YouTuber buildxyz is happy for his kids to play video games, but he’s keen for them to have a properly decent selection, and he wanted something that would look a little better in his living room than your average games console. He also wanted a no-nonsense way to retain parental control over the amount of time the children spend engaging with this particular kind of entertainment. Using a Raspberry Pi 2, an Arduino Uno, an old monitor and speakers, and EmulationStation, he came up with this.
An accomplished hobbyist woodworker, buildxyz constructed the cabinet from Baltic Birch plywood and custom laser-cut and 3D-printed parts, adding old speakers he had lying around and an HP monitor.
A rotary combination lock on the front allows buildxyz’s kids to enter a passcode for time-limited access, and sits inside a NeoPixel ring from Adafruit that shows the current status of the timer. An Arduino Uno controls power to the set-up, polling for a press of the rotary lock’s integrated push-button to turn on the Pi, which runs RetroPie and EmulationStation; the Uno shuts everything down gracefully either when the button is pressed again or when a player runs out of gaming time. When the kids figure out that the current system allows them to brute-force the passcode, they’ll be rewarded with unlimited access for a while, until buildxyz fixes this intentional vulnerability.
This is a simple and well executed project that, buildxyz comments, is “far more reliable then I anticipated.” We hope he and his kids have tons of fun using it, and my experience with kids and screens makes me think the whole family is likely to benefit from the fact that you plainly can’t argue with an electronic timer. You can read more about buildxyz’s project on Hackaday or in his build log, and if you’ve used a Pi to make a gaming set-up that meets your own particular spec, please tell us about your build in the comments!