Retroball: The Build-it-Yourself Game Kit

You can purchase Retroball from my Tindie store: Unfortunately I have sold out of Retroball units – however you can still build your own since all of my projects are open source. Check out the download link at the bottom of this page for all the details you need to build your very own retroball!

Retroball is a build-it-yourself kit which follows in the footsteps of the classic ‘PONG’ style video games. Retroball allows you to play with two, three or four players and up to five balls on the screen at the same time. Retroball was funded on Kickstarter, raising $25,407AUD thanks to 218 backers!

Build instructions and downloads can be found at the bottom of this page, just before the comments section.

With a step-by-step building video and less than a dozen components to solder in – Retroball can be put together by even a newcomer to electronics. Retroball can be powered by any standard USB port, USB charger or USB charge bank.

 

Each game mode can be played with two, three or four players:

  • One Ball Easy – Slower game play which is great for beginners. 
  • One Ball Hard – Fast paced action to test your reflexes. 
  • Five Balls – Can you handle the mayhem?

The ball may be spun off the bat in different directions, at different angles and speeds depending on how you hit the ball. It makes for some great gameplay!

If you miss a ball, you lose a point. If you lose all of your points, your paddle is replaced with a wall. The last player standing – wins!

  • Soldering Iron and Solder 
  • Phillips ScrewDriver 
  • Pliers

  • 240mm x 240mm Matte Black Circuit Board
  • Tinted Screen Filter
  • 32 x 32 Pixel RGB LED Matrix Display (160mm x 160mm)
  • 8 Potentiometers (Four of which are spares) 
  • 4 Potentiometer Knobs 
  • USB Connector 
  • LED Matrix Ribbon Cable + Connector 
  • LED Matrix Power Cable + Connector 
  • Two Push Buttons 
  • PIC 18F46K22 Microcontroller (Pre-programmed with Retroball)
  • Filter Capacitor 
  • USB Cable 
  • 40 Pin 0.1″ (2.54mm) Male Headers (For those who wish to experiment with their Arduino Uno)

For those who want to run their own experiments, Retroball comes with a built in slot for you to plug in your own Arduino Uno or compatible microcontroller. Just download the Adafruit Library and get coding! (Note: only two of the four potentiometers are available for your Arduino due to limited pins on the Arduino). Some example will be provided to get you started.

An Arduino is not required to make Retroball work however.

A hidden menu gives you access to these extra features:

  • Screen Pixel Test 
  • Potentiometer Controller Test 
  • Screensaver 1 
  • Screensaver 2 
  • LED Sketch (Like etch-a-sketch) 
  • The Great Race 
  • Dice

  • PCB dimensions 24cm x 24cm (9.5″ x 9.5″)
  • LED Matrix Dimensions 160mm x 160mm
  • Completed kit weight approximately 650grams (1.43lb)
  • Packaged weight approximately 1.1kg (2.43lb)
  • Retroball is powered by an 8-bit PIC 18F46K22 Microcontroller running at 64Mhz with 64KB of program memory and 3.8K of SRAM. 
  • The LED matrix contains 1024 RGB LED’s which provides a 32 x 32 pixel playing area. 
  • Backers are also able to use their own Arduino Uno (or compatible) microcontroller by soldering in the 0.1″ male headers (which are provided with every kit). You can then download the Adafruit library to code your own experiments. I will provide details and some sample code to get you guys started.

RetroBall kit Unboxing Video (Showing all the parts which are included in the kit):

Retroball Kit Construction Video
(Please note – The video does not show when to plug the PIC microcontroller in to the socket, but you can simply plug this in immediately before connecting the LED matrix display.)

How to get your Arduino Uno up and running on Retroball

Retroball files containing BOM, sourcecode, Arduino libraries (thanks to Adafruit) and examples, PCB design and gerber files and schematic can be downloaded below:

Note – this zip archive has been updated to include the required libraries for the Retroball sourcecode.

Retroball Files (1000 downloads)

The following download contains only the Arduino Libraries and example sketches. This is provided as a seperate download since it makes importing it into ‘Arduino Create’ a much simpler process.

Retroball Arduino Libraries and Examples (730 downloads)
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

44 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

United Airlines Seat Selection : Choose Best Seats 

United Airlines provides the best seating assignment onboard the plane, ensuring the flyer’s safety and comfort to the fullest. You can log into the account; choose the preferred seats from the United Airlines seat selection on the official site. Besides, talk to the live person and request a seat upgrade for the upcoming trip. 

