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I've seen some cheap gaming consoles on Amazon, and I was wondering if it would be terribly difficult to put my RPG Maker game on it. Basically, a while ago, the creator of a never-solidifying game called Bob's Game had this idea to invent a cheap little console for indie developers. It was going to be called the nD. Well, the project never went anywhere, but it has left me with the itch to package my game in a cheap little gaming machine. How can I go about this?

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That depends entirely on which cheap gaming console it is and what system it runs. There are a few popular choices and people have made plenty of homebrew games for such platforms, so it is a possible, albeit difficult task.

No matter what option you go with though, you will need to rewrite the game. This is because I'm guessing you're using a Windows version of RPG Maker. There are versions of RPG Maker that are for other systems like SNES or DS but they are very different products.

These days cheap Chinese gaming consoles fall under the following categories:

  • Some weird system with a hacked up emulator for consoles like NES, which can run little else even if you could get a hold of their SDK
  • Some version of Linux, with a custom SDK / build chain
  • Android-based system

This leads to the following options:

  • Write an Android game, obviously only possible on an Android-based system. This is a little harder than it sounds though; chances are the hardware is based on an old Android phone running an ancient version of the OS like 1.6 or 2.1, so you will need to dig up an old version of the SDK. Performance will be poor, but depending on your game it may be acceptable. Quality varies a lot though; there are high-end Android devices that run very new versions of the OS, with enough performance to run most games on the Play store, but these won't be cheap either, as they are comparable to "proper" Android microconsoles like OUYA or Shield.
  • Write a native game. This is only a realistic option if the console happens to have a publicly-available SDK, as a lot of these makers are only after a quick buck and don't bother nurturing a development community. You will probably use SDL, or some flavour of OpenGL if you're lucky. Other frameworks or engines are probably out of the question because they will need to be ported first, by an active developer community. Be prepared to deal with issues like broken floating point or dodgy device drivers.
  • Write a console game, and played using the built-in emulator. The NES for example is surprisingly popular these days, with new (homebrew) games being released in recent years. Although this approach might have the best chance of success, writing games for old systems like NES will be much harder than other approaches, due to many limitations with the console, so it's not for the faint of heart.
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