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Build a Retro-Gaming Machine

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Keep us posted - especially when that Raspberry Pi is humming w/ games and if there are any issues. Curious if you're gonna try for any classic 'Arcade games' (X-Men, Turtles, Simpsons...)


If 'Stillbored' is reading this - are there any issues playing MAME / Arcade ROMs - like there are issues running N64 stuff?


The extent of my ROM knowledge and desire for Raspberry functionality would be NES / SNES / SEGA / GBA and 80s, 90s Arcade beat 'em ups...I can do without the PSX and N64 stuff. That stuff seems complicated - and just a bit much.

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I loaded it up with NES games. I have only put 25 SNES games on it since Lissette is worried that Nicholas will be overwhelmed. I put hundreds of NES games on it before she said something.


A big thanks to NZA for giving me his large collection.


The retropie has folders for the following (I didn't even know there were that many systems!):































After putting together the first machine, I think I could put it together in about 45 minutes, maybe less since I have all the software now. I am still up for putting a machine together for you, Little Nemo.

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oh wow, that's a fantastic selection - and you go right up to the 32-bit gen too, aka the first go at 3D. there's no sega saturn but that was notoriously hard to emulate for years, and most folks are gonna be happy with PS1.


FDS = famicom disk system, which was a really neat add-on for japan's NES. you've already got those in the NES folder so take a look, some of them you'll recognize but depending on the emulator, you'll potentially have better sound (and in say, Metroid's case, much-needed game saves). I can get you N64, Neo Geo, Atari, PC Engine (turbografx 16) and a few others on there too if you're down, i tend to keep complete/tested libraries where i can. just say the word!

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  • 2 months later...

Lurker chiming in here for some other options for people that aren't technically inclined...


Totally sideways, but was able to create a retro gaming box with the Mi Box (4k android box), which also doubles as a media streamer.


If you have installed anything through the google store, it's totally easy to load these onto the internal memory or play off a usb stick. One emulator program did everything for genesis, snes and nes. Xbox 360 wired controllers work out of the box.


It was actually more complicated to get kodi-addons installed than the emulators! eek! (but they have plenty of youtube to help out)


So total is 85. 70 for the Mi Box and 15 for a used controller (and all the free movies and tv you can imagine)

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As a side note, I would be wary of the ever so slightly less than honest Kodi addons. Kodi wasn't necessarily designed to be a streamers paradise, and certain groups are paying a lot of attention to those addons. That coupled with the fact that nearly anyone could write an addon...I don't know, my tinfoil hat is pinging on this one.

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  • 7 months later...

So - HUGE thanx to Vagrant and NZA - I've been loving my Raspberry Pi, got everything I wanted on there and has absolutely been enjoyed.




What I didn't expect was the 'over-heating' issue.  It gets hot!  Like, just playing NES for 45 minutes - a lil 'thermometer icon' pops up in the upper right hand corner of the screen...and the device, physically... gets freakin' hot!


In my research, 'over-heating' is a controversial issue w/ the Raspberry Pi.  Conclusions range from: Not an issue - just adjust OS settings to lower the 'thinking power'...to - it being an utter design flaw.  It overheats even w/ "top notch" 'heat sinks' installed - and all kinds of twerks applied to the OS.  A fan is absolutely required.


My Raspberry Pi was contained in a simple plastic case w/ no heat sinks.  Not knowing what to do - I just let things be, but it would always still inevitably 'overheat'.  I eventually resorted to placing a little portable fan I got - n' aimed it at the Raspberry Pi when I played, which...totally 'fixed' the 'overheating' issue.




LOL - it just looked horribly unsexy: I gotta bust out the extension cord...n' set up a fan aimed at a tiny lil thingie on the floor - no bigger than a wallet...




Last week, I finally said, 'fuck it' - I ordered a Raspberry Pi case w/ a fan...just 2 freakin' bucks!  It got here this weekend.







It's an acrylic case.  I just removed the Raspberry Pi (a circuit board w/ ports) from the ol' plastic shell (on the left) and placed it in the new case (right).  Still can't believe how freakin' tiny the whole damn thing is!


