The Retro Gaming Watch Kickstarter campaign is an interesting wearable initiative by US start-up developer Jason Rogers. As its name implies, it blends the nostalgia of retro gaming with the convenience of a smartwatch. This device is essentially a portable gaming console reminiscent of the mini Game Boy SP.
The Retro Gaming Watch stands out with its unique design that allows users to wear it as a watch and flip it open to play games. This feature sets it apart in the wearable tech market. It offers a novel experience for gaming and watch enthusiasts alike.
Mind you the thing is designed for off-wrist gaming. While it’s worn on the wrist primarily as a timepiece, the gaming functionality is intended to be used when the watch is removed from the wrist.
The watch features a flip screen that transforms from a watch to a mini game console. It boasts a 1.54-inch 320 x 320 pixels internal LCD with a 60Hz refresh rate for gaming, complemented by a smaller display for basic watch functions. The device is equipped with four action buttons, a D-Pad, a magnetometer, an accelerometer, and a single speaker, enhancing the gaming experience.
At its core, the Retro Gaming Watch is powered by a Renesas/Dialog DA14706 chip with a 160MHz application processor, two ARM Cortex-MD processors, a 2D GPU, 1.5MB of internal memory, and 8MB of external QSPI RAM. Notably, it includes an Efinix T20 FPGA, enabling the emulation of popular 8- and 16-bit game consoles, making it ideal for playing classic games.
The watch conjures up to two days of battery life in smartwatch mode. However, when used for playing 2D games, the playtime ranges between 2-4 hours. This aspect highlights the device’s dual functionality and the balance between its watch and gaming features.
So who is this device for?
Well, it is definitely not going to win any fashion awards. It does look a bit chunky. So looks are not a reason for purchase.
But perhaps it might be of interest to retro gamers who appreciate the nostalgia of classic games and seek a unique, portable gaming experience. It might also be a fit for tech-savvy individuals looking for a wearable device that combines the practicality of a watch with the entertainment value of a gaming console.
The Kickstarter campaign offers early bird rewards starting at $159. First backers are expected to receive their devices by November 2024. As always, warnings about crowdfunded projects apply. There are no guarantees.
If the campaign reaches over 500 pledges, the Retro Gaming Watch will feature a machined steel body; otherwise, it will have an injection-molded plastic body. A few days into the campaign, there are 224 pledges. Additionally, a beta testing option is available for a $350 pledge, with a projected delivery in March 2024.
Price: $159 and up
Funds raised: $42,526 out of $35,000 goal.
Estimated delivery: November 2024
24 days to go
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