What if there were a hacky, hackable handheld game platform – just for making noises?

That’s what the Arduino-powered, Lo-Fi SES is all about. It’s basically a little 8-bit music toy, with a control layout borrowed from Nintendo of the past, but expandable, hackable, and open. The sound is very grungy and digital, but it all appears easy to play.

The cutest touch: you expand the board with “cartridges,” add-ons that connect to the top to add functionality. “One”Final Sound Adventure” adds more sounds. “USB: A Link to the Hack” lets you program the board from your computer, using Arduino (since it’s built on that platform). “Smasher Bros” is basically adjustable analog distortion circuitry to add to the output.

Of course, as an instrument, there’s not a whole lot you can play here – it’s limited to the game-style controllers. And you’ll get more compositional use out of a Game Boy combined with nanoloop or LSDJ, or another other mobile chip music platform, as there isn’t onboard sequencing. But that said, this does look to be a really fun all-in-one, standalone device for people to play with – if you just want to plug in headphones. And for people looking for a chippy platform to hack, it could be a dream. (The creator suggests making a rumble pack, for instance!) Hope to get my hands on one; in the meantime, we can watch the video and catch some pics and sounds.

On Kickstarter, with basic support starting at US$5 and hardware at US$65. And while I wouldn’t count on a crowd-funded campaign to ship on time to get under the tree, they are saying they’ll ship in December as quickly as possible. Crowd funding ends on December 10.

Lo-Fi SES: Hackable 8-bit chiptunes instrument

The project is the work of Austin-based Assorted Wires.

Check out the open source project on which this was based: