Why Arduboy?

I wish I had heard about the META before I bought the Arduboy. I never could understand why they made a handheld that would’ve been completely subpar even 30 years ago, inferior in almost every way to the original GameBoy, but I figured I’d try it out since there was a little community going.

I kept wondering why it had less RAM and sprites and sound channels than the Atari 5200 from 1982, and couldn’t even play games as well as systems from 40 years ago, when playing games is what it’s supposed to do.

But I got one, because I was impressed by games like MicroCity, Curse of Astarok, Catacombs of the Damned. But then, it’s easier to be impressed when the bar is set so low.

People say it has to be small and cheap, but now they’re selling full-color arcade versions for $20. So…why?

Anyway now that I know about the gamebuino meta, imagine how much more impressive those same games would be with music, and color, and 8 times the flash, and 10 times the RAM. And Start and Select buttons. They say it even has an SD card slot, so you won’t have to mock yourself by constantly loading games from a computer or android device, the presence of which reminds you that you already have another device plugged into your Arduboy that does everything the Arduboy does but better.

But I hardly see anything on Youtube showing gamebuino meta games, so there doesn’t seem to be much of a community, so I probably won’t get that either.

Sorry for being so negative, but I really don’t understand the Arduboy. I got excited to try making a game for it, but then I figured I’d have to learn the assembly to get the most out of it. And then still cut out most of the things I wanted to do, because of technical limitations in the year 2020 that weren’t even a problem in 1989.

Maybe I’ll try anyway. For a game like Ardynia here, or any adventure or anything with a storyline, I was thinking when you run out of room for more dungeons, more enemies, etc, you could just make another game as Chapter 2 that continues the story. Once you have the engine and the assets, it would be relatively easy to release a new chapter every month with different maps and a different end boss.

Of course a true continue into Chapter 2 would mean you’d have to somehow upload your Chapter 1 save from the arduboy and then put it into the Chapter 2 gamefile before downloading it. But maybe instead I could use continue codes like NES games used to have.

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So you are giving like a backhanded compliment here?

I’m not really sure of the point of this post?

Have you bought a gamebuino meta?

The purpose is to have fun learning to code, or just playing little small retro games when you are bored.

Your post is very confusing, you admit to liking several of the games, but what did you expect might be the better question? I don’t think we advertise or suggest that you are going to get AAA console level titles. The whole point of Arduboy is to try something simple and easy to get started.

Another way to look at it, it’s a good way to introduce kids to video games who have never played them before. I know many parents who like Arduboy because they can let their kid have their own handheld, and it only has one game at a time so they can focus on that, it’s also very durable and small for their hands. Some parents don’t want to give their kids a cell phone or a PS3 first so this can be cool.

Especially when you consider you can then sit down with your kids and learn to make a video game yourself.

When you learn how to create something you learn what kind of effort other people put into making things, and you learn to appreciate them more yourself. I think that if you tried to program a small game then you would say “wow, I can’t believe the effort and dedication some of these other programmers must have”.

It is a challenge to undertake, to try and make something so simple, be fun and entertaining.

You might actually be the first person who is upset with your purchase of an Arduboy, at least publicly, if you want I’d be happy to accept a return please use Contact — Arduboy if you would like to return your Arduboy.


checks customer service logs
Bro, you just ordered, you don’t even have it yet! Calm down you are going to love it!

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So you moved my post from the topic it was in and the post it was replying to, and now you’re pretending not to understand my post after you’ve removed it from its context. Also you gave it an insulting title, typing words I didn’t say, under my account name.

Good thing you protected that thread from my post, since nobody has posted there for 3 months. Close call, it’s a dead topic again. Good work.

And why are you asking me anything, since you’re speaking through my account and making your own fake subject as if I had typed it? Just keep using my account and continue this conversation with yourself, since you have no ethics.

When I signed up for the forum, it said my email wouldn’t be public. Now you’re matching my forum email to my order and talking about it publicly. Why?
Because I said I had ideas and wanted to make Arduboy games? Thank you for your feedback on my game ideas, you’ve been very helpful.

Why don’t you also tell them I just spent $180, don’t you think that would make you look even cooler for offering a refund and telling me off?

If my post is confusing to you, why did you give it a new topic and 2 replies? You should say, “I started a thread I don’t understand please help”.

Since you’re so aggressively and shockingly eager to shit on me and abuse your mod powers to make sure I’m not welcome here, I should probably take the hint, accept the refund, and uninstall those Arduboy libraries.

I usually try to convince people to buy Arduboys instead of any another one. Other consoles may look more fancy, because color or more power but Arduboy is the perfect balance between limitations :smiley:

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I’m not really allowed to talk to people here on this forum, but what’s the advantage of programming for an Arduboy instead of a GameBoy with an SD card adaptor?

For starters, you can start today and have a full game tomorrow, including graphics and custom music. The same question would be why instead of Gameboy you don’t code for android then…

Why some people still buy rubix cubes if they can have VR googles? It is just a different realm of stuff.


