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SYFY WIRE video games

This new Kickstarter puts a tiny Game Boy-shaped system on a keychain - and it works

This little thing makes the Switch Lite look like a PS5.

By Benjamin Bullard
TinyCircuits Game Boy Crowfunding

Wanna get small? Not Game Boy small, mind you — we’re talking tiny. A crowdfunded new campaign to make an absurdly little portable game system is going way, way beyond the conventional definition of “handheld.” In fact, it’s so small you could hold several of them in the palm of your hand.

A tech company that goes by the aptly-chosen name of Tiny Circuits blasted through its initial crowdfunding campaign last month for its almost-microscopic Thumby device, raking in more than double its initial $15,000 goal in under 24 hours, reports Screen Rant. Now, with only a couple of days left before the Kickstarter campaign ends, Tiny Circuits has collected more than $180,000 from eager fans who don’t mind squinting a little (or a lot) to view some seriously small gaming tech.

Is that a surprise? Hey, we knew people were nostalgic for anything that might remind them of the classic Nintendo Game Boy system and Thumby certainly does. But who could've guessed that so many players would get behind a tiny game device that can freely swing from a keychain?

Described by the company as “an itty-bitty game system at the tips of your thumbs,” the Thumby may be small, but it doesn’t skimp on pint-sized power. Built around a Raspberry Pi RP2040 processor, the battery-fueled gadget features a monochrome OLED screen, 2MB of onboard storage, a micro USB connection that’ll allow owners to play with a friend using the compatible “Thumby Link” cable, and even a speaker so you’ll never miss a beep.

We weren’t kidding when we said this thing is small: The Thumby enters the gaming fray in the ultra-ultra-lightweight class, measuring 1.2” X 0.7" X 0.3” — and those measurements are in inches (or fractions of them), mind you. In addition to a 4-way D-pad and two input buttons, the company has even managed to cram five preloaded games on board, most of which give a nod to the fun-sized tiny vibe in some way.

Included among the Thumby’s retro-style game library — along with the company’s description of each title — are TinyBlocks (“A classic puzzle game”), Space Debris (“A space shooter, similar to Asteroids”), Annelid (“A snake game, collect the food to grow your annelid”), Thumgeon (“A dungeon adventure game, collect and buy weapons, battle monsters”), and Saur Run (“You are a small running and jumping dinosaur, side scroller”).

Where (and when) will everyone who missed the Kickstarter campaign get their big chance to score one of these lightweights? We’re not sure, but Tiny Circuits sounds serious about its timeline. The company says at its campaign page that Thumbys (if that's the plural of "Thumby") are slated to start shipping out to early bird backers next month, with everyone else who took the tiny plunge set to receive their game systems — assuming they can see them — sometime early next year.

TinyCircuits Game Boy Crowfunding