Pimoroni Teases RP2040-Powered PicoSystem Gaming Device

Pimoroni PicoSystem
(Image credit: Pimoroni)

Pimoroni has said its PicoSystem handheld gaming device is "coming soon" since the Raspberry Pi Pico was released on January 21. Now it seems like the miniature console's debut might actually be approaching, because today Pimoroni software lead Phil Howard published two videos showing the device in action to Twitter.

PicoSystem is based on the RP2040 system on a chip (SoC) introduced via the Raspberry Pi Pico that features a dual-core Arm Cortex M0+ processor, 264KB of SRAM, and 2MB of flash memory as standard, but it is highly likely that PicoSystem will come with much more storage. Pimoroni stashed RP2040 SoC in a case, roughly the size of a Game Boy Micro, that features a directional pad, four buttons, a square display, and a lithium polymer battery with USB-C charging. The company hasn't revealed too much about the PicoSystem. The display size is unknown, but we do know that the IPS screen has a resolution of 240 x 240 px. 

Howard also gave us a better idea of the PicoSystem's size by sharing a picture of it (top) in comparison to the 32blit handheld console that Pimoroni successfully funded on Kickstarter in June 2019. That device measures in at roughly 5.9 x 2.6 inches (150 x 65mm) and weighs 8.8 ounces (250g); the PicoSystem is much smaller, it can even be hooked to your keychain for on the go gaming.

Howard's video suggests the PicoSystem will share at least some code with the 32blit, since both devices are running "tilemap demo." The 32blit website says it supports games written in the C++ or Lua programming languages and will offer asset editing tools meant to simplify the creation of sprites, maps, and music. Being an RP2040 based device, it is also logical to assume that it will support C / C++, MicroPython and CircuitPython.

It's not clear how many 32blit features will carry over to the PicoSystem, which is much smaller and is based on an Arm Cortex M0+ instead of the Arm Cortex-M7-based SoC found in the 32blit, but there isn't much else to go on at the moment.

Hopefully we'll learn more about PicoSystem sooner than later. Pimoroni is already taking pre-orders for the device at $81 (£58.50 including VAT) with global shipping. In the meantime, the maker community has filled the gaming-on-RP2040 hole by getting the Pico to run Tetris and building the SoC into a custom Game Boy cartridge.

Nathaniel Mott
Freelance News & Features Writer

Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.