User manual


The standard Gigatron controller is a Famicom-like game controller. The left side is for selecting a direction. [A] and [B] are on the right hand side as shown in the picture. Both have an “Auto repeat” button next to them.

The [Start] button is the soft reset button. Holding it down for 2 seconds stops the current application and returns to the menu. The [Select] button switches retro scan line mode ON and OFF (default is ON). Applications run faster with retro scan line modes enabled, and some work only well in that mode.


After power up the menu appears and the four “blinkenlight” LEDs start running in a pattern. Use the [Up] and [Down] buttons to navigate the menu, and [A] to start the desired application.

The top line displays the amount of detected memory. The kit comes with 32K. If there is no RAM inserted, the menu will not appear and the four LEDs will all be off.


The snake runs across the screen and can’t stop. Use the arrows for changing its direction. The green blocks are food and must be eaten. Each time the snake grows a bit longer. Bright blocks are poisonous and must be avoided. Don’t hit the walls, and don’t bite your own tail.

The countdown timer is used for score keeping. If you eat food before the counter reaches zero, the remaining seconds will be added to the game score, and five seconds added to the timer (with a maximum of 15). If the counter reaches zero, the next food doesn’t give any points, but it will still increase the timer.

The game starts automatically. If the player doesn’t change direction before reaching the first wall, the Gigatron plays a game by itself.


You control Walter’s car. Steer with the [Left] and [Right] buttons. Accelerate with [A] and break with [B]. The road is very slippery, so be careful to stay on track. The objective is to complete laps as fast as possible without hitting the curbs.


This application draws many views of the Mandelbrot fractal, an intriguing and endlessly complex figure that emerges from a simple mathematical formula: z2 + c.

The clock in the center counts hours and minutes. It is a 24-hour clock. You can set it by pressing [A] and holding it down. The color changes to yellow and then you can use the arrows to set the time. Use [Left] and [Right] to change hours, and [Up] and [Down] to change minutes. Shortly after releasing the [A] button, the color changes back to white. The colon stops flashing once the clock is set.


This converts the Gigatron into a picture frame. ROM v1 comes with three classic colorful high-resolution images built in. Every 15 seconds the next image is shown. Hold down a button if you want to look at the current image for a bit longer.


Many thanks to those who have helped, directly or indirectly, in making the Gigatron to what it is today. Your enthusiasm, support, ideas and other contributions are invaluable!


The loader listens to data packets on the controller port and stores them in memory. You can hook up an external device to the controller port and send commands or complete new programs into the Gigatron this way and run them. We prefer to use an Arduino for this because those are flexible and very cheap. This is also how a keyboard can, indirectly, be hooked up to the system: you will then still use a tiny external micro-controller to translate its signals. Detailed instructions are soon to follow in the Tutorials section.