Fantasy Game Console

In the spirit of Fantasy Web Browser and Fantasy Web Protocol, and in light of realizing the general state of video games is too much of a dumpster fire for me to play in with my kid…

What would your fantasy game console be? Discuss! :slight_smile:

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Had a note about this: real simple, toggle store.

Basically, I want Nintendo’s quality assurance, without rent-seeking. And way easier than Android/ChromeOS/whatever. Similar to the non-free repos in various distros.

So, I make the “maiki-box”, and it has a built-in library, with kid-friendly games (I want a kid-friendly console). But other sources/apps can be installed. No loops to jump through, maybe a warning with a link to an essay explaining how hard this is to balance but we believe in the power of autonomy, so…

It seems really easy for me. Am I missing somemthing, aside from the rent-seeking angle?

  • Should be available as a handheld or as a set-top box.
  • I’d like it if their was a tight interpreted language or virtual machine for the games to target/run as. To kind of insure portability to all future generations of the Fantasy Game Console and for easy porting on and off. Like I would love it if like say we were talking about Love2D the console.
  • I would like it if you could easily dive into the code of games as a learning experience, or ease of modding. Not dissimilar to how the original conception of the OLPC project wanted all high level UI apps to be editable by the user, so they could learn how they were constructed.
  • 16bit graphics are enough for me. I’d like CD quality audio though.
  • The GPU also should have a couple colorblind modes.
  • Their are some thoughts in the ether that less buttons on a controller are more accessible. Dpad and 2-6 face buttons would be enough for me, others may feel differently.
  • Game metadata should be verbose. So that it could contain appropriate parental warnings, subject matters, genres, playstyles, cover art; so the UI can filter or display any needed bits of it. Game cover art should be required to be needlessly high resolution just to be future-forward for future itterations of the console or UI. ( It kills me that the Wii wont display Gamecube cover art, and the Wii U wouldn’t display Wii cover art, even if they were backwards compatible. ).
  • Either no physical media needed / or be physical media agnostic. Support a filesystem and directory layout format and don’t care where or what media is mounted. Just launch it when you see it.
  • Local bluetooth multiplayer and WiFi.
  • Lots of story driven games.

Would be dope to have a nice built-in controller, while having ports so folks can add their own input devices. :slight_smile:

I do enjoy the increasing tried of just everything supporting ALL THE CONTROLLERS lately. Like people using nintendo controllers with their phones, or playstation controllers with their PCs. Not a whole lot of reason to be agnostic to third party controllers these days.

Most of the challenge would be insuring games worked on simple controllers as well as more complex ones. Though Nintendo has kind of demonstrated this is far from impossible on a few occasions, with their passion for giving people controllers that turn sideways for use in slightly different control schemes.

I was thinking a single USB-C port, or whatever that accessibility Xbox controller uses. I know that sentence presumes a lot, but I’m talking high-level.

I could go without bumpers (L and R). NES kinda got it. Think about an RPG: A accepts/interacts, B cancels/goes back, Start pauses/menu.

Wow, I hadn’t really thought about how much the baseline interface determines.

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As a tangent from your point, I’d like a standard library for adding timers to video games. Maybe even set by profile, outside the game.

As a library, it would be accessible for creators to integrate the particulars of their game with the timer (including, I suppose, not using it…). Examples:

  • Platformer - timer goes off, auto-saves upon restarting or finishing a level
  • RPG - Notifies of last seen save point near timer’s end
  • Puzzle game - Won’t start a new level with one minute left on timer
  • Any game - Timed mode

I see this as being like the crank on that yellow console thing we noticed.

I remember after reading up on the accessibility angle of simpler NES style controllers, I remember stairing at my GBA’s buttons for a long while going: Hmmm… YEAH thats enough.

Maybe if we’re doing my one VM or one baseline interpretted language idea at the heart of the thing, we could have a unified save state system, and just use an common API to expose time left for the edge cases, saving the state when time is up wouldn’t solve. Like:

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Something parallel to timers is just the idea of showing a clock in game. Age of Wonders 1 does this, and it’s great. It brings it into the game, and I am more aware of how long I’ve been playing.

