Retro Gaming the DIY way with RetroPie

With Today’s release of the SNES Classic, retro gaming is once again in the spotlight. In typical Nintendo fashion availability is limited to the point that people are camping out in order to secure one on launch day. I too enjoy classic gaming, but have no desire to wade through crowds or camp out. For those of us more sane people I present to you the RetroPie. What exactly is a RetroPie you might ask? The short answer is that it a multi-platform emulator built using the Raspberry Pi device. What is a Raspberry Pi you may wonder? Simply put it is a low cost computing platform that was aimed at college students. It’s goal was to provide a low cost platform for students to learn how to program. 

The great thing about the Raspberry Pi is that it is a flexible platform. Not only can you make a game emulator but you can do so much more. The amount of projects you can undertake is almost endless. I will provide a few more links here is one, another can be found here, and lastly here. This appeals to me greatly I have already built a media center box that works just as well if not better than any commercial device like a Roku. I plan to try some of the other projects as well and will share my results here on The Wasteland. So lets say you get sick of gaming, well with the SNES classic that is a one trick pony. The Raspberry Pi is way more flexible as you can see. Possibilities are almost endless, if you can imagine it, you can probably do it. 

So now that I have your attention you may ask how do I build one for myself? Do I need to be an electrical engineer or computer programmer to do this? No you do not, with a few basic tools and reading skills almost anyone can accomplish this project. First you will need to the the parts, luckily you can find kits with everything you need at most retailers including Amazon. For someone like me I would suggest getting a basic kit which comes with the board, power supply and case. If you want a one stop shop they do sell  complete kits that come with all the parts you will need. I personally caution against this, and suggest you find your own controllers at minimum. We all know that a quality controller can make or break your gaming experience. Read reviews first then select the one that fits you best.  You will be happy to know that you can even get NES and SNES cases to give your project that authentic feel. I bet the casual fan would never know the difference between this and the commercial units shipped by Nintendo. 

Now that you have all the parts it is time to get building, I will link the official setup guide here. It is a fairly simple setup though you will need to make sure you have a computer with an SD card reader as well as Win32 Disk Imager. This is needed to write the image to the SD card. Some may come with this but if not you can get it there. If you have any questions that the guide or the video I will link below can not answer feel free to leave me a comment. If you like you can even send me an email as well. I am always happy to help someone with their projects. The more we share the more we learn and that is always a good thing. That is all for now, lets get to building our RetroPie and enjoy those classic games we grew up with. For the younger crowds come experience gaming of the past, I think you will find many of these games quite rewarding. 

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Rick

Thirty-something IT Professional

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