Not as sexy / all-contained...w/ sum bits being exposed - which, I guess is for proper ventilation - but, a pretty simple / solid fix and totally super-cheap - and it does feel pretty damn sound.  To be extra sure - I stuck 2 heat sinks in there.


Immediately played for 7 hours straight:  'Overheating' is officially a thing of the past and the fan is damn-near noiseless.  Barely a hum.  Spent the entire weekend pushing, sorting and customizing Retropie...including the massive ROM library, NZA donated.


"ENOUGH - w/ the sports games!"





My weapon of choice when playing 'Homebrew' on Wii has always been the Classic Controller Pro...



I've been looking into seeing if there are ways to con-jigger one to work w/ a Raspberry Pi - (that Wii controller isn't USB - it's gotta be connected to a Wiimote to work) - I found this:




^ 12 bucks.  I've seen plenty of reviews - it takes all those unique Wii controllers that hafta be connected to a Wiimote - and makes 'em USB-able.


I've seen 'em test this w/ NES n' SNES Classic controllers (that come w/ the Mini / Classic consoles) - totally works.  Yeah, there are already NES and SNES-like controllers that are already USB outta-the-box - but, I ain't ever seen a USB outta-the-box version of a Wii Classic Controller Pro.  Already having an NES Classic Controller - bonus investment, when I wanna switch it up.


I got a few generic USB controllers - but, that Classic Controller Pro is super-light weight, responsive - great button placement - gotz dem handgrips...my fav controller for 'retro gaming' n' precision platforming.




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It was great to see you when you came down. I'm glad you are enjoying the machine. I haven't played it for more than half an hour straight. Maybe I will have the time this summer when Nicholas is at summer camp.

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Thanks, man!  I'll be back down there soon - we all gotta meet up again.  Padme was like, 'Are you guys gonna see Jared again?'  You guys were among the few 'cool adults' she's met.  Totally left an impression.  Thumbs up.


Dude - I say look into investing in a case w/ a fan before summer, then.  As soon as you start to get your comfty on and sit w/ sum simple SNES goodness - that 'overheating' thingie will pop up...and - without a 'fix' on-hand - you WILL be like:




LOL - curious if any other Raspberry Pi owners experience overheating issues.  Maybe my settings were bad?  Are heat sinks and a fan standard bits in building one for gaming?


All the building vids I've seen - have all been like, "Well, if you want one...sure - get one (case w/ fan)."  The hardest I'm pushing it - is 80s / 90s Arcade stuff.  Not doing any N64 or PSX stuffs...but, even on NES - that fucker got hot!


Raspberry Pi has a built-in Wifi-thingie.  I connected it to the net and did sum system updates a couple of days ago.  Lotta new features n' fixes.  It also lets you download n' install sum pretty sweet menu themes.  Browsing through your games libraries can be the shit.  Really got to know the lil machine this past week.










It can get hardcore - have lil thumbnail video previews playing for each game...it really can get elaborate.



I just stuck w/ that first theme up there...(I dig seeing the console and cartridges as I scroll through systems) but, it's sick the kinda ways you can personalize the menus / browsing experience.  Sum are a bit too complex for my brain to rig...basic computer lingo is totally foreign to me - but sum insane options.  Maybe in time.


"Fascinating device, this...video unit."


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I bought a new case with a cooling fan based on your recommendation. I spent a little more and bought a neon blue case.


I hope you come down again and we can meet up. You have an infectious energy about you that I really enjoy. It is similar to how you are on the forum. Your posts always make me smile.

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11 hours ago, Little Nemo McFly said:

- curious if any other Raspberry Pi owners experience overheating issues. 

Hmm...I've never had an issue with overheating, regardless of the project. I wish there were some kind of logs I could look at to see if something was wrong.


Forgive me if you've said it elsewhere, but what model Pi are you using? I've worked with just about every model and I've yet to have heating issues.


Your setup sounds pretty solid, and I commend you. I had to set up six systems just like that I couple years back, and it is not a super easy task. I also got to play with some of the bells and whistles and was able to get the little video previews of each game working and it's so freaking cool, if not space intensive.


