language.
  4. TermTwirl. Brilliant word game. The ‘Easy’ mode is sanitised, but the ‘Hard’ mode has a full English dictionary- so has some offensive words.

Thank you for the info.
I ordered Arduboy FX , so i’m glad there is an option to create a custom selection.

Generally speaking i’d argue that even access to a lot of good and kids friendly can work as a time sink.
I’ve seen that in youtube for example.The never ending new videos that you can choose-find can set a mind off track. I sense that there is an imbalance between content offered and the human mind maturity-enough? ability? to cope with that . I’ve had the same the same situation with voxatron and supertux. You as a parent download one game and you count to boredom to make it easier to change activities but those games have access to an never-ending list of hundreds of games and custom-levels. Unfortunately i had to tweak files to change that because there is no provision. (of course platforms like steam even if they have some basic parental control still they are the master’s of attention grabbing…).

I understand your concerns about screen time in general.
Many modern (‘freemium’) games are engineered to addict us… however, the content on the Arduboy is pretty wholesome. For instance, my kid was hooked on @crait’s Circuit Dude - but this helped develop their problem solving skills and self-esteem.

The Arduboy doesn’t run an operating system with multitasking- so there’s no supervisor program that can manage time limits and disable another program.

@acedent if you want to create an appropriate cart, save it as a CSV and I will add it to the post.

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I assume you realise that the original (non-FX) Arduboy is essentially a “one game” device, requiring a single game at a time to be uploaded via USB.

With an In Circuit Serial Programmer (ICSP or ISP) wired to specific Arduboy pins, it would be possible to load a game without a bootloader included. In this case it wouldn’t be possible to change to a different game using the USB port. You would have to use the ICSP to change games.

If you want to get extreme, it’s possible to set the programming fuses such that even the ICSP interface would be disabled and the only way to change games would be to first completely erase and reset the Arduboy’s ATmega32U4 microcontroller using the parallel programming interface. This would require a specialized parallel programmer that would have to be wired to 19 or 20 pins of the ATmega32U4.

If you would prefer a one game device then maybe hunting down one of the original Arduboy on ebay or perhaps one of the clones that are out there, perhaps even building your own is a fun activity.

A software only solution would to build a cart with just the one game on it but maybe it makes sense to limit it to a selection of 5 games at a time or something?

It would be possible to set like a time limit function where you write to eeprom if you have gone past it, but you’d have to edit the game to implement that, there’s nothing in the hardware to enable that.

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Thank you all for the feedback . Since i am not good at hardware i’ll try to create a cart with a small selection.

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@MLXXXp My initial impession, seen the arduboy buy page, was that fx was a module that you buy for extra functionality on top of what arduboy fx offers. (i had no knowledge that a previous version of arduboy existed altough it’s mentioned that is an upgrade below propably i missed that…). That impression didnt change after browsiing more pages at the site although some confusion was infused to it because there was overlap on the functionality of the two products.
Anyway i understand now that fx module is for adding it to an old arduboy .

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Here’s where it all started (at least, commercially):
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/903888394/arduboy-card-sized-gaming

There is also the history in the blog:

I need to make a few updates and probably add some links and images maybe.

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