Sailor Moon

Handheld Console



(personal project)


Release date



London, UK

What I did


One thing that I do like, is to understand the work and the way of working of the people I collaborate with. For me, talking the same language is the key that unlocks clearer communication and helps managing expectations. When I've started managing and working on a few projects with some Creative Technologists, I wanted to fill a few gaps in my knowledge and improve the relationship.

During 6 months, in my spare time, I've set myself a project, a challenge: building a portable console which I will gift to my girlfriend for her birthday. The idea was to do everything, from the concept to the packaging, through 3D printing, electronics, and coding. When she was a kid, she used to play Sailor Moon on the Super Nintendo (a beat 'em up from 1993). The brief for my project became obvious and I thought "what about a console that will look like Luna (a cat, one of the characters from that famous manga) running only that SNES game?".

Inspired by the PiGRRL Zero project, I've modeled a 3D version using the same basic structure to which I brought some modifications: I wanted a bigger screen and to add a 3.5mm audio output. After several 3D printed prototypes with basic equipment and some adjustments to the model, it was ready to be printed by professionals, using PLA filament. Followed by a classic few passes of sanding, priming, painting, and coating.

The electronic part was rather straightforward but I was facing a challenge to add audio output to the Raspberry Pi Zero. What I've ended up doing was to split the USB port and convert one of the outputs to a 3.5mm audio jack. So I bought a tiny USB splitter on Amazon as well as a USB external audio adapter. After breaking the components apart to re-assemble them into the console, I had sound by connecting a normal pair of earphones.

I then spent an incredible amount of time configuring and optimizing the video display between the drivers, the OS, and RetroPie to reach a playable state I was happy with. I've also tweaked Linux to boot in under a minute, keeping everything as light as possible.

I remember as a kid being mesmerized by the game and console packaging and I wanted to get that vibe with mine. I've missed my deadline by 2 weeks in the end, but I was incredibly happy to gift it to my girlfriend (she loved it!) and I've learned so much. And this, was the final step of my (very) personal project.


Technical Specifications

  • Raspberry Pi Zero
  • Linux 4.14.30 and custom RetroPie
  • <60 seconds booting time
  • 2.8" TFT 320×240 resolution
  • Video driver based on fbcp-ili9341
  • Rechargeable LiPo 2200mAh battery (~2 hours gameplay time)
  • 8 buttons
  • 3.5mm headphone output
  • No internal speakers
  • micro SD card slot
  • micro USB charging

In numbers


Months, from start to finish








Lines of code


Ideas on how to improve it

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