Introducing ArcadeSlam and the CopyCat mini-arcade platform

Tomorrow, the RoboSlam volunteer team is launching a new workshop, called ArcadeSlam. Whereas the RoboSlam robot-building workshop takes 2 hours for assembly and 3 hours for programming, ArcadeSlam offers participants the experience of assembling their own mini-arcade game in just 90 minutes.

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The CopyCat game console that students will build.

On November 23 and 24, eight DIT staff and six DIT undergraduate students will work together to deliver three ArcadeSlam workshops to students from the Grangegoreman area. Sixty-one student participants, aged 12-14, will assemble and compete in CopyCat, an electronic game designed by Frank Duignan that is part of a larger repertoire of mini-arcade games by this DIT Lecturer to expose students to electrical and electronics engineering.

CopyCat is a game that requires the student to assemble a mini-arcade game platform using a breadboard and simple electronic components. In operating the platform and playing the game, the student tries to copy a random sequence or lighting pattern (presented via four coloured LEDs). The goal is to copy the longest sequence, thus “copycatting” what the console lights show, by pressing buttons in a sequence to match how the LEDs are flickering on and off.

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DIT Lecturer Frank Duignan helping a student assemble electronics at a RoboSlam workshop in Kinsale.

The CopyCat game platform uses the amazingly versatile TIMSP430G2553 memory chip by Texas Instruments and is easily assembled using off-the-shelf parts. The low cost of the memory chip makes this project great for groups of all sizes. Pictures are provided to guide students through the assembly process.

Part one of the 90-minute workshop will involve an explanation about the circuit and components. Part two will involve assembly of the games. Part three will feature a competition to see who copies the longest sequence. Overall, participants will get some background theory, do some assembly, and engage in a bit of fun.

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Kids assembling electronics, much like the CopyCat mini-arcade game, at the Kinsale Arts Festival

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University-level students in heated competition at the end of a RoboSlam workshop.

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About shannonchance

Shannon Chance, PhD, LEED-AP, Registered Architect Marie Curie Research Fellow at Dublin Institute of Technology
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