Gamegirl Part II: Back in the Game

The sequel to one of the most popular projects of Hackaday Prize 2016.

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• Integrated SoC
• A platform to make and distribute games
• And all the goals of the previous project

For the Hackaday Prize 2017, we are iterating again on the concept of "the retro console done right" and we are taking things further to make it the best platform to make, play and enjoy retro games.

Support Libretro, RetroArch and Lakka through Patreon!

Join us on our Discord channel:

Check out the github page for the project documentation:

- If you are looking to contribute we could use help creating the KiCAD libraries, footprints and 3D models for GR8, AXP209, and NAND flash 48TSOP.

- We are also looking for any screens under 2.8" with a resolution higher than 320x240 preferably in a 4:3 ratio.

- We could use help creating the case for 3D printing.

- Software help on porting Lakka to the CHIP SoC.

The current version is v0.2.1 which is still running off the Raspberry Pi Zero. The design was finalized right before the Zero W was announced so it was made to accommodate an optional WiFi USB Module. It includes a 2A lipo battery charger and 5V booster for the USB OTG, soft shutdown circuit, low battery alert, PWM audio and mono speaker amp, SPI GPIO expander for buttons.

The immediate goal is to get a version of the GameGirl that uses the C.H.I.P $9 computer. Initial schematic work shows that as easy due to the files from v0.2.1 and the much reduced complexity as the CHIP has most functions on-board.

The next goal is to embed a SoC onto the PCB. We are looking very closely at using NextThing Co.'s GR8 SoC from the C.H.I.P. It is a single core ARMv7-A (Cortex-A8) @ 1GHz with 256MB of DDR3, it also includes an AXP209 PMU. The processor and PMU are perfect candidates for the amount of performance and features required for mobile retro gaming and any PICO8 game. With built in battery charging, soft-shut down, 18-bit DPI display interface, 2x USB ports, UART, SDIO, I2S, I2C, PWM, and SPI as the short list of features. A WiFi chip through SDIO and an external SD card will be supported.

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Gamegirl v0.2.1 BOM.csv

Bill Of Materials for v0.2.1

ms-excel - 6.90 kB - 04/07/2017 at 19:11


gamegirl PCB v0.2.1.pdf

GameGirl V0.2.1 schematic

Adobe Portable Document Format - 120.89 kB - 04/07/2017 at 04:54


View all 6 files

  • 1 × Gamegirl prototype PCB Fully assembled PCB
  • 1 × 2.4" 320x240 TFT screen 40 pin FPC interface
  • 1 × Raspberry Pi Zero (W) for the v0.2.1 Either the RPi Zero v1.3 or Zero W will work
  • 1 × 15 mm speaker 0.5 W or 1 W
  • 1 × (Optional) RTL8188EUS Wi-Fi USB module

View all 7 components

  • Prototypes received and software updates to v0.2.1

    Rodney06/06/2017 at 03:03 1 comment

    We received the prototypes little over a week ago. Though there were some issues with the PCB manufacturer as they used two of the wrong parts. The FPC connector they used is a bottom contact and we require a top contact, they used a latching switch instead of a momentary, and they didn't include the metal dome buttons. Really don't know how they used the wrong parts as I made sure to list every single part number and posted a link to a datasheet, I even did that to the 0 ohm resistors.

    Another issues was that the reference schematic for the soft-shutdown was incorrect. The MOSFET's were mirrored (Source & Drain swapped). I should have caught that and a manual fix will need to be implemented on the current batch.

    Software updates to utilize the MCP23S17 has been started. Check out the sample code here:

    Kivutar has updated the lakka gamegirl image to the latest updates of LibreElec to support the Zero W wifi driver and added support to call a safe shutdown to the system through RetroArch to properly halt before shutdown 'echo -n "SHUTDOWN" | nc -u -w1 55355'.

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DeanChu wrote 03/28/2018 at 01:36 point

Noticed the "RTL8723" on your PCB,  is it supported by the original lakka or rpi image? I'm thinking about adding a wireless connection module and having trouble between RTL8188CU and RTL8723. RTL8723 has both BT and WLAN, but I'm not sure about the drivers. 

  Are you sure? yes | no

James Hall wrote 04/19/2017 at 17:30 point

I would be interested in a pi zero based board when they're ready.

  Are you sure? yes | no

David wrote 04/24/2017 at 16:15 point

We will only have 5 assembled boards with the Pi Zero, but drop on our Discord channel if you want to help with the development, as @Rodney will have parts for more boards.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Rodney wrote 05/15/2017 at 19:24 point

I will make a post when the Prototypes finally show up.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Richard Hogben wrote 04/18/2017 at 21:19 point


  Are you sure? yes | no

luan.1138 wrote 04/11/2017 at 12:34 point


I'm very interested in your prototype board (v0.21), would it be possible to buy one from you?

  Are you sure? yes | no

David wrote 04/18/2017 at 22:15 point

We are not producing a lot of prototypes as we don't know yet if they work. But if you want to help development or if you are ready to assemble the boards yourself, just come to our Discord channel and we can try to find you something.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Rodney wrote 05/15/2017 at 19:24 point

I will make a post when the Prototypes finally show up.

  Are you sure? yes | no

moosepr wrote 04/03/2017 at 18:28 point

so are you ditching the pi for your own soc?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Rodney wrote 04/07/2017 at 02:56 point

We are looking at using the NextThing GR8 SoC and AXP208 PMU. Potentially using 8GB NAND flash.

  Are you sure? yes | no

christian wrote 08/23/2017 at 18:22 point

when we can buy this awesome PCB?

  Are you sure? yes | no

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