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RetroPie - Raspberry Pi Emulation


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5 replies to this topic

#1 RickR

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Posted 12 June 2018 - 06:33 PM

I wanted to share my experience here in creating a RetroPie machine.

 

What is it?

It's an emulation station created using a Raspberry Pi and an image called "RetroPie".  It emulates a ton of different systems.  I'm mostly interested in 2600, Vectrex, Lynx, MAME, NES, SNES, Genesis, and N64.  

 

It was really the SNES Classic that got me really interested in trying this.  I play that one a lot, and it works well.  It's small enough to take to friends' houses or parties.  And it just plain works.  I figured a system that could do even more systems would be even better. 

 

I've tried this before.  A few years ago, I used a Rasp Pi version 1 and an old iCade to make a small "arcade" machine.  It worked pretty well, but was pretty limited.  That version of Raspberry Pi maxed out at the NES level.  SNES games were very choppy.  Older arcade games were fine, but anything beyond 1983 or so was choppy.  

 

I also ended up never getting that little arcade machine out.  It was too cumbersome.  So I decided to just create a new machine with just the Pi itself connected to our family room TV using DVI cable.  The newest version of Pi has BlueTooth built in, meaning you can use a wireless PS3, PS4, etc controller with it.

 

So here's what I bought:

  • A Raspberry Pi 3 Model B from Target (yes, they sell them at Target!)  Price was $33.25 if you use their Red Card.
  • A 32 GB micro SD card ($20 from Office Depot).
  • I also bought a cheapo case on eBay, but it has not arrived yet.

Rasp Pi 001.JPG

 

Setup was very simple.  You have to have a keyboard for initial setup.  But it's not needed after that.  I'm also using a wired generic PC gamepad for now.  It works nicely.

 

Rasp Pi 005.JPG

 

So far, the games I've tried all work fine.  2600 games, for example, are emulated using "Stella".  That works great.  NES and SNES are both perfect.  I have a lot more to try and play with.

 

The UI is pretty nice.  Not as nice as the SNES Classic.  But nice enough. I really like how the UI is consistent for all emulation.  The same hot-keys to save or exit work for all the different emulators.  

 

Suggestions:

  • There's a newer model (3 Model B+) available that offers even better performance.  But it isn't available at Target yet.  If may be worth tracking that one down on-line.
  • Some people go wild with some wild designs on these.  Full-sized arcade machines, mini bar machines, etc, etc.  I think those are really cool, but I don't have the time, space, or patience to do that yet.  
  • It's a lot easier than I thought it would be to get this up and working.  Lots of help available on-line.

Edited by RickR, 12 June 2018 - 06:35 PM.

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#2 greenween

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Posted 12 June 2018 - 08:03 PM

Very cool Rick!! I've been thinking about this for quite a while. Might be time to finally give it a shot.


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#3 RickR

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Posted 13 June 2018 - 11:02 PM

Well, N64 emulation isn't quite there on this.  I don't think there's enough computing horsepower.  So that's a no-go

 

On the bright side, everything else I've tried works great.  MAME, Genesis, 2600, 7800, Lynx, NES, SNES, GameGear, Gameboy Color.....all perfect. 


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#4 Keatah

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Posted 18 June 2018 - 03:28 AM

Thing is most folks don't realize right away is that as time goes on it isn't hard or costly to update to the next model Pi for better performance. And that performance will certainly be needed as emulation accuracy continues to improve.

 

Man I tell ya, if they had this stuff back in the 80's..!


Edited by Keatah, 18 June 2018 - 03:30 AM.

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#5 RickR

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Posted 26 June 2018 - 10:52 AM

I finally got a cheapo case (from a Chinese eBay seller).  It's pretty nice.  A perfect fit. 

 

I also took the time to install and run a "scraper", which adds a picture/video/info about each game on the menu.

 

Next up is to clean up the ROM's I've got on here, as many of them do not work.  Especially MAME.  I'm guessing there are fully-vetted ROM collections for RetroPi out there, but I haven't really looked.

 

All in all, it's an awesome setup.  HDMI output on a device that's the size of a deck of cards.  Thousands of games.  Very worthwhile IMO.

 

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • rasp pi 001.JPG
  • rasp pi 002.JPG
  • rasp pi 003.JPG
  • rasp pi 004.JPG

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#6 Starbuck66

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Posted 07 July 2018 - 04:02 PM

Built one of these for a buddy for Christmas and he loves it! It will play everything up to about Playstation level, but I only loaded it up with 16 bit systems and lower, plus a bunch of MAME games that I verified worked properly.

 

Thinking about getting one for myself at some point, but I really want it for the MAME games, and I've been wanting to build a full fledged MAME arcade cabinet at some point, so I'm holding off for now.


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