Good jorb!

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Raspberry Pi...3?  I guess I fell into the category of 'gotta twerk dem settings'.  I'm afraid to mess w/ whatever in the hell makes the thing think.  The recommendations online re: things to play w/ in the 'code' or 'OS settings' that could be causing the 'overthinking' are overwhelming and scary.  "Hey! (shrugs) 'try this!' (not responsible if it bricks)".  I've had extended play sessions since fan-installation - I'm good.


But knowing now, my situation isn't 'standard' - and there's a 'switch' somewhere I could maybe toggle...



...gonna look into that sum more...


Yeah - I'm tempted as hell to set up all them video previews n' games details for all my games.  I don't have 'entire' console libraries in there - my Retropie just has the games that interest me and that I actually play.


I got 'entire' libraries archived, but - yes - 'scrapping' and customizing that look for all the individual games does hog up memory - quickly.  I'm interested in doing that one day, tho - but, I'd need a guide.  Like, literally - a human being to sit w/ me...but first, ideally - to check out my Raspberry rig.


During my theater gig - I got in good w/ our sound guy.  He does horror and gaming events - and on the side, he fixes / restores arcade cabinets.  We've talked collecting and emulators - gonna meet up w/ him next month at a retro gaming event over here.  He's got bits n' bops he takes on tour.


Dude collects and travels the country displaying rare games at events - also, a pinball fanatic.  Lotta...interesting people I met during that whole experience.  I'll take n' post pics fer sher - but, I intend now on seeing if he can give my Raspberry Pi a once over.  We'll see.


9 hours ago, The Vagrant said:

You have an infectious energy about you that I really enjoy. It is similar to how you are on the forum.



9 hours ago, The Vagrant said:

 I spent a little more and bought a neon blue case.




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On 5/24/2018 at 5:54 AM, Little Nemo McFly said:

Raspberry Pi...3?  I guess I fell into the category of 'gotta twerk dem settings'.  I'm afraid to mess w/ whatever in the hell makes the thing think.  The recommendations online re: things to play w/ in the 'code' or 'OS settings' that could be causing the 'overthinking' are overwhelming and scary.  "Hey! (shrugs) 'try this!' (not responsible if it bricks)".  I've had extended play sessions since fan-installation - I'm good.


Yeah, that's likely one of the settings not being set properly and it's giving 100% at all times. If you've found a solution that works for you, rock on, that's awesome.


If you ever want to learn how to tinker with linux or systems like that, the setup you've got is PERFECT for it. You don't really have to worry about bricking the thing, as everything is essentially self-contained on the SD card. I've got four or five SD cards sitting around that each have a different project on them, and I can swap them out and it's a essentially a completely different machine.


Check it out sometime, there are some pretty cool things you can do with it.

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Cool - yeah, no clue 'bout no Linux - I'm so computer illiterate, it's embarrassing.  Think Vagrant told me Linux is an OS?  I don't remember - I couldn't describe what Linux is if someone paid me.  Learning to work 'code' has never stuck.


I've followed sum tutorials throughout the years to do sum 'soft mods' on stuff (simple folder transferring) - and it always turns out to be a week-long process for something I know should take minutes...and I immediately forget what in the hell I did - LOL.  My brain just hates and has difficulty w/ the process - and seems to immediately purge the knowledge once things are 'conjiggered'.


Just ain't a computer guy...I hate that, but that's the kinda brain I was blessed with.  Sum stuff is just easier for sum than others.  I've always had difficulty and frustration.



Good to know if the thing does brick - the brain is in the SD Card...(I'm guessing all the ROMs are stored in there, too)  I'll do sum research specifically about turning down the settings to not be at 100% at all times.


I've considered that possibility as the cause for my overheating, and I've seen sum suggestions for 'fixes' - but - the internet concerning cpu shit: everyone has a thousand methods...and they all speak in a language I don't understand.  A lot of it is working lines of code - and just...LOL - "I'm not touching that shit."  I just don't know what in the hell I'm doing to experiment.  But, feels my issue is narrowed down - thank you, sir.



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