Hi Brad, I finally managed to solder together your great retro-ball! (I hope you still remember it, its been such a long time). Two questions: Is there a one-person game mode as well? I can only get 2,3,and 4 player games when turning the potentiometer. Also, as I am not a gamer per se, can you give me a hint (or just outright tell me) where I can find the hidden menu please? Love the things you have put together, hopefully it wont take me as long to play with your digitale 2A (another great KS campaign, super super well… Read more »

Have anyone brought the Retroball game to Arduino? Curious to have it running on the board with Arduino setup.

Hi Brad, I lost the screws and spacer to connect LED display and circuit board (chaotic workplace while toying with the Arduino…).
Please advise dimensions of the screws and spacer, so I can get new ones!
Thx Sören

Does anyone know about a good solution to power Retroball using a battery? Ideally would be a mountable solution to the PCB.

Thanks brad for the quick reply. I looked up the specs of the matrix display and it can consume up to 4A. Therefore I was a bit nervous about buying a USB power bank which commonly supplies 2.4 to 3A max. But my 2A USB charger works with all LEDs on (I tested blue/green/red), so I’ll go with a power bank. My plan is to mount it left of the Arduino between board and display. It may have a max size of 10mm x 4mm x 18mm when measuring the space left. I can’t really find a power bank that… Read more »

Hi Brad,
Do you know when/if you will have these kits back in stock? I want one!
Thanks!

Looking forward to it!!

Just put together my retroball kit. How fun! The instructions were easy to follow to get it up and running. Just one thing… how do I get to the hidden menu?

Actually, never mind. Figured it out! Very cool. Thanks again!

sold out … pfff
sicks

Hi Brad,
Retroball Arduino Libraries and PCB design download link does not work, Is it possible to correct it?

Thanks.

Thanks Brad.
Every thing is OK 🙂

Hey Brad, what do u think, when is Retroball back in Stock ?

Hey do you have a contact email I could possible use to get in touch am having an issue with my Retroball and could do with some support

Where can I buy this?

Hi, when will it be available for sale?

out since july and i can’t click a button to buy.. kickstarters supporters must be pissed..

Hello, The Retroball arrived in Luxembourg 🙂

Brad,

I bought this for my brother who has his own company.
I want to add the option to add a second welcome screen to ADG ROCKS.
Is the source code available yet? I probably need all the time I can get before Christmas.

Thanks

I haven’t used Swordfish basic, no. I generally work with C. I’ve never used a PIC before, either. I’ve just started to see what I’ll need to add a few bytes to the code.

Hi The retroball arrived in the UK quickly and I would like to make a tetris platform. Would any one know a good script to hack?

Hi, I just got my Retroball kit, and was able to put it together just fine, and it seems to work great. I need to try the hidden menu.
However, I watched the videos, and wanted to let you know, that my kit did not include a cable, I just used one I had, but thought you should be aware that it was not in the box, incase you need to talk with your distributers.

Hi Brad, just got the kit setup successfully, it works great. Can you please upload those document on setting up Arduino and sample code? and also how to access the secret menu? cheers,

Thanks Brad the kit works great, and it feels of good quality. I got in the secret menu, can you please post an update on KS once the details are available? Btw I have some question regarding the Arduino. Which pins are available as I want to connect an ESP8266 module to the Uno. Thanks!

Hi Brad – just got my Retroball kit altogether. It rocks! Thanks!!! I still can’t seem to access the secret menu doing what you are describing. I power it on and on the first screen I turn the red player’s knob fully left, fully right, then fully left and nothing happens. Help – thanks! 🙂

Hello – I just checked it and the red pot goes fully from 0-5v on both sides of center. I am trying it from the RetroBall title screen, too. Also, I wanted to let you know how much my kids love it. I really enjoyed putting it together with them and it makes a great coffee table toy to leave out for our teenage guests to play with. I had a small USB battery pack laying around about the size of a small cellphone. It fits perfectly on the top of the circuit board just underneath the display so that… Read more »

Hi Brad, nice project! I love it. What is your expectation that this kit will be for sale? Thanks. Kind regards, Olav

16
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x