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RickR

RetroPie - Raspberry Pi Emulation

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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.

post-41-0-74308200-1528842329_thumb.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.

 

post-41-0-77890300-1528842342_thumb.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

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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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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

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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.

 

 

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post-41-0-40775000-1530024742_thumb.jpg

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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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On 6/12/2018 at 3:33 PM, RickR said:

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.

post-41-0-74308200-1528842329_thumb.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.

 

post-41-0-77890300-1528842342_thumb.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.

Rick I need some help getting my turbo twist to be recognized.  Im having trouble getting my "mouse" function to work, so Ive got no control with the turbo twist.  I would love some help with this. let me know.

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i am happy to try and help.  I don't have any kind of twisty knob controller to test with, though.  There is a Facebook group for retropi, and you may have good luck asking for help from those experts.  Look for groups named "Retropie Makers" and "RetroPie".  

This is fixable.  I just wish I had a similar controller so I could start experimenting and testing.

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3 hours ago, Justin said:

Does anyone have a similar controller they could loan Rick? 

 

3 hours ago, RickR said:

i am happy to try and help.  I don't have any kind of twisty knob controller to test with, though.  There is a Facebook group for retropi, and you may have good luck asking for help from those experts.  Look for groups named "Retropie Makers" and "RetroPie".  

This is fixable.  I just wish I had a similar controller so I could start experimenting and testing.

Its the mouse input.  Basically The turbo twist is a mouse input.  One knob is the X axis and the other is the Y.  Its registered as a mouse.  If I can get Retro Arch, Mame and Atari 2600 to recognize a mouse Im in business.  I'd ship it out if anyone can help.  How ever I can't ship the Turbo twist - just note it's only a mouse.

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Have you tried a real mouse?  Attach a mouse and see if that works. If yes, it indicates a broken set of twisters  

I'm pretty sure the controller config for retropie allows you to set up a mouse as the x and y axis (instead of a joystick)  

I've seen people set up a Tron machine, which has both a joystick AND a spinner.  So I highly encourage you put your issue on the Facebook group.  It is fixable, and I don't think you need to edit any text files unless you want both a joystick and spinners.  

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On 12/4/2018 at 11:45 PM, btbfilms76 said:

Trying to rack my brain on what I could possibly need. The one thing that come to mind is my pong cabinet is not perfect, and I’d like to fix that.  The micro computer I was using as the MAME  interface was not stable - not good for guests to navigate around. I switched over to a retro pie and I can’t get the dang thing to recognize my spinners. Im at a loss and would love some help trying to get the perfect set up dialed in. 

See if there is anything here that might be of some assistance.

https://retropie.org.uk/docs/Spinners,-Trackballs,-Lightguns,-and-other-Mouse-Devices/

Whoops!  Forgot to add that the spinner section is close to the bottom of the page.

Edited by kamakazi20012
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