Having some new Raspberry Pi 3’s laying around in the house the idea sparked to invest some time in seeing how the state of affairs are in the retro gaming world. I vividly remember growing up in the age of Nintendo & Sega (I had a Game Gear once and it was glorious!) and the appeal of running almost all titles from your childhood on a single board computer as simple and inexpensive as a RPi3 is appealing to say the least.
Some folks over at RetroPie must have had the same idea and have put together a special distribution for a RPi (1/2/3), combining and building upon Raspbian, EmulationStation, RetroArch and many other projects. So what else is needed besides a RPi? Well, it turned out it wouldn’t work without a gamepad. No keyboard control here. Having once owned an original Xbox the search for those original controllers commenced and fortunately one Xbox controller turned up.
What makes original Xbox controllers so suitable for this was Microsoft’s rush back then in getting a console on the market fast and the fact that the Xbox was essentially a nicely packaged computer, it’s controllers USB gamepads with proprietary connectors. What other options does one have then to heat up that soldering iron and add a normal USB plug… Which turned out to work perfectly with RetroPie.
So thats software and controllers covered, now it needs to come together and also look a bit more polished so it can actually reside in my living room. Fortunately thanks to my employer I have access to a 3D printer and Thingiverse, as always, has a very nice 3D printable model of in this case a BabyNES Raspberry Pi case. Some hours of printing later the case was finished in two colors and after some finishing it fitted together nicely.
So there you have it, retro gaming up for grabs for anyone willing to spend a hour or two getting it all up and running. Can’t wait to play some Mario Kart with friends again or evolve some Charmanders into Charmeleons. Maybe I should invest in some 8bitdo controllers.