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Linux-based game handheld achieves Kickstarter funding

Mar 15, 2013 — by Rick Lehrbaum 1,948 views

A kickstarter project aimed at creating a “truly open source” Linux-based video game handheld recently achieved nearly double its funding goal. Game Console Worldwide (GCW), the enterprise formed to build and market the GCW Zero game console, says its preparing to mass-produce the device.

Justin Barwick, who created the GCW Zero, says he did so because he was “fed up” with video game handhelds that were “incapable of accurately emulating classic gaming experiences.” In order to tap into an avid community of software developers and beta testers, he used Linux and other open-source software components and applications as the basis for the device’s operation.

GCW Zero game console
(click image to enlarge)


Barwick plans to set up a GCW Zero software repository, from which users can browse, download, and install open-source apps and games onto their devices. Commercial and Indie games and apps will also be available there, for purchase, says Barwick.


Key features of the GCW Zero’s hardware include:

  • 1GHz Ingenic JZ4770 MIPS processor
  • Vivante GC860 GPU
  • 512MB DDR2 RAM and 16GB internal flash memory
  • Mini HDMI A/V out
  • Analog video out
  • WiFi
  • Analog controls interface

The device measures 143 x 70 x 18 mm, weighs 8 oz, and has a 3.5-inch, 320x240px LCD with 4:3 aspect ratio.

GCW Zero connectors and controls
(click images to enlarge)


The GCW Zero’s operating system is OpenDingux, a Linux distribution developed for the China-manufactured Dingoo A320/A330 gaming handheld (shown to the right; click to enlarge). Development of apps and games games for the GCW Zero will be supported with a GCW Zero Toolchain, which comprises typical C/C++ development tools, such as the GCC compiler, oprofile profiler, and gdb remote debugger.

According to Barwick, the GCW Zero is “powerful enough to run classic PC games, emulate the game consoles we grew up with, and run homebrew games seamlessly at high frame rates.”

“Too many devices today are walled gardens, designed solely for consumption,” he adds. “The GCW Zero gives you full control of your handheld. Install any application you want to run, change the operating system in any way you want. We won’t fight you; in fact we’ll encourage you.”

Here’s the GCW Zero’s Kickstarter project video:


For further information on the GCW Zero open-source video game handheld, visit its website here.

(advertise here)

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3 responses to “Linux-based game handheld achieves Kickstarter funding”

  1. kaddy says:

    oh c’mon… who is going to buy a handheld platform just to run retro games when you can run it for free with an emulator on any operating system???? maybe I am just ignorant…. but this is a joke… granted there may be some retro die hard fans out there that may support this… 40+ year old virgins who have nothing better to do with their time perhaps…..

  2. Robert says:

    Um, unless the Etnaviv reverse engineered drivers for the Vivante GPU suddenly become an awful lot better there’s no way this is going to be “completely open”.

    Some strange hardware choices.

    • Zear says:

      This isn’t entirely true.
      Right now we use the open source framebuffer driver, which doesn’t make use of the GPU at all, meaning that 100% of software we ship with the console IS open source.

      That does mean we don’t support some of the hardware featured in the device, but it makes us completely open and your statement is invalid.

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