It’s no secret that the Raspberry Pi is an optimal platform for retro gaming. We’ve seen plenty of arcade cabinets, consoles, and various emulation platforms. Still, if you’re looking for a different sort of retro game to play on the Pi, this LED dartboard (opens in new tab) created by Phil Harlow might be what you’re looking for.
Harlow is no stranger to tinkering with microelectronics; he has many projects under his belt, most available on his YouTube channel (opens in new tab) and website (opens in new tab). He uses whatever hardware tickles his fancy, and what he doesn’t have, he 3D prints at home. According to Harlow, this project is a demo of his latest creation, which is still under development and in need of fine-tuning.
So far, we’re looking at a fully interactive dartboard, entirely powered by a Raspberry Pi. When a dart hits one of the sections on the board, it illuminates while logging the point for whichever player’s turn is active. In addition to the dartboard itself, Harlow developed a touchscreen web-based GUI that runs in tandem on a tablet. This GUI provides game options and manages the point system for the different game modes.
Harlow explains in the project thread that he used a store-bought dartboard as a base for the project. It already had an LED matrix built-in, which was easy to control using an Arduino, and an input matrix that Harlow uses a second Arduino to operate. This second Arduino is connected to a Raspberry Pi via serial over USB, sending commands to a custom NodeJS server.
The board features a design that uses an 11 x 8 input matrix. The Arduino determines which target has been hit and relays the corresponding matrix information to the Pi. The Pi decides what to do with the input, how much the point is worth, and to whom the point applies. In addition to managing the gameplay functionality, the Pi also operates the web interface.
To see this Raspberry Pi project in action, check out the original thread shared on Reddit (opens in new tab). In addition, there are plans to add new gameplay options and additional scoring modes, so be sure to follow Phil Harlow for more updates and any future projects.