Your post has nothing to do with Ardynia other than you mention wanting to try it out. The only reason it’s in the original thread is because you are replying to someones mention of the gamebuino meta. So, it justifies a new thread. Creating new threads with meaningful titles for the rest of the community to access is something I reserve doing as the administrator of the forum.

Moving threads around isn’t unethical?

So other people can help you understand what an Arduboy is, instead of adding this on to a post about Ardyina.


Probably every thing on the Earth has its fans and its haters and most of 8 billion people are indifferent.
The reason for loving or hating is different from one man to another.

For example, I love Arduboy. It’s neat and easy to make and play neo-retro simple games and it’s a creative challenge to make better on this limited resources (MCU speed, amount of memory, 1bit gfx, and sound…)

But it was also interesting to me to make something like Arduboy but with a little bit more capabilities (color display, memory, mcu performance, wifi, IoT modules,) and here it is.
It’s fun to play Arduboy, DIY it, and programming it.
Why? I don’t know ) Just fun ))

And as I see Arduboy attracts interesting, creative, and professional people with similar interests from all over the world, and you can share ideas, get help, do joint projects and it’s also quite fun.

I think that if you have fun with your life, then you are doing everything right.


Excellent point, a lot of people use Arduboy as a starting place. There are a bunch of people who Arduboy has changed their lives for the better, just ask @crait!

And now we have about 100 home made that people have constructed at home, so you don’t even need to buy an Arduboy to enjoy the platform!


If there was more RAM, color, music, etc, it would be more resources for the games, so those games could be more impressive, however, that would also mean more resources for game developers to create. Most games are created by one or sometimes two people, so managing a larger project is a lot harder to juggle with other projects we’re working on. :slight_smile:

Here’s a list of my favorite Arduboy games! :slightly_smiling_face: (No particular orrder)


I own 3 Arduboys, the gamebuino and the gamebuino meta. I have barely touched the Meta since i got it. It looks flashy, but is not completely open source like the Arduboy is and it’s game library is severely lacking. It has a fraction of games the arduboy has.

My 2 cents.


I gotta do something special for people who have so many.

UPDATE: Modified a meme by @Revlis to reflect the current situation Sauce

Look @WhySoBad I want to point out that I appreciate you, your post, and your purchase. If there is anything I can do to help you out let me know, honestly I just moved your post so other people would see it better.


The Arduboy was not designed to try and be a pocket console from the old days. Rather it is its own thing with its own limitations for entirely different reasons.

As others have mentioned that increased capabilities also drastically increases the work required to make one game. All of the games on here are made by hobbyists during their spare time and released for FREE. Nobody is getting rich in money making games here, rather we’re getting rich with experience and making friends along the way.

There really isn’t any need to learn assembly to “get the most out of it” Very few of the games actually use assembly level optimizations. The fun part of the challenge (for most of us) is developing a game under tight limitations. For example the biggest challenge IMHO is balancing content vs complexity. More complex games require more code, but code and content share the same space so a really complex game with lots of features wouldn’t be able to have a lot of content showcasing those features.

Have you looked into Pico-8 at all? Or perhaps some of the various game jams that set false limitations (the system can do more, but you’re trying to do less). Limitations can help spark creativity and force development to focus on the core instead of the shine. IMHO this is why so many retro (NES, SNES, Sega, etc.) games are far better than modern AAA titles. Too much focus is put on the shine (fancy graphics, stellar soundtrack, voice acting) and not enough focus is put on the actual game (I wonder if some developers forgot they’re making a game and not a movie).

Nope. Just write your save data to EEPROM and have the sequels read the save data from EEPROM. This is precisely how I’m doing Shattered Lands which aims to be a 5-part series with part 2 currently underway (I’m not much of an artist so the artwork is taking me a bit). To handle the saves I put 3 bytes in the beginning for the GameID (starting with “SL1”). When the player reaches the end of a game it simply increments the 3’rd character in the GameID by 1 and then that’s how each games knows if the save data is meant for that game.

Your e-mail is not, and has not been made, public. @bateske is the one who created the Arduboy and manages Arduboy Inc. including this forum and sales. Often when people have order related issues they will ask around on the forum as well. Kevin, and only Kevin, can see your e-mail (I don’t believe even moderators can see it).

If attempting to re-create triple AAA quality games in your spare time is your thing then by all means. For most of us (IMO) the limitations of the Arduboy allows for smaller simpler games that are still great fun to make and play. If you re-create an Arduboy game on the PC in its entirety (same resolution, graphics and content) it would seem far inferior to what else is out there, but on the Arduboy things like Arduventure or Starduino (and many others) are quite the accomplishment knowing the limitations of the hardware.

Is Skyrim better than Donkey Kong Country 2? Just because one is on a more powerful system doesn’t mean it’s a better game, they’re both great games but of a different nature and not really comparable. The ArduboyFX will solve the issue of having multiple games on the device at once. I can make games for the Android as well (in fact I have it’s called Eternal Labyrinth) but it takes a lot more time and effort to make. I’ve also made lots of prototype concepts on the PC but often get bogged down with feature creep. With the Arduboy I’m forced to stay within it’s limitations.

