Tech Will Save Us x Kickstarter: How the Arcade Coder Was Born

We’ve been working hard here at the Tech Will Save Us studios to get the Arcade Coders ready to be delivered to your door.

Our Games Studio app is now in the last stages of preparation for its App Store launch in October. At the moment we are very busy testing and refining all final aspects of it to make sure we deliver the highest quality possible with the first version.

The Arcade Coder’s components are ready to go, and the device is now officially in production. We’ve also made sure the Arcade Coder passed all the relevant Toy and Electrical Safety Tests in all key territories.

Here’s a shot from one of our safety certification tests:

The EMC (electromagnetic compatibility) test needs to always be conducted in an anechoic chamber, where no wave gets reflected back from the walls.

And while that’s been going on, we started remembering how the Arcade Coder came to be in the first place.

Because you, our wonderful supporters, are an essential part of the Arcade Coder’s journey to reinvent family game night we thought you’d love to know exactly how we came up with this one!

Once upon a time in East London, one of our product managers – Chris – was playing with our DIY Gamer Kit when he got a marvelous idea and the Arcade Coder came to life in his head. So, who better to tell the story other than the creator himself? Over to you, Chris!

gamer kit

“We had the DIY Gamer Kit which did really well and got a lot of attention, it was featured in the Museum of Game Design and kids loved it in workshops. They really loved the electronics of it and the ability to learn to code in a hands-on manner. The fact that it used Arduino as a brain was also a fan favorite because it meant the Gamer had so many applications. So, when thinking about our new product I had a hunch that gaming was a good place to start with.” – Chris Catton, Product Manager

Okay Chris, but why not a handheld gaming console?

“Well, I toyed with that idea for a bit, but then I realized that quality family time nowadays is becoming a rare occurrence. Kids and parents don’t spend enough time together and playing together. And that’s when it came to me. We were going to make a game console slash board game the whole family can enjoy whilst still maintaining the trademark Tech Will Save Us educational aspect!” – Chris Catton, Product Manager

Ta-da! The Arcade Coder was born. And like anything that is born, it went through a growing process to get to what you see in front of your eyes today. Do you want to see? Here it goes:

The square, tablet-y, design was chosen because it allowed it to be carried around comfortably whilst being the perfect size for the whole family to play together. We wanted kids to be able to play with the Arcade Coder wherever, whenever and however they wanted.

You can say the Arcade Coder is the DIY Gamer Kit’s legacy. It was the seed that developed into the awesome toy that is the Arcade Coder.

Our original DIY Gamer Kit is a cool handheld gaming console based around the Arduino Uno. You can build it yourself and then learn to code following our easy step by step instructions. Even better? It comes with a bunch of retro games to get you going right away!

The DIY Gamer Kit is not only an awesome learning tool, but it’s also an iconic design object. It has been acquired by the Design Museum globally as part of its permanent collection. 

In addition, for the design geeks out there, the Gamer is also part of the Paolo Antonelli collection at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York along with the Makey Makey and Arduino and it has also been acquired by the Chicago Art Institute as part of their permanent collection.

As we have had so many questions from our awesome backers about the background of the Arcade Coder and our other coding projects, we have decided to offer the DIY Gamer Kit with a 50% discount along with the Arcade Coder and Carry Case as part of a special Legacy Bundle pledge.

What will you get with the Legacy Bundle? 

  • 1 x Arcade Coder
  • 1 x Games Studio iOS App
  • 1 x Carry Case
  • 1 x DIY Gamer Kit
  •  TOTAL – £135 (Save 44% off bundle RRP)  

Our Kickstarter campaign for the Arcade Coder has now ended. Thank you so much to those of you that supported us and helped us reach our goal. The Arcade Coder has since been enjoyed by many children around the world to learn how to code and create their own unique arcade games. If you’d like to learn more about what the Arcade Coder does you can check it out here.