Ever dreamt of being able to make your own video games console? You may be surprised by how easily and cheaply you can do it – the main ingredient being a Raspberry Pi. This credit-card sized computer costs less than thirty quid and has been snatched up by eager retrogamers worldwide and transformed into a customizable all-in-one retro games console. With a few software downloads and extra hardware already sitting around in your house you can make your own console in under ten minutes. Here’s how…
What you’ll need
First, you’ll need to buy yourself a Raspberry Pi. You can use sites like The Pi Hut for this. Next, you’ll need a monitor or a TV screen, plus a USB keyboard. You may also wish to buy a few USB controllers (unless you’re happy playing on a computer keyboard). On top of this, you’ll also need a computer for transferring files, and a 4GB Micro SD card.
Download emulation software
Plug your SD card into your computer. Download emulators for the games you want to play and transfer them to the card.
By far the easiest way of doing this is by downloading RetroPie, in which most of the programming is done for you. There is other emulation software available, but this is by far the most reliable. Downloading Retropie can take ages due to how busy the servers can get, so leave yourself some time.
You will need to also download Win32 Disk Imager to transfer the files to your SD Card. Mac computers may require a different kind of software to do this. Also remember to unzip any files first – this may require extra software if you don’t already have zip converting program installed on your PC.
Download the games you want
Insert the card in your Raspberry Pi and connect the Pi up to a screen. You’re now ready to boot up your makeshift console.
A rainbow screen should come up followed by the Emulation Station boot screen. You’ll notice it’s pretty empty at the moment – where are the games? This is the stage where you have to get hold of some gaming ROMs.
These, unfortunately, can’t be transferred via an SD Card. Instead, you’ll have to hook your Raspberry Pi up to your router with an Ethernet cable. From here, you can start downloading the games you want. These can be from any console leading up to the Playstation 1. This includes Sega games, N64 games and Gameboy games.
Set the controls
From here you can start to set the controls for gaming. If you want to do this off your computer keyboard, simply plug in the keyboard and choose the keys you want to use as part of the setup process. For controllers you can use any type from an Xbox controller to a Playstation controller, providing they are wired and slot into a USB port. From here you’re pretty much done and can start playing until your heart’s content!