Monday, December 11, 2017

Retro Pie

I've been playing some classic games on my laptop with emulators, but it's just not the same as on the T.V.. I had some time over the Thanksgiving holiday to do something about it. I've read many other sites using Retro Pie and decided to go with that.

I'm reusing my original Pi B+, but its existing 4 GB SD Card was inadequate for the task. So I picked up a new 16 GB card...

Downloaded Retro Pie off the website... Their instructions were fantastic:

Then got Win32 Disk Imager...

And used it to write the image to my SD card...

On the left is my existing Pi in its case, and on the right is the "Super Tinytendo" case I bought off Amazon for $20. The build quality on the Tinytendo is great. (From the reviews, it sounds like their first versions with rough 3-D prints. The one I bought however was injection modeled and of very high quality.) 

4 screws underneath to open the case...

And the Pi fits perfectly inside...

The power light in front is functional; the instructions were very simple and spelled out in the Tinytendo manual. The Power and Reset buttons are unfortunately not functional. It'd be interesting to make them so though.

I ended up overclocking my Pi B+ so it could handle SNES games better (more on that below). So out of precaution I added a heat sync from Adafruit over the CPU.

First boot!

RetroPie only shows emulators for the corresponding games it finds. So at first boot no emulators are shown; you have to load them up. ROMs can be added via USB, SFTP, or Samba share. Since I'm primarily a Windows user (uhg), I went the Samba route. The Samba Share was super easy to access and copy ROMs to. Just type \\retropie in file explorer and you're there!

After a reboot the appropriate emulators showed up!

Some of the SNES games were running a bit slow, so I decided to try overclocking. You can access the Raspberry Pi config options through the Retro Pie menu.

Selected the overclock option...

And set the overclock to Medium. The games are working reasonably well at this level so I'm hoping this will suffice.

I'm using two Logitech Gamepads for the controllers. They have a good layout for both NES and SNES systems (among others), but they also have a few additional buttons not used by those earlier consoles. I'm using the rear-most left button as my hotkey button. If I push hotkey + rear left then it loads my last save state; hotkey + rear right saves my current state, and hotkey + start quits the current game.

The Pi rounds up a nice collection for entertainment - Switch (newest) on the left, N64 (the best) in the middle, and NES/SNES (the classic) on the right.

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