VGA output is a great way to add some interactivity and colour to your projects, and with the Pico having 2 cores it’s a great candidate for VGA systems. This PicoVGA Card is based on the original PicoVGA project/library by Miroslav Nemecek but adds a bunch of handy connectors including a joystick port, a 3.5mm audio output jack, and a USB-A connector to power the board.
This platform is perfect for developing retro-style video games! The PicoVGA library includes built-in support for sprites, almost 30 different frame buffer formats including 8/4/2/1-bit graphics, text modes, tiles, and more. It does all this while leaving one of the two Pico cores free for the user program, meaning your game can run at full speed on a single core without having to give up any processing time to the VGA library. Simply write to the display buffer and the PicoVGA library takes care of the rest.
With the special text modes, this could also be easily made into a pocket serial terminal, which is something I’m interested in trying. There aren’t many ways to get a portable, easy to use serial terminal for so little investment, and with the number of retro computers and other serial projects surrounding me, having a Pico-based serial terminal would be awesome!
Additionally, designer Land Boards has also broken out all the pins of the Pico, which is a nice touch that I wish every single attachment board would do. This makes it much easier to build into a project without having to solder a bunch of wires directly to the Pico or the underside of the board. It also has 4 mounting holes to make integration into a project box easy. Check it out and bring that 8-bit vibe to your next project!