Ability to save whenever a player chooses + showing ticklers at a default of 1hr, but customizable. “You’ve been playing for 1 hour, maybe go take a break!” “It’s been 2 hours of gameplay.” “We get it, you like this game. But you’ve been playing for 7 hours, please take a break!”.

I agree with this. In my mind, there are three types of game inputs. NES-level controllers. FPS-style for more 3D games, and isometric or top down games like sim city, NWN, etc where mouse is more for point and click.

Are there game examples or genres that really don’t fit in here? (Besides one requiring custom controllers like Rock Band).

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Hardware idea: Should be modular for upgrades to minimize e-waste. EOMA68 should it ever happen would be a good example. EOMA68 Computing Devices | Crowd Supply


I wonder if in the interest of simplicity we could consolidate to a NES style dpad and optional trackball (more lap friendly than a mouse). Im trying to think if that would cover everything. ( directional + trackball should be all you need for isometric RPGs, Sim City and FPS right ?)

EDIT Though I concede the NES controller isn’t great for one handed operation, and id rather not reinvent the steam controller by mashing them together.

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I love this idea, but I don’t think trackball is good for FPS games. I’ve known 1 person who played FPS with trackball, but everyone else in my gaming circles used mouse + KB.

But maybe that’s the thing? Is this really a computer (think in same niche as Chromebook)? Could it be a thing that sits on your desk w/mouse and KB, and a gamepad plugged in, and when your friends/family want to play you take it and hook it to a HDMI on the TV, plug in some more gamepads and get your gaming on?

If I’m totally derailing this, just give me a stern emoji stare.

I don’t think so but it’s highlighting the classic problem of. How does one make a controller more accessible with the least number of widgets; allow one to play all games out of the box and support the widest number of genres?

One wonders if Nintendo wasn’t onto something with the Wii Mote.

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Simplest solution: Support keyboard, mice and NES style controllers. Bluetooth & USB.

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An interesting idea would be to have controllers implement the same virtual gamepad with an optional pointer, and just use USB/Bluetooth so that there’s maximum hackability. That way individual controllers can be built to support all kinds of accessibility options, pointer emulation via button presses, “sticky keys” for hard-to-manage button combinations or menu navigation, etc. Or you if you took the time you could implement many of those features in software and allow for user configuration. A good example would be all the controller mapping options you have for the Dolphin emulator.

On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve always played around with the idea of the most minimal, battery-efficient, handheld game system you could carry around. Basically the kindle for games.

It would basically amount to an e-ink gameboy color (with a switch to go to just monochrome to save power) with the screen greatly expanded, a neat little sound chip, support for single touch and simple gestures, but only as additions to the d-pad and buttons (A-B or A-B-Y-X ? Not sure, A-B did just fine for the gameboy, and touch might be enough to supplement situations beyond it).

I basically want something that makes me feel like how Downwell made me feel, playing it on an iPhone.

The Playdate gets really, really close here. If it had the game development oomph behind it to get some really good games it would be a slam dunk for me.


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From a hardware standpoint I agree, although it being super closed makes me sad. :frowning:

Yes, that’s another big problem. It’s definitely in that iPhone space of “Take the pretty thing we made as we made it”.

Teenage Engineering makes some good products that, if they aren’t entirely open, do a pretty good job of interacting with the rest of the ecosystem. The OP-1 and OP-Z all output MIDI, can act as controllers through the DAW of your choice, etc., etc.

I’m busy imagining a dystopian future where the rich and beautiful run around experiencing life and the universe through the lens of their Playdates while the destitute cyberpunks around them make due with these big honking pipboys with nice satisfying ka-chunky cranks attached to them.

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If your willing to stay in the ePaper family, while not eInk per se this is a property of transflective LCDs. Their not popular because of the lack of backlighting, but they still get used in eReaders that want eInk like experiences but do color much cheaper than eInk. The OLPC even had one that could revert monochrome in some lighting conditions. Seems near perfect.

That being said if your chasing the ePaper family your going to want a damn good front light on that handheld.