There are many things we can build ourselves (DIY) with a Raspberry Pi, such as becoming a personal computer, a weather station, a game station, a media center, a music box and so on. Today, we want to make our own game station or we can call it a game console.
In this tutorial, we will install RetroPie to make our Raspberry Pi into a game console. Below is some explanation about RetroPie.
What is RetroPie?
RetroPie allows you to turn your Raspberry Pi or PC into a retro-gaming machine. It builds upon Raspbian, EmulationStation, RetroArch and many other projects to enable you to play your favorite Arcade, home-console, and classic PC games with the minimum set-up. For power users it also provides a large variety of configuration tools to customize the system as you want.
RetroPie sits on top of a full OS, you can install it on an existing Raspbian, or start with the RetroPie SD image and add additional software later. It’s up to you. In this tutorial, we will be using the Raspberry Pi game kit from Cytron.
- Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ (Zero W/WH, or 3B) – for best performance please consider Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+
- NesPi Case (optional but recommended), a proper case for game console
- 16GB MicroSD Card with PINN, in case you do not have the preloaded PINN, please get the image from here:PINN.
- High Speed HDMI Cable 1.5m or 4 Pole RCA to 3.5mm Cable (HDMI works best)
- Television or Computer Monitor- really any screen with HDMI or RCA ports
- 5V 2.5A Adapter w/ micro USB (UK) or 5V 3.0A Adapter microB with switch
- USB Keyboard and Mouse, during installation and setup, or you can try SSH (Secure Shell)
- Classic Retro Super Nintendo USB Gamepad
- An USB Pendrive (for ROM transferring)
- WiFi or LAN that provides Internet connectivity, to download the Retropie operating system.
Note: PINN is an enhancement of NOOBS for the Raspberry Pi .
Of course you can also get the Raspberry Pi Game Console Kit here.
We have already prepared the easiest way to settle up things. We will be using PINN software (an enhancement of NOOBS for the Raspberry Pi) to install RetroPie. Since we are using the microSD card with PINN, this tutorial will not explain how to format the microSD with PINN, please refer to the installation of PINN into microSD card from here: PINN Installation.
Insert Raspberry Pi main board into the NesPi Case (you can use any case that you want but we recommended NesPi Case) then connect all the cable including the fan cable. Check this video for the steps.
Plug in the HDMI cable, USB gamepad, audio jack(if you are using VGA monitor without speaker), power adapter and also a mouse and keyboard (if you need it for first time use).
Next, put the microSD card into the slot then you’re ready to turn it on by connecting the 5V 3A adapter to the USB microB socket of Raspberry Pi 3B+
After the system boot up, you will see the PINN window appears. But for the first time pop-up, there will be no list available, you need to connect to the Internet first, via either WiFi or LAN (Ethernet). We are using Wi-Fi. This is where your USB mouse and keyboard comes in 🙂 Please choose the SSID and password for the WiFi.
You will see there are some available categories which are:
Under the games category, please choose RetroPie2 and click install icon on the left top corner.
Wait for the download and installation to complete and click ‘OK’. The installation might be taking some time because it has to download all the files from the internet and this also depends on your Internet connection speed.
Now, your Raspberry Pi will reboot, and the controller configuration will appears. You just need to plug in the USB gamepad, joystick or whatever game controller that you have (if you have not connect it), the RetroPie should automatically detect it.
You can now assign the button function based on game controller. For example, in this tutorial we use the Classic Retro Super Nintendo USB Gamepad.
Note: To skip the button assignment you need to press and hold any button. To configure another controller please refer here.
Another step that you will need to do is updating the ROMs, basically is to update the game options in the RetroPie.
1st, insert the USB pendrive into your PC or Laptop. After that, create a new folder and name it as “retropie”, all in small letter.
Eject the USB pendrive from your laptop or desktop computer, insert it into the Raspberry Pi when it is powered up and running. The ROMs list from Retropie will automatically be copied into the “retropie” folder that you have just created in the USB pendrive. Wait for 2 to 3 minutes, or the activity LED on USB pendrive stops blinking (if there is) for the copy process to complete.
Next, you need to unplug the USB pendrive from Raspberry Pi and insert back to your PC/Laptop again. Now, you can simply transfer/copy the new ROMs that you download into the specific emulators. For example, here I transfer the ROMs into the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System).
Where can you download the ROMs? For the copyright reasons and some other reasons Retropie website do not keep any game ROMS, you will have to find game ROMs yourself. Ask you friend if they have some or you always ask Google for ROMs. Do not download any illegal ROMs from untrusted sites , otherwise it might puts some virus or malware to your device. There are some websites which are trusted by many people and its safe too. Download game ROMs for all the platforms like Playstation , Nintendo entertainment system, SNES, Nintendo64, Mame, NeoGEO, SEGA, Atari etc from:
- Game Roms
- Emulator Games:
For more information about the others method to transferring ROMs, you can refer here. Or you can check this video out by ETA Prime:
Anyway, once the ROMs are transferred, you will need to reboot the RetroPie (Or to be specific, the Emulation Station underneath it).
Press button B on the USB gamepad, and you will return to the main window. Press button START to bring up Main Menu, navigate down to Quit at the bottom of list using the arrow keys(left keys) on gamepad.
Press button A when you are at “Quit” to select it. And another window will appears. Again, press button A again to confirm.
Again, it will ask to confirm, press button A. The Emulation Station will restart. Once you see the main windows, you can then select the game you like.
Navigate using the arrow pads on the left of gamepad.
NOW, LETS PLAY!
Tips: In case you are in game and wanted to jump out, press button SELECT and START together, it will bring you back to the game selection menu. Then you can use button B to back.
For more information, please refer to RetroPie docs on how to getting started
Note: For further inquiry, please visit to our technical forum as we seldom check the comment here. 🙂