Arcade Cabinet made with Particle Photon board (Firmware/Hardware QUESTIONS)

I want to make a small game cabinet using a particle photon board, some buttons, a joystick, and screen. As a beginner to game design and hardware, would anyone have suggestions for hardware, like if you know a good screen that works with particle photon boards, can be small, or if you know any libraries that might work for 2d rendering that outputs to a screen. Any help would be awesome.

Also, I’m very new to game development, and this is for school, so using a photon board is mandatory really. I really want to know if there is a way we could use assets in rendering if that is the right way to say it. If anyone knows if there would be a way to do this, it would be awesome.

I know what I want to do, but not quite all the details of how to do it. I want to be able to make a game using assets, and I want to be able to have multiple things on the screen at a time and a background.

Honestly I’d go with a Raspberry Pi and a cheap HDMI LCD.

You can’t connect a HDMI screen to a Photon, and the LCD and OLED displays that connect via SPI or I2C are both expensive in larger sizes and have too low of a refresh rate for anything but the most basic of games. I did a really slow version of pong with two SSD1306 displays, but you can’t get much more than that.


I do have a raspberry pi, but I think using a photon board is mandatory, it’s for a class. the project is using a photon board and some sensors and making a project, my group decided that an arcade machine would be really cool, but I’m trying to figure out how games work, as far as storing characters, then putting together characters and a background and then putting that out to a screen. The more I look into things, the more I feel like I’m being way too ambitious, but I really want to do it.

I was thinking of storing characters in an object array, then you can go through that and put them onto a screen, but how to actually put them all together when I want something more complicated than a colored box has been racking my brain.

Perhaps you could make a simple game with the photon and some LEDs and push button switches. Mount the LEDs on a board in a spaced out arrangement with a push button next to each LED. Then the firmware could light an LED in a random sequence. The user would have to press the associated button within a certain time limit to keep the game going. Failure to press in time would end the game. The speed of LED activation could increase as the game goes on, making it more challenging.

I know this isn’t the “arcade” you were hoping for, but it is something simple that a Photon could handle. Might get you a good grade.


I’d agree with Rick here about the suitability of a Photon for such an assignment.

However, when you must use a Photon, this doesn’t necessarily prevent you from using a RPi too and only have the Photon control the RPi via their respective GPIOs.
Providing the budget allows.

Alternatively - also depending on budget - you could opt for smart displays like ITEAD Nextion HMIs. Since they have their own processor on board they could run a (rudimentary) “game logic” and display “sprites” while the Photon only tells the display where to place the individual objects.
These displays can be programmed with some script language.

Finally for some rather simple game (e.g. Snake or Tetris) an moderately sized dumb TFT display you may be able to pull that off as long you don’t have to redraw the entire screen over and over and the game experience will definitely be “sub-prime” :wink:


The most cost-effective solution for the Photon is an SSD1306 OLED display. It’s tiny, less than an inch, but it’s cheap and works well. For the best refresh rate, get one with an SPI interface, but I2C works as well. For extra fun, you can use two SPI SSD1306 displays.

Using an Argon with two SPI SSD1306 displays, and two Xenons with IMUs communicating by BLE to control the paddles in a pong game.


Hey Dana, welcome to the community!

Like others mentioned, a Particle device would not be the best fit for an arcade game.

Here are two alternative projects I would contemplate if I was in your position:

Option 1:

This seems to be doable with a Particle device.
Looks like a lot of fun too.

Option 2:

Use a Rasp Pi for the games. So where’s the Particle device here?
Here: create one or two Bluetooth controllers that use argon/xenons and connect them to the rasp pi.
So you play your games wireless!

Of course, these are just two options.
Best of luck!
PS: please tell us about the results when you get something done, it will be cool to see your project (and why not your classmate’s).


Hi Dana- Welcome! Like others mentioned, Particle devices aren’t the best fit for arcade games but you could make a Simon Says Game with some lights and buttons.

What are the rules for this project? What sensors do you have?

We can buy pretty much anything we want as long as we spend our own money, and we get free joysticks, buttons, light sensors, and a couple other things

The main thing we would probably buy would be a screen

Would something like this fit your criteria? Going screenless would likely be your best option with a photon.

@dreamER helping a student on the forums seems like a pretty good use of time to me, though I’d welcome any suggestions you have.

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