There are several ways to go about setting up an arcade’s internals. The first is to find the original boards from the 1970/80/90s and install them into a homemade cabinet. This really limits what games the cabinet can play, and is very costly. The second way is to use a PC to emulate all of the games. That’s great because you can literally play thousands of games on your arcade. The third way is my favorite. Use a
Watch my Video on Installing RetroPie
Retropie and the
General Purpose Input/Output
SD Cards vs Hard Drives
RetroPie along with Emulation Station are the front ends that connect all of the emulators for each system into one clean finished product. RetroPie has built in emulators for MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator), Commodore 64, NES, Atari, Amiga, Apple II, PlayStation and many, many, more. In addition RetroPie comes completely configured on an SD Card image that you simply download from the RetroPie website. There is little to no configuration needed, depending on how complex of a system you are looking to build. In many builds, you’ll just load Retropie on your SD Card and be playing games in a few minutes. In other cases a little tinkering may be required. Regardless, it is the simplest solution available for most gamers.
Where to Buy the
Raspberry Pi 3
If you’re going to build an arcade cabinet with RetroPie, the first thing you’ll probably want to do is buy a Raspberry Pi 3. You can use a RPi 2, but the emulation won’t be as good, so get the RPi 3 if you can. I really like the kits from CanaKit (CanaKit is not a sponsor, though they should be). CanaKit makes kits that contain the Pi 3, a case, power supply, and other optional components such as HDMI cables, SD Cards, card readers, breadboards, etc. These kits make it super easy to get started. If you plan to do more than just arcades and gaming, you’ll want to definitely consider the Ultimate Kit.
You can also buy the CanaKits on Amazon.com They qualify for Prime Same Day delivery in many areas for the same price as CanaKit’s site, which is a bonus for some of us.
The cases come in many colors. Black, white, red, etc. I really like the clear case as shown in the photo to the right. It’s awesome to see the circuitry of the Pi through the case. I’ve even considered the possibility of lighting the case on the inside to make it glow.
Parts List for this Project
If you don’t already have the items for this project, here’s a handy list!
Get the Latest Image of RetroPie
Head over to the RetroPie website and grab a copy of the latest image. Drop a copy on your PC and unzip the file somewhere. Hang on to this file. We’re going to need it in a minute.
Format the SD Card with SD Card Formatter
Next, grab a copy of the SD Card Formatter for Mac or Windows, depending on your platform. Install it on your system and use it to format the SD card. Do not format the card using Windows! The SD Formatter was created specifically for memory cards using the SD/SDHC/SDXC standards and will give you higher performance from your card that the OS format utility will.
Install the Image onto the SD Card
Using a MacOS (OSX) to Create a RetroPie Image
My favorite tool for imaging any
Using Windows to Create a RetroPie Image
My favorite tool for imaging any
Booting up RetroPie
The next step is to install the SD Card into the
You’ll eventually see a splash screen for emulation station and land on a screen asking you to configure a game controller. All you need to do is attach your game controller to the USB port and press each button as it asks you. This will map the buttons on your game controller to the configuration files in RetroPie.
RELATED ARTICLE: Connect Xbox One controllers to Retropie
Install the Game ROMs
Installing the game ROMs is incredibly simple. Don’t ask me where to obtain them, I can not tell you. If you don’t understand why, I am sorry. The easiest and fastest way is to install them via a USB stick.
USB Stick ROM Install Method
Find a USB stick and format or erase it. Create a directory on the USB stick called “retropie” without quotes. Plug it into your
Eject the USB stick and place it back into the