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The ClockworkPi GameShell is a super fun DIY spin on portable gaming

Portable consoles are hardly new, and thanks to the Switch, they’re basically the most popular gaming devices in the world. But ClockworkPi’s GameShell is something totally unique, and entirely refreshing when it comes to gaming on the go. This clever DIY console kit provides everything you need to assemble your own pocket gaming machine at home, running Linux-based open-source software and using an open-source hardware design that welcomes future customization.

The GameShell is the result of a successfully Kickstarter campaign, which began shipping to its backers last year and is now available to buy either direct from the company, or from Amazon. The $159.99 ($139.99 as of this writing on sale) includes everything you need to build the console, like the Clockwork Pi quad-core Cortex A7 motherboard with integrated Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 1GB of DDR3 RAM, but it comes unassembled.

GameShell Clockwork Pi 3

You won’t have to get out the soldering iron – the circuit boards come with all components attached. But you will be assembling screen, keypad, CPU, battery and speaker modules, connecting them with included cables, and then installing them in the slick, GameBoy-esque plastic shell. This might seem like an intimidating task, depending on your level of technical expertise: I know I found myself a bit apprehensive when I opened the various boxes and laid out all the parts in front of me.

But the included instructions, which are just illustrations, like those provided by Lego or Ikea, are super easy to follow and break down the task into very manageable tasks for people of all skill levels. All told, I had mine put together in under an hour, and even though I did get in there with my teeth at one point (to remove a bit of plastic nubbin when assembling the optional Lightkey component, which adds extra function keys to the console), I never once felt overwhelmed or defeated. The time-lapse below chronicles my enter assembly process, start to finish.

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What you get when you’re done is a fully functional portable gaming device, which runs Clockwork OS, a Linux-based open-source OS developed by the company. It includes Cave Storyone of the most celebrated indie games of the past couple of decades, and a number of built-in emulators (use of emulators is ethically and legally questionable, but it does provide an easy way to play some of those NES and SNES games you already own with more portability).

There’s a very active community around the GameShell that includes a number of indie games to play on the console, and tips and tricks for modifications and optimal use. It’s also designed to be a STEM educational resource, providing a great way for kids to see what’s actually happening behind the faceplate of the electronics they use everyday, and even getting started coding themselves to build software to run on the console. Loading software is easy, thanks to an included microSD storage card and the ability to easily connect via WiFi to move over software from Windows and Mac computers.

Everything about the GameShell is programable, and it features micro HDMI out, a built-in music player and Bluetooth support for headphone connection. It’s at once instantly accessible for people with very limited tech chops, and infinitely expandable and hackable for those who do want to go deeper and dig around with what else it has to offer.

Swappable face and backplates, plus open 3D models of each hardware component, mean that community-developed hardware add-ons and modifications are totally possible, too. The modular nature of the device means it can probably get even more powerful in future too, with higher capacity battery modules and improved development boards.

I’ve definitely seen and used devices like the GameShell before, but few manage to be as accessible, powerful and customizable all at once. The GameShell is also fast, has great sound and an excellent display, and it seems to be very durable with decent battery life of around three hours or slightly ore of continuous use depending on things like whether you’re using WiFi and screen brightness.

Samsung’s Note 10 game streaming arrives in early September

GalaxyPlay Link got fleetingly little stage time at last week’s Unpacked event. It’s true that Samsung had a lot of information to jam into the hour-long press conference, but the offering was glazed over during a brief segment on mobile gaming — a surprising choice given how big of an industry the category has become.

We got a little more information from the company by way of a quick “hands-on” video served through Samsung’s Korean video channel, but that’s about all we’ve heard. Here’s what we know to date: GamePlay Live is a streaming service that makes it possible to stream PC games to the Note 10.

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We can now add that the service will be available as a downloadable app (for Android and Windows 10) at some point during the first two weeks of September. The service is free and leverages technology created by Parsec, a New York-based cloud gaming startup that we covered way back in late 2017. The company’s technology is being used in the PlayGalaxy app, allowing users to stream titles from a Windows PC with limited latency.

“It’s humbling and exciting to us to be the chosen partner to provide the low latency streaming technology that powers the PlayGalaxy Link application,” Parsec’s CEO and co-founder Benjy Boxer says in a release. “This further demonstrates that our market leading technology can form the core of any game streaming product. Providing our ultra low latency high frame rate streaming software and our proprietary networking to other companies furthers our mission to democratize access to games.”

Parsec Artwork

The offering arrives as some of tech’s most prominent names are taking more active — although often distinct — interests in mobile gaming. Apple will be launching its arcade mobile gaming subscription service, while Google is offering full-on remote game streaming through Stadia. Microsoft, which recently announced a major partnership with Samsung, will provide similar console-to-mobile streaming with the Xbox.

Parsec, meanwhile, will be offering developer tools through a newly released SDK.

SNES controller for Switch shows up in FCC filing, hinting at SNES games for Nintendo Online

Nintendo looks set to release wireless SNES controllers for the Nintendo Switch, which likely means it’ll also be bringing classic SNES titles to its Nintendo Online virtual gaming library. The news comes via an FCC filing (hat tip to Eurogamer) , which includes a diagram of what looks very clearly to be the backside of a Super Nintendo-style wireless controller.

The diagram includes a model number that uses the ‘HAC’ code that Nintendo employs to designate Switch accessories, and past history suggests that the arrival of retro-inspired hardware for the Switch also means throwback games are on their way. Nintendo launched wireless NES controllers for the Nintendo Switch in September, and they arrived alongside NES games delivered via Nintendo Online as free perks for subscribers.

The FCC filing is more or less concrete proof that Nintendo intends to release something, but the rest is speculation (if very likely, informed speculation) at this point. Still, it seems inevitable that Nintendo bring its SNES library to the Switch, especially since it did so for the Wii Virtual Console before.

These ‘Sid Meier’s Civilization’ games are on sale for under $25 each

Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission.

Image: Aspyr

If you’ve ever toyed with the idea of playing God and creating your own world, you’ll be pleased to know there’s a way to do so with no real-world consequences: Sid Meier’s Civilization games. Basically the grandfather of turn-based strategy gaming, this gaming series has been around since the early ’90s and continues to evolve with the times.

In Sid’s world, you’ll be challenged with building an empire that stands the test of time. And right now, you can get some of the newest releases on sale for up to 79% off. So, if you want to try your hand as an almighty creator, the time is now.

This package combines five separate editions of the beloved series, starting at the third offering and leading you up to the fifth. You’ll get access to Sid Meier’s Civilization® III Complete, Sid Meier’s Civilization IV: The Complete Edition, Sid Meier’s Civilization V, Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth, and Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth – Rising Tide.

Originally $59.99, you can pick up this entire bundle for just $12.50 and start ruling the world.

The Gold Edition is the perfect entry point for gamers who’ve never dabbled in turn-based strategy gaming. You’ll get plenty for your money with all the add-ons that improve upon the game, like six DLC packs and the Rise and Fall expansion. From military domination to scientific achievement, there are multiple ways to win, but all require clever planning on your part.

Get the Civilization VI: Gold Edition for $24.99 now — 75% off the original price of $99.99.

The Gathering Storm DLC is the latest release in the Civilization series. It adds eight new civilizations and nine new leaders, as well as new world wonders, districts, buildings, and other improvements. Plus, as the name suggests, natural disasters and environmental hazards like floods, hurricanes, droughts, and climate change can wreak havoc on your world, amongst other new surprises.

Usually this second expansion costs $29.99, but you can get it for $19.99.

PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch Lite, Dell XPS, and more deals for Aug. 3

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