I had the opportunity to play with the DIY Gamer Kit from Technology Will Save Us and I have to say that it is awesome. Here are my thoughts on using this kit.
I was given the option of purchasing the kit unsoldered or soldered with love. I have not soldered in quite some time and I'm sure my wife would not want me wielding a soldering iron. It cost a bit more, but I was happy to get the device without any personal burn scars on my hands.
Everything came together in a nice package and I was able to jump online and follow the directions. The resources of the kits are amazing and easy to follow. If you want to solder on your own, they have the directions for that. If you want to assemble and start playing, they have directions for that. I was able to take it out of the box, assembles it, add a battery, and I was ready to go. Here is what it looked liked assembled.
Here are some students adding the stickers to the back.
The next part of the kit is downloading the Arduino software onto my computer so I can start programming my unit. Again, Technology Will Save Us makes this so easy. Their directions walk you thorough the process in a matter of minutes. They also have directions on how to install other games (Flappy Bird and Snake) to your unit. They have other programs that you can play around with as well. Here is one that I was able to place on the unit that I shared on Instagram.
This was so much fun to play around with on the computer and the unit. I was able to simply plug in the USB and connect it to the computer and start playing with code. I'm not much of Code or Arduino guy, but I felt like a pro in minutes and want to spend more time playing with the code to see what I can change.
I intend to buy more of these for our Makerspace. I want kids to build these and program them for the space. Students can have challenges and competitions to create complex games for others to play and beat. This was such a fun experience for me and my students were interested when I showed them what I was able to do.
There are other kits that are also worth exploring and have peaked my interest. They have a Synth Kit, Speaker Kit, Electro Dough Kit, Thirsty Plant Kit, and more. Check them out to diversify the kits in your Makerspace.
If you are looking to give students more opportunities to tinker and Make, adding some kits from Technology Will Save Us in a no-brainer in my opinion.
Have fun and get Making!