uSVC: a portable, DIY, “9-bit”, open hardware retro-gaming console

By on November 2, 2020
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In September 2019 Itaca Innovation launched on the market uChip (read “you-chip”), an Arduino Zero compatible board in a 16-DIL package, now available also on the OpenElectronics store.

This October 2020 the company is presenting uSVC – uChip Simple VGA Console.
As Itaca wrote on the crowd-funding project campaign page:

uSVC is a simple, do-it-yourself game console that allows you to create and play retro-style 8-bit games with standard USB controllers and keyboards. It comes as a kit, and all you need to assemble it are basic, through-hole soldering skills. In fact, all you really need is a soldering iron and some solder wire. The microSD card socket is the only surface-mount component on the whole board, and we’ve taken care of that one for you, so you’ll have “basic, through-hole soldering skills” by the time you’re done.”

As the board name suggests, uSVC is based on the IC-like dev-board uChip and exploits the SAMD21 CortexM0+ to create a complete “9-bit” retro console. Never heard of a “9-bit” console? Accordingly to the project creators (next-hack):

“…this console is more powerful than an 8-bit console of the ’80s. In particular, we have a higher resolution, more on-screen colors and a bit of more memory and CPU “residual” speed[…]. Therefore neither 8, nor 16 bits, just 9!”


The graphics presented on the campaign page are quite impressive, being software generated signals, and among others examples we find a “Worms” like multiplayer game, and a dynamic performance demo test.
The company states that these, as well as other game examples, will be fully Open Source and that the code will published during the crowd-funding campaign updates.

If you want to get back to the early ’90, uSVC is now available on pre-order on the platform CrowdSupply.



About Boris Landoni

Boris Landoni is the technical manager of Skilled in the GSM field, embraces the Open Source philosophy and its projects are available to the community.

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