Yesterday, we had a Game Boy for giants. Today, it’s an arcade machine for the cast of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. Or you could use it with your fingers, as maker BigRig Creates does. Maybe I should 3D-print finger-sized shoes too? Anyway, I digress; behold: the world’s smallest Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) arcade machine.
Having bought the original toy for $25 and gutted it, BigRig Creates went about replacing the internals with a Raspberry Pi 4. Despite our pocket-sized dimensions, we were still a little too big to squeeze inside the arcade cabinet, so after stripping out every extra bit of plastic inside the case, he bit the bullet and gave us a light trim. He bravely removed all the GPIO pins except for a few that are necessary for this build. He had to solder everything directly to the remaining pins, which looked a bit messy, and the case still didn’t shut properly. But the game works!
BigRig describes his creation as “A crappy toy held together by loose wires and a prayer.” We love it.
Working alongside Raspberry Pi 4, we have:
- 1″ LCD screen, chosen to replace the original and soldered directly to some of the remaining GPIO pins
- Arduino Pro Mini 328 amplifier to interface with the toy’s tinny speakers
- USB extender, connected to the Raspberry Pi and poking out the top of the case
- Buttons on the original PCB inside the toy, now hot-wired to the Raspberry Pi, to retain that authentic clickity-clack experience
A Raspberry Pi port of StepMania takes the place of the faux DDR game on offer from the original toy. StepMania is an open source clone of DDR for Windows, Mac, and Linux which lets you create your own version of the game.
BigRig Creates also wrote a Python script to allow the Raspberry Pi to interface with the original buttons and LEDs, as well as configuring Raspberry Pi OS to work with the audio and display outputs.
Dancing fingers and feet
That little USB extender we casually mentioned earlier? Well, it means you can plug in a full-size DDR floor pad so you can actually play with your feet as the arcade gods intended. Perfect for when your fingers get tired, or your 3D-printed miniature shoes start to chafe.
We were shocked, thrilled, surprised, and elated to find out (thanks to BigRig Creates at the 00:55-second mark of the build video) that some full-size arcade machines at Dave & Buster’s are running on Raspberry Pi 4. We have made it.