Retro gaming with the Raspberry Pi

My retro console

When I was seven, I got my first gaming console: a Sega Mega Drive.

Sega mega drive

I spent half my youth playing games like Sonic the Hedgehog or Quackshot.

I still have the console, somewhere in the attic. Last time I checked, it still worked nicely. But unfortunately, the controllers have seen their best time. They’re not really responding properly anymore. Furthermore, my Mega Drive would take up quite a bit of place next to my GameCube, Wii and PS4.

Retro games remain great though, even though gaming has evolved a lot (or does nostalgia has anything to do with it?)

Luckily, there is a cheap & easy way to still be able to play retro games on your modern TV.

What do you need?

Most importantly, you need a Raspberry Pi

If you are not familiar with the Raspberry Pi, then this is what you need to know:

  • It’s a super cheap computer, the size of a payment card
  • You can do a lot of cool projects with it

Raspberry Pi B+

Check the Raspberry Pi site for more information, or to order your own Raspberry Pi.

Next to that, it is also handy to have one or more USB controllers. You could use a mouse and keyboard, but it’s not the same thing.

USB Controllers

And finally, you need some things you probably already have lying around somewhere:

  • A micro SD card
  • An HDMI cable
  • A phone charger with USB to micro-USB cable

The Raspberry Pi (with case), both controllers and the micro SD card only cost me 60€.

Setting it up

Basically, there are only 4 steps that you need to take (no programming required!):

  1. Install the RetroPie software on the microUSB card
  2. Connect everything and start your Raspberry Pi
  3. Find some ROMs (game files) of retro games online, and put them on your Raspberry Pi
  4. Play!

Fortunately, there are many sites that give a clear step by step explanation on how to do all this (check this one for example).

There is a lot of discussion online about the legality of downloading ROMs of commercial games. I’m no legal guy, but to me it seems that downloading commercial ROMs is always illegal. If you want to be safe, stick with the freely available ones.

See it in action

Time to play!

RetroPie on the TV screen

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