Pokitto vs Gamebuino Meta


#1

Hi there, new to the forums so apologies if this is the wrong category!
I was considering either purchasing the Pokitto or the Gamebuino Meta. Can someone correct me if I’m wrong, but it looks like in terms of performance, the Pokitto equals or outclasses the Meta in each aspect (screen resolution, processing power, ram, etc.). Can someone point out any advantages to the Gamebuino Meta if any? Thanks!


#2

It has been around a bit longer. Might have a larger community due to that. Maybe arduino? If wome count that as a plus.

Really though for the price and actual what you get, I chose Pokitto over a lot of projects I saw because of the IoT learning aspect. Being able to use the headers on it for more hardware exploration is a huge plus for me.

If you’re just looking for a really cool retro style small handheld and not something more hackable and extendable then the GameBuino Meta would totally be worth it. I still might pick one up someday.


#3

I appreciate the concise helpful response! Arduino isn’t a big factor to me as I’d be more focused on making games than electronics/add-ons. I’d love to pick up a Gamebuino Meta at some point too; however, the price is a bit limiting as I’m currently saving up for a trip to Europe! Cheers!


#4

I have met and know Aurelien, the creator of Gamebuino. He has done an outstanding job with the Gamebuino Meta.

Both Pokitto and Gamebuino Meta have their roots in the original Gamebuino. I used to program for it (or a DIY version of it).

I began to think of ways to implement colour (Gamebuino classic was black & white) and came up with the idea of “doubling the pixels”. I demonstrated this in Maker Faire Rome 2016 where we were together with Aurelien. Meta was launched 1 yr after that. Pokitto was first practical proof, that a low power Cortex M0+ could run a colour screen. Performance-wise nothing else in the entire world can replicate what our community is doing with the LPC11U68. In terms of FPS (frames per second) we hold the records for Cortex M0+ by a wide margin. This is because we bit-bang the living daylights out of a 16-bit parallel bus, others have had to settle for the more civilized but slower SPI bus. Our display is also higher resolution, and we make hires games also due to higher performance. For example, we emulate Gameboy classic on a playable speed, the Meta simply can’t do that.

Gamebuino Meta is probably a more polished device, because Aurelien wanted to attract the retro/hip young users (his own words). I just wanted to make something cheap and cheerful, because the first Pokitto I made was for my kids.

The second BIG difference is that Gamebuino is a serious business and the livelihood of the author. For me Pokitto is a side business, or a hobby that makes money. So I have no financial pressure, and it shows in the kind of experimentation we have here. I just hope everyone enjoys hanging around here, and so far its been great fun, especially around big community pushes (l’Abbaye game and the recent Python compo).

We have super tools for micropython development, probably better than others.

I wanted Pokitto to be a device that would get people with no prior experience of coding / no prior experience of embedded devices interested in the kind of technology used. And to a large extent that has succeeded - there are a lot of people here to whom Pokitto was their first embedded device.


#5

As i own both i can say: The touch and feel of the gamebuino is the best in this category. The buttons are very good and responsive.
The gui is very nice (yes, you can change this of course) and a lot if different genres are already covered, so you could find support for a whole bunch of ideas.
On the other hand i love and use my pokitto more to be honest. The games are developed with so much love and enthusiasm and the people round here are very creative. The peripheral ideas and the unconventional projects (e.g. gameboy emulation) go unrivaled.
If you can only afford one i would say get the pokitto (and as everybody knows round here i have a lot of handhelds and no need to tell you so because this is the pokitto forum).


#6

That explains the higher price a bit. I have always thought Meta to be somewhat overpriced.

Pokitto is more a DIY console. The ability to easily assemble the device by yourself limits how sturdy the device can be.


#7

Personally I think it’s not really a case of “this console or this console”.
Pretty much all the games are free (and open source) so it’s easier to afford several consoles.
You can always save up and buy one of the others later.
(I have both an Arduboy and a Pokitto. One day I might buy a Meta, it depends how things go.)


Personally I haven’t used the Meta so I can’t really comment on its capabilities first-hand, just its reported spec.

  • The CPU/MCU is mostly the same, both use a Cortex M0+,
    • Although the Meta uses an ATSAMD21 (made by Microchip, formerly Atmel (I think)) and the Pokitto uses an LPC11U68 (made by NPX).
  • The Meta’s screen has a nicer resolution (because it’s divisible by 8), but it’s a lower resolution overall, with possibly a lower refresh rate.
  • The Meta has an extra button, sort of.
    • The Pokitto does have another usable button, but it’s on the back so it’s rarely used.
    • Although both devices can add more buttons using their extension headers.
  • Both have a micro SD card slot. Both can swap games ‘on the go’.
  • Both use a mico USB port for charging (and presumably flashing software).
  • No clue about sound or battery.

If the Meta is Arduino-based then it might be a little bit easier to get the IDE up and running.

Although the Arduino ‘IDE’ is pretty bare bones,
which probably doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner,
but if you’re an experienced programmer used to a fully-fledged IDE then it can be a bit of an annoyance.

You can use a different editor for Arduino programs, like Notepad++ or Visual Studio code.
But if you’re able to do that then the Arduino IDE being simple to set up isn’t much of a bonus for you anyway.

If you’re on Windows then Embitz (one of the most commonly used IDEs available for Pokitto) is pretty easy to set up.
Alternatively if you’re relativley ‘tech-savvy’ (i.e. you don’t mind digging through folders and editing config files) then Visual Studio Code with PlatformIO is relatively easy to set up and in generally easier to use than Embitz and works on all OSes.

If you’re a Linux person who loves the command line then there’s options for that too, either using PlatformIO or makefiles.


#8

PlatformIO is saving my life as a Linux user.