I never got the Gamebuino or the Meta. I looked into them as well but for me the price point was too steep and there didn’t seem to be a lot of community involvement (possibly due to it not being as open sourced as Arduboy). For larger resolution, color graphics, and SD loading I’ve been getting really involved in the Pokitto community since it had a much nicer price point and many of the prominent members are also prominent members on the Arduboy forum. Having developed on both I can say they are very different beasts (some have compared them as going from GameBoy to GameBoy color, but that’s not really a fair comparison). For me developing for the Arduboy reminds me of making games for my old TI-84 graphic calculator and the Pokitto (and possibly the META as well) is similar to the GameBoy color. I don’t recommend one over the other exactly, instead i recommend both because they’re both really great with a thriving community and lots of fun games. I consider myself as having upgrade because of the higher resolution, color, and SD card, instead I see the two as rather different beasts.

The Arduboy is really fun to develop for BECAUSE of its limitations (but not everyone wants to make games with such limits). At least wait till you get your Arduboy and play some games on it, then try making games for it. Maybe then you’ll better understand the appeal of it. If not that’s fine to, but don’t mistake something not appealing to you as something inherently bad. Doing so, to me at least, feels like saying we’re all wasting our time on the Arduboy because someone else doesn’t like it. I absolutely love my Arduboy (I now have 2) and my wife will have one when the FX mod is released. My currently almost 2-year old son will also be getting one when he’s older because I want to share the games I’ve made with him (and possibly have him learn to make his own if he’s interested).


@WhySoBad Take a deep breath. :slight_smile: You reminded me of iPhone4 antenna gate song though, particular the chorus but really the whole “vibe” seems kind of relevant here.

The chorus:

If you don’t want an iPhone 4, don’t buy it.
If you bought one and you don’t like it, bring it back.
If you don’t want an iPhone 4, don’t buy it.
If you bought one and you don’t like it, bring it back.

But I hardly see anything on Youtube showing gamebuino meta games, so there doesn’t seem to be much of a community, so I probably won’t get that either.

Yeah. Either because of the complexity or the expense the community never really showed up. Sad. I own two Metas. Amazing little device.

Maybe you’ll love it, maybe you won’t. Either way your life will go on and you can always get your money back. :slight_smile:

Welcome @WhySoBad!

You sure know how to make a post to get the community posting, which honestly is a positive in my mind. We have a lot of smart people on this forum, which is what gives me a lot of respect for the Arduboy community.

I’m excited to get to know you. Do you have a GitHub? What type of games are you excited about making?

We have a games jam coming so you have joined at a perfect time.

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Since I’m a moderator I’m going to address the meta issues rather than the topical issues.
In other words, the issues pertaining to how the forum is managed.

Necroposting is generally frowned upon on most forums,
but this issue here isn’t how long the Ardynia thread has been inactive.

This issue is that this discussion would have been off-topic for the Ardynia thread because this isn’t actually about Ardynia, hence moving it to a separate thread was the correct thing to do.

Had he not done it, one of the other moderators would have because it’s the proper thing to do.
I.e. it would have happened sooner or later. Happening sooner means it has saved the other thread’s author from a string of (probably unwanted) notifications.

User email addresses are not public.
@bateske is an admin, and admins and moderators have access to everyone’s emails.

A regular user would be unable to access your email address and moderators won’t access people’s email addresses without good cause to do so.
All such accesses are logged to prevent malicious behaviour.

Moderators can see people’s email addresses if they choose to, but any attempts to do so are recorded in the event logs.

I personally have done this precisely once on my first day of being a moderator solely to investigate how the ability works and have never done it since as I have never had need to.

Either way there’s no need to worry because we have some very sensible and level-headed moderators here.
“With great power comes great responsibility.” as they say.

@bateske is in fact the only one capable of doing this because he is the only one with access to the order records.

He has not leaked any personally identifiable information,
the only information he has provided is that you have only recently ordered your Arduboy and thus cannot possibly have received it yet.

@bateske had to create a title because all topics require titles and a post cannot be turned into a full topic without one.
If you wish to edit the title again to something you would prefer then you are free to do so.

It’s worth pointing out that although @bateske created the topic title,
he hasn’t altered any of what you actually said in your post.
All the words in the actual content of your post are your own.
I can tell this because all edits are recorded and any changes to the body of the post would be shown by the edit log.
As none of the edits are hidden, anyone else can also verify this.

My conclusions from the above are that no abuse of moderatorship has occurred.
Most of the things @bateske has done are in fact standard procedure.

I freely admit that the original topic title wasn’t very imaginative,
but as stated earlier, you are free to change the title.
(If poor topic titles were a crime we’d probably have a long list of banned users.)

I’ll also grant you that he is the only one with the power to verify that you don’t yet physically own an Arduboy, but whether or not that counts as an ‘abuse’ of power is questionable.
That information isn’t something that can personally identify you, nor is it capable of causing you any harm.

Hopefully that sets the record straight.


Only three? Man I have five officials and a couple of home-mades. I also have a few Tetris cards an have given a few away to others with 1943 on it!


You guys have working arduboys XD, I still havent got my replacement one

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As a new user I am guilty of this.